Need natural screening advice to hide neighbor?

saintpflaApril 27, 2011

Please, please HELP me with this problem. I cannot seem to find a solution that I "like" that is both attactive and works in this small space.

So I posted a few questions before about maybe going the bamboo route. I know very little about bamboo other than clumping is the right kind to pick. I thought I'd post back with photos of the space to get some real suggestions from you guys as I'm sure I'm not exploring all my options.

Frankly, I'm stuck. The vine on the fenceline is 'Sky Vine'. While beautiful, it has it's own issues, as in, it likes to take over everything in its path- even not in it's path. So, it's not a long term solution.

I had to remove my old orange tree (RIP) which sorta worked as a shield to block my neighbor's view of my backyard and my awareness of just how 'close' we really are. Now, I feel like I'm in a 'fish bowl'.

The green house is my neighbors second floor above the garage. It's a workspace. It's an ugly building. He's doing major construction 24/7 - which is fine. I have no issue with that. The house was abondoned for several years, so while a hideous eye-sore, at least no one lived there (hence, no fish bowl). I just like a feeling of privacy.

Now, NO more, weeding in the morning in my pajamas!!! :(

The short run of fence is about 9.5 ft long and gets morning shade and then full sun for most of the day.

I really would like something tall enough to block the view into my yard. I thought of Oleandar because of the flowers, but do not like the bugs that come with it. So, no longer on the short-list.

Any suggestions? This is a very ugly part of my yard now since the tree died.

Thanks for the help!

:)

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cocoabeachlorax

What about Fishtail palms ? Lady Palms (if you're patient). Areca. How about just replacing with a new citrus tree if the old one was doing well ? A hedge of Pittosporum, Podocarpus, Coco Plum, or Ligustrum ?

    Bookmark   April 27, 2011 at 3:33PM
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saldut

Can you extend that lattice higher ? Maybe use plastic lattice that won't rot out so fast and then plant the Sky Vine or maybe a more mannerly vine, something that would draw butterflies and Hummingbirds, like Honeysuckle... you might have to reinforce the supports for a taller lattice, but it would do the job.... good luck, sally

    Bookmark   April 27, 2011 at 4:56PM
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amberroses(10a)

I think you need another tree. You already have a fence and are more worried about aerial invasion of privacy than lateral. Maybe a very tall arbor or pergola angled just right could block it too or a big umbrella.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2011 at 4:57PM
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saintpfla

I want to "not" see the house. Know what I mean? I know it's there...but, I'd really like to eradicate the view entirely.

A hundred years ago, that was actualy part of my original yard, but someone sold it off, hence the 'weird' encroachment arrangement. When I bought the house, it didn't bother me. I had TWO mature oranges trees side by side in that space so it somewhat abscunded the view. They have both died since and it...just...looks...awful.

Cocoabeachlorax: No...I wouldn't be big in the 'patience' department... ;)

Do you think bamboo would work in that space? And, another orange tree?

    Bookmark   April 27, 2011 at 5:00PM
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pabrocb(Sarasota/Cape Cod)

I think bamboo would be fun. And if anyone has ideas of how to deaden sound from neighbors, please advise. The children and grandchildren moved in to our behind our back fence neighbors. They never speak in a normal voice, just yell. And this is a very quiet neighborhood. Oh well, there is some small hope, they rent.

CB, Sarasota

    Bookmark   April 27, 2011 at 5:20PM
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cocoabeachlorax

I think that I would do either a citrus tree or bamboo but not both. Citrus trees (and anything that fruits) requires a lot of water and nutrients, as do grasses (bamboo) so I wouldn't put them in competition on purpose.

Ligustrum grow fairly dense and can reach 12 to 15 feet with ideal conditions.

As to noisy kids CB, just be patient, they'll grow sooner than you realize although I know not soon enough.I'd take noisy small children over angry loud teenagers in the middle of the night any day.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2011 at 6:42PM
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billbrandi(9)

...try a Brogdon avocado. Mine grew fairly fast, gives us good screening on the west side of the yard and it has fruit as a benefit. Otherwise, you might try viburnum. Cold tolerant, bushy and if you let it grow it can cover your fence height +. I have a neighbor with viburnum that is at least 15' tall. I keep mine trimmed at 6' for privacy around the pool area.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2011 at 6:45PM
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rosarama

I see lots of flowering oleanders growing all over. They spread a lot and would make a great barrier only problem I don't know if they're fast-growing

    Bookmark   April 27, 2011 at 8:35PM
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love_the_yard(z9A Jax FL)

That was supposed to say, "A viburnum hedge is generally a big investment in width, as well.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2011 at 10:16PM
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saintpfla

I REALLY like the Viburnum suggestion!! It flowers AND it grows dense and tall - plus - wildlife enjoys it. Hmmmm....might be a good solution.

Could I plant an orange tree too or do I have to abandon that idea with a Viburnum hedge?

    Bookmark   April 27, 2011 at 10:16PM
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love_the_yard(z9A Jax FL)

A viburnum hedge is generally a big investment in as well. The actual shrub itself will be four-to-five feet wide. You may also want some spacing between the shrubs and the wall. So you would lose a lot of yard in that wide hedge. I have one and I will take pictures tomorrow to show you.

Carol

    Bookmark   April 27, 2011 at 10:52PM
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junglegal(10a)

I would plant Wamin bamboo.
I have Viburnum odoratissimum and they grow tall and leggy quickly. Pick a different cultiver. There is one that has larger glossy tropical looking leaves. Names escapes me at them moment.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2011 at 9:06AM
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cocoabeachlorax

I'm sorry if I'm being nosy, but why not just two new citrus ?

    Bookmark   April 28, 2011 at 10:43AM
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julieyankfan(z9FL Pasco Cty.)

I'm going with Amber's suggestion - a pergola. Doesn't have to be huge and they come in kits. Then you can grow the vines all over, or put sunbrella material up to make a canopy. It seems by the time you find something that will grow up high enough, they probably will have sold the house.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2011 at 10:56AM
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tomncath(St Pete Z10a Heat 10)

Bamboo grows the fastest, you could have your privacy in three years if you pick a 25' variety. Viburnum would take 15 years to block that second story view....

Tom

    Bookmark   April 28, 2011 at 12:05PM
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saintpfla

Cocoabeachlorax: Your not nosey at all! Please suggest away! I am wide-open! In fact, I did check out cocoa-plum last night. It's a little too 'scrubby' looking for me for that space. But, I appreciate the suggestion as I was not familiar with it.

I would like to incorporate another citrus tree in the plan. The only downside is that it wont grow tall enough to block the second floor view. My old one really didn't block it either, but did provide a bit of a screen.

My concerns on a pergola is, a)I'd have to build it...I don't have help or the time right now, b) whatever vines I put on it may grow into my neighbor's small space. The fence line is so close to his house, I do want to be courteous and respectful of what I plant. Hence, my thoughts now of removing my SkyVine. The vine has been great while the house has been vacant....but, it just does not behave well. It's lovely and I get so many compliments on it too.

Am I wrong to think this about a pergola?

Viburnum: read up on it last night. Learned about the 'wide' & tall factor. I don't have the space for 'wide' so it's no longer a contender. :(

See? This is HARD isn't it? Ideally, I'd like to stay tropical..but, due to the space limitation, I realize my options are limited as well.

I wish I could place plants into the photo like designers do with furniture to see how it would look. That would really help.

What you can't see in this photo-- my back is standing by the end of my house -the kitchen area of my house. So, Nice Neighbor can see straight in from that view into my kitchen. Even though he's a 'nice neighbor', privacy helps neighbors remain 'nice' in my book.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2011 at 4:09PM
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imagardener2(9-10)

Bamboo. But choose the right type of clumping bamboo. My favorite as a screening bamboo that grows fast and tall is Seabreeze Bamboo-Bambusa malingensis.
I have 8-12 different kinds of bamboo in my yard and some (like Alfonse Karr) grows very slowly. Soooome day it will be tall but not this year....or next year.

Bamboo IMO is superior to a tree because hurricanes will not bother it nor will you worry about it coming down on your house in the future.

Denise

    Bookmark   April 28, 2011 at 4:57PM
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AmberSky(9b FL)

I used buddha belly bamboo to fix a similar problem, and it works now, but it took 3 years to begging to work ,and 5 to be totally satisfactory...and in 7 it had become something I have to right with, all the time.

If I had it to do over, I'd go for the pergola, with something reasonable like Queen's wreath. My mom used a mix of Queen's Wreath and Alamanda to great effect.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2011 at 5:49PM
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imagardener2(9-10)

the elderberry is on the right side, about 20 feet tall at 3 years old, the first year it made about 10-12 feet. I n the distance is Seabreeze bamboo.

I think you can tell which is the bamboo, it's about 25 feet tall.

In the sunlight is a orange tree in the ground 2 years, not a fast grower and it's on the south side with lots of sun. Citrus IMO is not a good screening plant.

Denise

    Bookmark   April 28, 2011 at 5:57PM
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saintpfla

Ambersky: the QueensWreath & Alamanda mix sounds beautiful.

Denise: great pics! Thanks so much for sharing! Your citrus tree looks alot like my 2-yr old tree. I feel like it's stunted or something...

You have me thinking about exploring bamboo a little more.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2011 at 11:23PM
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jjaazzy

When I was a kid my parents planted Rose Aralia for this very reason. It grows very easy from cuttings and it grows straight up. You pick the height ours at their highest were probably 10 feet maybe more I don't know it was way over our heads. Every couple of years my family would chop them half height and trim them up. They are green from top to bottom and make an excellent hedge, not taking up a lot of yard space. Easy to start them just poke them in the ground about 10" to 12" from the fence line and your good to go. With this plant you can get total privacy and probably block that building out completely. I just tried to find a picture of what I was talking about and I can't find it anywhere this is a pretty common plant and you could probably get a cutting from someone. It was an attractive plant with a 4-5" leaf that was kinda folded over with a pretty green and then a margin around the outside that was white and looked like the edges were cut with pinking shears. I am sorry but I was told it was rose araila and now who knows? But it is excellent for what your looking for.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2011 at 12:22AM
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love_the_yard(z9A Jax FL)

Another thought - crape myrtle Natchez (white). It would have to be Natchez because it is the biggest, tallest and fastest growing. (Other varieties are smaller and/or slower growing.) If in plenty of sun, those zoom up into the sky and would give you the second story coverage you are looking for pretty quickly. They will be taller than any shrub even when you plant them. Also, they would take very little room at the base but give you broad coverage where you want it.

Carol

    Bookmark   April 29, 2011 at 7:24AM
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c9pilot(9b/10a)

I vote for a tall bamboo as well (not Buddha Belly). If you stop by Exotica on 22nd Ave S @ 37th St you can see a wide selection of bamboos and if the right person is there, she pointed out to me lovely bamboos that would be perfect for you that were only 2 years old.

Also, I would think about sea grape, if it will grow wherever you are. I see them all over my neighborhood used in every configuration - big trees, small trees, shrubs, screening, vining over pergola - it seems that they can be pruned to do whatever you want (except perhaps ground cover).

We're doing a tropical screen - white bird, fishtails, bamboo, bananas - for a side yard divider. Several friends use combinations of these and I like the look.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2011 at 9:07AM
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saintpfla

Thanks for the location of the bamboo nursery. That was going to be my next question.

I want to view it before I consider planting any of it and bring some of my picture with me as well.

I'm not a big fan of sea grape. I like them natural in the wild, but not in my yard. Its just me. I do like the tropical screen idea - sort of what I want - would love something that "flowers" - but again realize I may be limited due to the height requirement.

I'll post another pic of the space between the back of the house and the fence shortly so you can see how wide it is (or rather, "isn't"..LOLOL...).

I REALLY appreciate everyone's suggestions. I am struggling what to do here. It's a real gardening challenge. I'm downtown St. Pete so in a city sized cramped yard.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2011 at 11:16AM
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saintpfla

Pics of vertical space. My 'guess' is the fence is about 20 ft. from the house?

The bird feeder is where the old orange tree used to be before it died. You can see the stump in the ground just below it. The branches would actually hang over the fence line into both neighbor's property.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2011 at 12:41PM
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tomncath(St Pete Z10a Heat 10)

Sea Grape grows too slowly for what you want to do and your area is too shady. Most of the places that will sell you bamboo in St. Pete will be considerably more pricy than the guy in Tampa. If you want to save money and decide on bamboo I'll take you over to Tampa where you can see mature bamboo groves and not spend an arm and a leg for it, and I have the pickup, although it's not really necessary if you buy 1-2 plants in one gallon containers!

Tom

    Bookmark   April 30, 2011 at 7:10PM
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Irma_StPete(z9 FL)

And adding a twist: erect/suspend a fabric/tent/sail that will screen the neighbor's 2nd story and create a filtered shade area for a patio/garden. Imagine you are trying to sell your house and want to hide that overlooking window while adding pizazz. Leave room to plant the ultimate solution(s).

    Bookmark   April 30, 2011 at 9:53PM
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c9pilot(9b/10a)

Hey Tom,
FYI - I only go to Exotica to LOOK because I certainly can't afford to buy there! That's why I waited for Green Thumb. Exotica is right up the street so it's a quick stop for me.
Who's your bamboo guy in Tampa?
R/Lisa

    Bookmark   May 2, 2011 at 3:12PM
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timetraveler(9b Melbourne Beach FL)

I had a similar problem to yours and similar light conditions. I second the suggestion for Honeysuckle. I planted Coral Honeysuckle along my fence. Problem solved. You'd want to add some height to your fence so that the vines can climb there instead of looking for palms and trees to grow up. This is a tough, well-adapted Florida native plant with pretty flowers that attract hummingbirds. It doesn't mind poor soil and is drought tolerant.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2011 at 4:10PM
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tomncath(St Pete Z10a Heat 10)

Hi Lisa, it's Roy Rogers, well known in local bamboo circles for his knowledge and expertise, and his prices are quite reasonable.

Tom

    Bookmark   May 2, 2011 at 4:44PM
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saintpfla

TimeTraveler - I actually have Coral Honeysuckle on the other side of my house. It's lovely but sparse. Probably, my fault because I don't water it enough.

What did you do to add height to the fence for the vine to climb? I don't know what to add that would provide support.

Tom: thanks for the offer to go to the Tampa place. I may take you up on that. I'm still in the 'research phase' right now. I'm trying to avoid the wrong plant/wrong place mistake...;)

Irma: I hate that house and looking at it every day. It's one of those things where at first it didn't bother me. But, it bothers me a lot more now. I'd really like to eliminate the view completely.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2011 at 9:54PM
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Irma_StPete(z9 FL)

Saintpfl, I'm thinking: plant your trees to block and if you crave privacy until they are tall/full enough, erect a fabric to be like an angled ceiling over that end of your yard space - just enough to block your view of those 2nd story windows. Myself, I buy cheap and jerry-rig things as long as it's my back yard. While a proper shade sail alone starts at $70, Lowes may still be carrying the $30 huge piece of light grey/green shade fabric. I would erect 2 poles next to the fence and string lines to the house to attach the shade cloth (cut to desired size/shape). A fancy, expensive version of this is at The Chattaway's garden patio, 4th St/22nd Ave S in St Pete. They now have a bunch of triangles for shade. (fried onion rings, yum-yum!).

    Bookmark   May 4, 2011 at 12:59PM
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saintpfla

Fried onion rings...ha ha ha! That does sound good! ;)

I just planted a couple of baby banana trees- they were doing quite nice - UNTIL - my 'pet' raccoon decided to dig them up and dismember them leaf by leaf....geez.

Back to square one....

    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 11:50AM
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