?, a wall dividing two gardens

halfacrefarm(z6 ma.)February 6, 2005

My young daughter has a fascination of all things Asian (courtesy of manga art of all things!) Last year she decided to make a Japanese garden in an area between a stone wall and our vegtable garden. It was fascinating to watch her research and design her space. She came up with a "sea" of gravel and a small Island created from the only rock in our yard (zone 6 and ALL sand:>)plus a small wild blueberry bush. She also put a lantern and bench in her garden.

This year she hopes to add Japanese plantings and a tea house. The problem is that when you sit on the bench to relax, you can see the vegetable garden (divided from her garden by a simple three foot high garden fence.) While the veggie garden looks bountiful and busy, we want to hide it from view when you are sitting in the Japanese space.

We looked at bamboo fence, we figure we need eight to ten feet of "something" to hide the view. But we were not sure if the bamboo has to be brought in in the fall due to our zones cold winters. Also the fencing is a bit expensive for a 14 year old to finance!

We are wondering if any of you have any other ideas. Could she plant some sort of grass or bamboo in the area of the fence that would hide the view? Is bamboo fencing worth the investment? Any other ideas would really be appreciated! Thank you, Susan for Julie

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A neighbor of mine who is on a very tight budget erected a bamboo screen fence .
She installed several 4x4 wood posts then went to Home Depot and purchased a 'roll of bamboo fencing'.
I believe it was in the 50.00 range.
The bamboo fencing was about 6 feet in height, each stick of bamboo is about 1/4 to 1/2 wide.

She then stretched the bamboo fencing between the 4x4's and then used simply cut 2x2 and 2x4's to add lateral stength and structure to the fence.

It has held up well for about 6 years. I was just looking at it yesterday and thought that it has served its life span well .

    Bookmark   February 7, 2005 at 12:27PM
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How about a hedge - but that would take too long. Bamboo panels sound the quickest or maybe woven willow, if you can get enough of it and your daughter sounds like she could pull it off.

It would be interesting to see how a child's eye envisions or interprets the Japanese garden. Just as valid as any of us, perhaps.

Any pics?

    Bookmark   February 8, 2005 at 12:26PM
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crashboxsus(6 Pgh/PA)

First off, way to go Julie!

If you're going the bamboo route, and want something a little more substantial-looking than the usual Home-Depot-style bamboo fencing, I just noticed something called a "bamboo room divider" at my last visit to IKEA. Same idea as the fencing, but thicker culms. I didn't look closely as I'm not in the market for one, so I don't know how long it was, but it was probably 6 feet tall, and the culms they used were about 1 inch in diameter, maybe a smidge more. Obviously built for indoor use, but it might be worth investigating if you've got a store nearby. I didn't see it on their website, but I was just at the store last week.

Other thoughts: if you're thinking of live bamboo plants, you're going to need to do some serious research into what kinds of clumping bamboos serve your needs in your climate. Running bamboos need some serious barrier to keep them from invading the rest of your property.

Also, what about plaster? Let me caveat that by saying I've never done it.

Other idea (don't kill me, anyone): Tyvek or some kind of weatherproof sheeting to make the fence look like a shoji?

Just brainstorming, I'll leave the logistics and practicality and "properness" up to the pros. As Edzard always says, think about your intent, and design around that.


    Bookmark   February 8, 2005 at 4:29PM
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Hi, I have several suggestions for a divider fence. I live in a zone 5 and we have easy access to spruce saplings [they grow like weeds]. Farmers, gardeners and rural dwellers use 6 foot spruce saplings to make divider fences. The saplings can be peeled or have the bark left on. The bark gets shaggy after a few years and encourages insects so "nicer" fences are peeled. On a typical post and rail frame we nail the saplings as closely-spaced uprights or in a criss-cross fashion. You will often see a similar, but lower, fence in Japanese gardens. The criss-cross fence lets more air and light through and is lower than the upright. These fences have a very rustic look and are quite at home with a Japanese design.

As a cheap, temporary fence you can use canes from Japanese knotweed. It is classed as an invasive weed so few people will mind if you cut it down. Knotweed grows in roughly straight 5-7 foot canes that, when stripped of leaves, resemble bamboo. If harvested in mid summer the green canes are strong enough to lash to a frame. Knotweed is easily cut with a serrated knife. The canes dry out and take on a reddish hue. These fences seldom last more than a year and are VERY flammable.

As a final suggestion, sawmills sell for very cheap the "slab" sides of spruce and fir logs. These can be used like cladboard to make an overlapping board fence on a standard post and rail frame. Put a 1x3 "roof" on the fence and you get a nice rustic design that should last several years.

Have fun gardening, when the weather warms up.
Geoff K

    Bookmark   February 9, 2005 at 4:00PM
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ScottReil_GD(z5 CT)

Fargesia is a bamboo that clumps about 4 to 6 feet across, never runs, stays hardy to Zone 5 (Zone 4 for F. nitida), is deer resistant and is evergreen...


    Bookmark   February 14, 2005 at 5:13PM
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