Plants for privacy on balcony

Discussion in 'Small Space Gardening' started by kickypants, May 22, 2008.

  1. kickypants

    kickypants Member

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    Location:
    Maple Ridge, BC Canada
    We just added on to our deck which faces west and south. Now we'd like to feel like we're not "on display" for our neighbours! The screen we need will be facing south and does get some high wind in the winter (Maple Ridge, B.C.) along with up to 38 degree heat at times in the summer. Any thoughts on either what to grow along plastic lattice or build a long planter 2ft X 8ft long and fill with something that will help with privacy. What about some type of bamboo...but what type??? Or an evergreen clematis? Any ideas folks? Even ideas on what to avoid would be helpful.
    Thank you so much!
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    If too cold in winter - when you may not be out there much anyway - for broadleaf evergreen plants like bamboo maybe use quick-growing, climbing summer annuals like scarlet runner beans. Exposed containers not in contact with mother earth and not quite large are apt to be penetrated by frost during cold periods.
     
  3. kaspian

    kaspian Active Member 10 Years

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    Location:
    Maine coast, USA, zone 5
    We faced this same problem last year, after moving into a new house. Our exposure was south and east.

    We mainly solved it (or at least addressed it) with plants we happened to have on hand. These were:

    • Phyllostachys aureosulcata 'Aureocaulis' (the yellow-caned variety of yellowgroove bamboo)
    • Phyllostachys decora
    • Nandina domestica 'Umpqua Princess' (a variety of heavenly bamboo with especially fine leaves)

    All of which we "potted up" into larger glazed clay pots and placed at key visual points. The bamboos needed a LOT of water, and we also fed them generously, but they responded with a flush of new growth. The heavenly bamboo made a beautiful potted specimen, not so effective as a screen but extremely effective at creating a visual focal point to hold the eye in the foreground and distract from the view of the neighboring house.

    To supplement these, we planted a large-leaved ornamental grape, Vitis coignetiae, and a honeysuckle, Lonicera periclymenum, at corners with the idea of allowing them to climb spread out along the deck rail. Neither made spectacular growth the first season, so we were basically left with the two big bamboos.

    It worked pretty well. We filled in with a few geraniums and the like. And we tried to adjust our attitude along the lines of: If the neighbors have nothing better to do than stare at us, then how sad for them, and what happy interesting people we must be.

    This year we've added a climbing rose, 'Darlow's Enigma,' and planted some screening shrubs near the property line. Onward and upward.
     
  4. Barbara Cameron

    Barbara Cameron Active Member

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    A few years ago, I made a Privacy Screen that has turned out well. I bought lattice (2 sets offset to make smaller holes) and framed it with the same treated wood as the lattice. I made a self standing structure (we are not allowed to build anything permanent in our townhouse) by zigzagging 1' and 2' pieces. Then I put up shelfs all along the lattice and planted "Mini-ivy" in pots. A few years later I transplanted the Ivy which by then was badly root-bound in the pots into the ground. Now we have the lattice completely covered on both sides with the Mini-Ivy. It is beautiful and gives us a lot of privacy. Hopes this gives you an idea of what might work for you.
     
  5. kickypants

    kickypants Member

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    I love all of the ideas....thank you very much!
     
  6. Debby

    Debby Active Member 10 Years

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    Location:
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    We wanted privacy for summertime lunches and suppers so we bought four plastic railing planters (formed to straddle the railing), secured them with zip ties through the drain holes, and planted them with petunias. Also brought up two brugmansias, which need lots of water and fertilizer and, as it happens this year, spraying of the undersides of their leaves for spider mites.
     
  7. Vash

    Vash Member

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    What a great idea. I never thought about that.
     
  8. stoneangel

    stoneangel Active Member VCBF Cherry Scout

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    Location:
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    Trachelospermum jasminoides is a nice climber. It likes the sun and has beautiful scented flowers. I planted it this year. It grew about 3 feet high. But would suggest a few of them for coverage in a couple of years. Have you thought of growing two different types of vine together? My neighbour (in downtown Vancouver) has had great sucess with his passionflower vine. On one city patio I've seen it grow to 30'. I've also seen dwarf apples in pots, espaliered. They look very nice, but are pricey. I've avoided evergreen clemantis because they always look so scraggly. I've also hung pots at the top of lattices. While you're waiting for your climbers to grow up your hanging plants can grow down to meet them. Good luck!
     
  9. stoneangel

    stoneangel Active Member VCBF Cherry Scout

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    Here's a photo
     

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  10. TownMouse

    TownMouse Member

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    Would parthenocissus quinquefolia (virginia creeper) be of use to you? When the leaves turn/fall, the remaining plant structure would help hold your lattice in place (during the winds you mentioned). If your lattice is white, consider that when the sunshine hits it, your neighbors' view is blocked (the the reflection stops their ability to view you _through_ the lattice). If you seek privacy during the evening (and during the day), you could line your lattice with shade cloth (usually comes 4' wide; in beige/green/brown/black; affix with plastic zip ties) just for the 4' from your ankles to your neck, when standing. That would permit you to remove, readjust, TEST just how much "privacy" suits your purpose. Too, if the shade cloth is installed at a lower level (about 3'), you could enjoy the view _from_ your deck even while sitting. Best part is that you, then, could add potted plants for seasonal beauty without year-round concerns ($$ and labor).
     
  11. kickypants

    kickypants Member

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    Thank you townmouse! That was a really well thought out suggestion. I'm going to look into that.
     

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