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Pac NW Shrubs and Trees - Fast Growing

Posted by CallMeRoseMary WA (My Page) on
Fri, Aug 30, 13 at 18:54

I recently bought my first house in Seattle and am in need of some advice on what shrubs and/or trees would look best along the back border for some privacy to the back and to block my neighbor's garage to the right.

This post was edited by CallMeRoseMary on Fri, Aug 30, 13 at 19:04


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Pac NW Shrubs and Trees - Fast Growing

I don't know what your budget is like but if you have some $$ I would contact http://bigtreesupply.com/ to see if you can get some mature trees to block out those houses sooner than later vs. buying traditional 5 gallon or some trees/shrubs that will take a very long time to block all of that out.


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RE: Pac NW Shrubs and Trees - Fast Growing

Congratulations on your first house! Awesome. How much sun? And what orientation? does the sun rise or set over those houses? I like the tree idea. Some nurseries are having autumn sales now. Paperbark birch would block the houses in back. Some shrubs would block the garage. If the area gets good sun, you can plant conifers. Another idea with the garage thing: buy a trellis and put a vine on it. If shady, go for evergreen climbing hydrangea.

Here is a link that might be useful: paperbark birch


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RE: Pac NW Shrubs and Trees - Fast Growing

Congratulations on your first house! Awesome. How much sun? And what orientation? does the sun rise or set over those houses? I like the tree idea. Some nurseries are having autumn sales now. Paperbark birch would block the houses in back. Some shrubs would block the garage. If the area gets good sun, you can plant conifers. Another idea with the garage thing: buy a trellis and put a vine on it. If shady, go for evergreen climbing hydrangea.

Here is a link that might be useful: paperbark birch


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RE: Pac NW Shrubs and Trees - Fast Growing

Paperbark Birch, a deciduous tree? really? So in winter don't care about staring at neighbors? I would definitely put evergreens around perimeter and maybe some deciduous in front of them that get fall color to give some contrasting color.


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RE: Pac NW Shrubs and Trees - Fast Growing

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Sat, Aug 31, 13 at 14:03

There is no room in that narrow bed for anything big. If you want something tall you may have to plant it down where there is lawn now. The favorite tall evergreen screen is Leyland cypress but this full-sized conifer would soon overwhelm and darken the small space shown - unless developed and maintained as a sheared hedge. This would be difficult to access on top of the wall, with fencing and garage wall behind. And a sheared hedge going as high as you might be thinking of could be quite a bother even where access was better.

You may in fact have to put evergreen shrubs along the fence that are in scale with the narrow space, a small tree next to the garage - and then plant a larger deciduous tree in the middle, in the lawn to provide the bulk of your serious visual blocking. The thing about it being deciduous is that there is still a big difference between looking through bare branches and having nothing between you and the unwanted view at all. If you had a 30' tree standing there you would tend to look at that instead of the building behind.

If you are to have a broad-leaved evergreen tree in the lawn you are left with a comparatively small selection of more easily found and grown ones in this climate. Oregon myrtle would completely obliterate the view, this could also be done with southern magnolia. Eucalypts are easily found at outlets and develop rapidly, but can often be seen right through - and often tend to be hammered by colder winters. The thing about choosing something in this group is that when they are a dense type then they are also dark underneath; long periods of litter being dropped during summer is also typical.

With evergreen conifers you usually have the same problem of them being dark and dense, plus these also may drop resin and generate quantities of persisting spent leaves and cones.


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RE: Pac NW Shrubs and Trees - Fast Growing

I would stay away from eucalyptus. The leaves are allelopathic to many plants and they tend to out-compete plants for water. They're cool, but they'll limit your other options.

I'd recommend either California Bay Laurel (Oregon Laurel) or Pacific Wax-myrtle. Many people use mahogany for hedges, but my understanding is that they grow rather slowly.

If all else fails, there's always arborvitae.


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RE: Pac NW Shrubs and Trees - Fast Growing

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Sat, Aug 31, 13 at 23:45

Here under-planting of eucalypts without exceptional difficulty is usual - it is not the same as the groves of large specimens in hot and dry climates like those of much of California. The only consistently noticeable issue is cold injury (snow can sometimes also be a problem).


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RE: Pac NW Shrubs and Trees - Fast Growing

  • Posted by botann z8 SEof Seattle (My Page) on
    Mon, Sep 2, 13 at 22:59

I would reduce the size of the lawn to open up more possibilities of what you can plant for privacy.
Mike


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RE: Pac NW Shrubs and Trees - Fast Growing

i think your problem is not just privacy, but sense of enclosure. the other buildings feel like they are in your personal space.

so a handful of columnar evergreen plants (there are million lists of these on the internets) to anchor the eye, some shorter filler plants, and some deciduous plants will make your backyard feel more comfortable. you will never have total privacy-- no secret naked backyard hot tub parties. but it will feel better.

the total privacy route is do-able, but then everything might feel closed in and smaller. not to mention that you will have to maintain a very tall hedge.


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RE: Pac NW Shrubs and Trees - Fast Growing

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Tue, Sep 3, 13 at 15:10

If you want to feel boxed in a row of tall evergreens right on top of you is a great way to end up with that impression. Probably much better to continue with the informal planting, adding a few strategically placed shrubs and trees that are the right size for the space - and have relaxed (normal) growth habits producing a casual feeling.

Columnar plant forms have a rigid appearance that generates a sense of exclamation or tension - just the thing to emphasize vertical architectural lines or announce the location of unwanted views or objects, rather than softening or concealing them.

This post was edited by bboy on Tue, Sep 3, 13 at 15:15


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RE: Pac NW Shrubs and Trees - Fast Growing

no one has yet to suggest bamboo?
a few years ago that would have been one of the first suggestions on this site.
Has something changed?

A tall airy clumping bamboo hedge?
I've seen it located to good effect in very narrow spaces, in between houses, and along fences on several Seattle garden tours.

And I would just paint the side of the neighbor's garage a nice muted color.


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RE: Pac NW Shrubs and Trees - Fast Growing

a 20 foot plus tall columnar plant located at about the first post to the left of the garage will soften the lines. the top would exceed the roofline of the grey house and give a sense of "its not so tall".

moving to the left, at the 3rd post, i would put a shorter columnar evergreen.

fill between with softer, rounder, plants.

that will define a triangle that accentuates the slope of the land and detracts from the buildings behind without being too imposing.

columnar plants CAN create a sense of exclamation or tension depending on overall composition, but they do not do that automatically.


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RE: Pac NW Shrubs and Trees - Fast Growing

well, not exactly what i said above but here is a concept.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic


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RE: Pac NW Shrubs and Trees - Fast Growing

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Wed, Sep 4, 13 at 13:51

Take out the 2 folded patio umbrella shapes and you've got something. Leave those in and you have 2 contrasting pointed forms stabbing the sky, with no similarity to the forms of the other plants around them. For a flowing, gracious and therefore relaxing planting design you want a sequence of related growth habits, with no sudden juxtapositions.

The common choice resembling the representations would be weeping Nootka cypress, which produces a large tree - and has a strong, skunky odor during the summer.


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RE: Pac NW Shrubs and Trees - Fast Growing

looking at that today, i would swap out the vertical miscanthusy type grasses for rounded ones. that is just too much jutty uppy stuff.

i would maybe switch to weeping header type plants for the "folded umbrella" shapes. Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Filip's Golden Tears' .

also, bboy i think you are just unrelaxed around columnar plants because of your dislike for them. you must think that the entire country of italy is unrelaxing due to to all those italian cypresses...


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RE: Pac NW Shrubs and Trees - Fast Growing

One of the posts talked about your yard feeling boxed in with large conifers or hedges, but from what I see you're already boxed in by structures. That garage is particularly ugly.
If you want FAST, consider Photinia Frasieri. It gets 15-20 ft. tall sports, bronzy Spring growth and can be left dense by shearing or thinned to allow more air and light through. As far as I know it's only weakness is Black Spot, so I recommend an organic spray program.


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RE: Pac NW Shrubs and Trees - Fast Growing

There are five 20' arborvitae, spaced about 10-12', along the south and western sides of my yard. They add a sense of dimension by creating a focal point in the SW corner of my yard. The only "tension" that they bring is the fact that my wife will not allow me to cut them down so that I can plant more interesting shrubs in their place.

Has anybody mentioned butterfly bush yet? I can't stand these things because they grow like weeds, but they grow quickly and can be trained up to well over 15'.


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RE: Pac NW Shrubs and Trees - Fast Growing

  • Posted by botann z8 SEof Seattle (My Page) on
    Thu, Sep 5, 13 at 12:45

Most people do not want to give up any existing lawn, and if they do, as little as possible.They think that giving up their lawn is like giving away their property. It's a hard sell to 'shrink a lawn, ...even for privacy.
However, in new construction when shown a design for a lawn giving plenty of room in the flower beds for privacy where needed and extending the lawn as far as possible to the fence to maintain a view, the sell isn't so hard. The logic makes sense and nothing is given away.
Funny how that works. ;-)
Mike


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