Help me hide neighbors yard, please.

glitter_and_guns(7)April 23, 2013

I hope you don't think I am hogging the forum, but I am trying to get so much done right now and my knowledge of plants for Texas is thin. When I did my intro I explained that I have recently bought a house in Texas and am so happy to be back to my home state from the frozen north. Sadly my plant knowledge is all northern and doesn't translate well to my warm sunny home.

I love my new-to-me house, except for the neighbors on one side. They seem nice enough, but they are hoarders. Not joking, truly they are. Thankfully the yard is only partially over run - 3 non-running cars filled with stuff, a storage building, a trailer, and lots of fencing/lawn equipment/etc spread around. We knew it when we bought the house, but it had too many other positive qualities for us to pass it up. Sadly one of the worries of "country living" is the lack of rules about what to do with your property (also one of the best benefits of country living). I thought about running privacy fence along the property line all the way up to nearly the street, but that seemed extreme, expensive, and would probably be seen as pretty rude by the neighbors. So I have decided that some nice big plantings are in order.

The area runs from full morning sun to dappled morning sun. I need something that won't be a water hog because it is out of my way to water it. It will also be planted right along the not-normally-used access to the drive through gate that opens into the back yard ( nothing bigger than a lawn mower will go back there except for construction, pool remodel, zombie apocalypses, that type thing). I need to be sure that whatever I plant there will either not grow very deep (as in length width height, not deep into the ground) or will be somewhat forgiving of the occasional swipe of a truck. Obviously quick growing and large are in order. The space is about 50 feet long but I wouldn't have to have a continual wall, just the illusion of a line. And near year round blocking would be important.

I have been admiring some of the huge grasses that are used heavily in this area, but I am not sure if that is a great choice for this or not. I am also not sure about the upkeep required of them. If I went with a giant grass could I leave the growth up through the winter and cut it back in the spring as new growth appears? Or am I not even close to how these work? Better ideas?

Thank you so much!

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I have the same problem, Glitter; great neighbors, but his driveway is disaster, boat, camper, cars, storage shed and various little projects he works on all strung out all over! I planted large old roses, sage, shrubs and various grasses which will eventually cover this up. The weird thing is he loves to garden and his yard always looks great.

You don't HAVE to cut the native grasses back, but it looks better all summer when they are cut back early in the spring.

My area doesn't look so great in the winter, but knowing spring is coming and everything starts popping out makes it better.

I attempted to send a picture, but says file too large.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 2:38PM
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Is there any kind of a fence there now? If there is a chain link fence I'd put some cross vine on it. :)

If there is no fence, then I'd prefer to go with huge dense evergreen shrubs of some kind.

I do like the look of big grasses, but we have a thing about snakes and rodents. Grasses are a haven for them and I don't want to deal with the issue, so we don't grow them.

If it was my place, and I could afford it, I'd put up the privacy fence and wouldn't worry about what the neighbors might think. Besides, they don't think their junk pile is rude so why would they not like a nice new fence? :)

You could go with a post and rail fence and then grow the crossvine and some roses to fill in...

Did you see the thread on the peggy martin rose? If not you should google photos of Peggy Martin Rose.. there's some pictures of that rose covering a fence. I do not know if it is evergreen up here in our area or not.

Good Luck! I know what its like dealing with junky -- hoarder

PLS don't look at my piles of stacked up bagged leaves!! I swear I'm going to use them this season!!!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 2:57PM
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clairtx(z8 TX)

Photinia is a good option. It is a fast grower and doesn't require a lot of water. The plants are fairly cheap.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 4:57PM
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"...will be somewhat forgiving of the occasional swipe of a truck."

Hahaha! Are you sure you're not a native Texan?
-Big old pampas grass will fill your bill, and no, you don't really need to trim it.
-For roses, what you want is Mutabilis, but don't drive your truck too close if you are picky about your truck. ($8 per shrub at --mine grew 8 feet wide and tall in 3 years, but it can be cut way back with a hedge trimmer.)
-Look into wax myrtle also, though I don't know how fast it grows.

Where exactly are you?
Texas climate and temperature varies greatly, as does soil conditions.
If you were in South coastal Texas there are some tropicals that might do, but zone 7 (?) means you're in the Panhandle?

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 6:16PM
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you're other post says you're near Ft. Worth.

In which case I will recommend:
Yaupon Holly.
It looks gorgeous up there.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 6:30PM
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tx_ag_95(7/8 Lewisville)

The only photinia I have experience with is the red tip version. I don't like it, but I have two "walls" of it and it would work for what you want. Mutablis would work, but I don't know how evergreen it is up here. I'd put in a mix of plants, that way if one decides to crater, it's easier to replace.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 7:48PM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

Arborvitae will block view so will several Junipers.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 10:54PM
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Off to work and not a lot of time but there is a thread from last spring about my ginormous mutabilis. They are pretty much ever green in the DFW area. They are however Chinas which is a type of rose that doesn't like a lot of pruning. However, if it got trimmed once in a while for the truck to pass through it would probably recover, but I wouldn't try to keep it small. Do a search on my user name and you should be able to find the photos.

Sadly this year, it's just starting to bloom and most of my roses have not bloomed at all yet. brrrr... too cold this spring. :-(

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 8:52AM
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denisew(z8 TX)

I would definitely contact your municipality to see if their code compliance department can help you with your neighbor's trash. I know that not all city's or towns have a good code compliance for things like this, but it is worth checking into since hoarding junk and allowing weeds and tall grass to grow only attracts rats, mice, snakes, etc. (if the rats and mice are there, the snakes are always next).

In the meantime, a 8-foot solid fence would probably help a lot. If you can't do that, then vines or evergreens will help block the view. There are some nice hollies such as the Mary Stevens Holly or the Mary Nell Holly would be good choices for something evergreen.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 11:30AM
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gslenore(8 McKinney/DFW)

We have pampas grass (4 of them) as a natural "fence" or barrier obstructing our site line of our neighbor's driveway, which is always full of vehicles. I don't really care for them in this location because its so narrow and the grasses make it difficult to open my car door. So I have to cut them back often. I should mention that our garages and driveways are in back of our homes and accessed by alleys.

You could do grasses if there's room, or build a pretty bed, put up a nice, large wood trellis with vines.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 2:08PM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

Pampass grass will cut you good when it is time to trim them or even walk to close to them. They have sawteeth on their edges. I always came in after my yearly trimming and it will need trimming up in Fort worth. Their is some die back. I don't like them much any more. Muhlenbergia lindheimeri will put some size on it and it does not seed out or need trimming. Avena grass will put on some size.

Santa Rosa Gardens is a great source of grasses and they do a very good sale in the autumn. They have a great selection of native grasses too. They have a section on TALL SCREENING GRASSES just for you listed as a category under ornamental grasses.

Here is a link that might be useful: Santa Rosa Gardens

This post was edited by wantonamara on Wed, Apr 24, 13 at 15:34

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 2:23PM
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I hate the CCR's that come with living in a housing development, but it seems the only way to keep this from happening. You shouldn't have to go thru the expense of trying to hide such a mess. Complain, and keep on complaining until the problem is solved. ;o)

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 3:31PM
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    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 11:18PM
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ltcollins1949(9a TX)

Without doubt, I would go with Vetiver Grass "Vetiveria zizanioides".

"Vetiver is a clumping type grass, non-invasive. The roots are very deep, so it's best to decide carefully where to plant it because it is very hard to dig up. It can be grown in a container as well, for a lovely effect.

In 1989 Fort Polk in Louisiana was having a problem with erosion. Three scenic streams came together on the base, but tanks and other military equipment was ripping up the land and causing soil and silt to fill up the natural waterways. Mike Materne, the local U.S. Soil Conservation Service agent, brought in some vetiver plants and planted them in the bare slopes above the dams that held runoff water.

In spite of the very acidic, rocky soil that contained virtually no fertility, the slips of grass began to grow. In eight weeks, some were almost 2 meters tall and in 10 weeks they had grown together into hedges. Sediment began to build up behind the hedges and the water that went down the streams into the catch ponds became clear.

It soon became clear that vetiver was acting as much more than an erosion trap: it was a "nurse plant" that was protecting other species and thereby giving these devastated watersheds a chance to heal themselves. Native grasses, wildflowers, shrubs, trees and vines came crowding in behind the hedges and grew to re-vegetate the site."

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 11:11AM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

Nice story .. People use that grass in open pond septic fields along with an iris of sorts. They purify water extremely well. Not the purpose that is needed here but maybe they will purify the neighbors.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 11:21AM
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Thank you all so much for your suggestions! I am looking at pictures of all of them now. I don't have any fencing there now and would literally need to run it within a few feet of the street - I think it would just look odd. I am hoping that I can get this figured out without resorting to such measures.

I will get some "before and after" pictures done at some point! So much work to be done...

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 5:34PM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

A combination of Fence, tree blocking views, arbors with vines, Tall grasses will look cool and not as contrived for the purpose at hand as all of one thing.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 7:25PM
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I would go with trellis fencing and then grow grapes or roses up the fence. Then, it provides the cover but just looks like you are using the space for growing something you like.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 11:17PM
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daninthedirt(Cent TX; HZ10, Sunset z30, USDA z8a)

Kudzu. Planted all around their junk. Sneak it in. You'd be amazed how fast their junk will disappear.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 11:18PM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

I was thinking running bamboo for the same reason. Put a bamboo inground barrier on your side and let it gro wild in his yard. Agressive gardening at its best, Your karma would stink but your yard would look good.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 11:25PM
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