What would you recommend?
We've been thinking about what type of conifer we should plant on the northern side of our front yard. I've been discussing some of this on the landscape design forum (see link below), but I wanted to ask the experts about the spacing and choice of conifers.
Previous owners of this house also wanted to screen the neighbors to the north (permanent rental house currently occupied by obnoxious college kids), so they planted some terribly sad hemlocks (no visible wooly adelgids). We'll be removing them, as well as the ivy and most of the other clutter.
We're thinking of two to three conifers there when full grown, and perhaps 5ish (more?) right now, with a couple destined to end up as Yuletime Trees. I've been thinking Norway Spruce, because I love them and my understanding is that they have few pests and are fairly adaptable to soil types. I'm concerned about the final size, although it's possible that by the time they outgrow the space the house will be sold to better neighbors (and we may not be here, anyway!). I can't seem to keep up with the recent explosion in conifer pests these days, so I thought I'd check in with this forum for thoughts. Our soil is relatively alkaline (6.9-7.1), and this area is best described as mostly sunny. Drainage is not great, but there's rarely standing water.
As you can see, the length of the yard is about 40 feet from sidewalk to house. We don't want a soldierly row--we'd even be open to mixing different trees. We recognize that this may be a symbolic screen as much as anything for a while, but that's okay. Whatever it takes to keep the drunken frat boys from puking in our yard (I wish I were joking) sounds great to me. (Other idea is a well-thorned blackberry hedge, but I resent the amount of free berries the hoodlums might get in the bargain.)
So what would you recommend? How would you space them?