What would you plant to screen this eyesore?

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by pnwpaddler, Sep 10, 2019.

  1. pnwpaddler

    pnwpaddler New Member

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    Next door has gone through some really poor 'improvements' on the backyard in the last 9 months. Seems like this view is the norm now. Our place is 2 storey, this photo taken from middle of the deck at the back.

    The deck extends closer to that fence to the point where I don't think screening the ugliness completely for that end of the deck will be possible, but would be great to have the mid-deck (where the photo is taken) not seeing this every day.

    Thinking about Laurel, and keeping it shaped narrow, or some variety of typical cypress hedging, buying mature at around 6-7 feet to start. But open to ideas! Occasional maintenance OK, frequent maintenance not really possible.

    Thanks!
     

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  2. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Well, comments about fences making good neighbours aside, you may want to consider this as an option: Planting Requirements for an Emerald Cedar

    Laurels tend to find their way into local forests, so I wouldn't suggest those.
     
  3. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Looks like a fire hazard
     
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  4. Sulev

    Sulev Well-Known Member

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    Did you argue with your neighbour about the fence? It looks like the neighbour has tried to screen the fence from his/her view.
     
  5. Heathen

    Heathen Active Member

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    Bamboo? In a raised bed or with a root barrier. Evergreen and won't need a lot of attention.
     
  6. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    How perverse would it be to try and screen something you don't like to see with an unsightly fire hazard? Crazy, but not unheard of.

    I like Daniel's suggestion of an Emerald Cedar hedge - beautiful and fairly fast growing if watered regularly. Could you also plant something in a container on the end of the deck closest to your neighbour that would hide the view? Perhaps a vine growing on lattice would be effective.
     
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  7. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Contributor

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    my 2 cents - if you're in a local gov't area (Town or District) - email and ask if there is any bylaw about a mess like this - and as frequent reliable advice person Ron B has observed in his post earlier - a fire hazard.

    Usually Bylaw office will ask you to talk to your neighbor first --- I believe the SCRD has a handy pamphlet on how to get thru this detail politely without inciting a lot of high energy. In other words know the laws and then seek to understand their concerns first etc. All that good communication. Your home is a huge investment and commitment.

    That said - make sure your land survey is clearly marked on that fence line - maybe the fence is on their side (either in reality or in their opinion)

    NEXT - the design ideas - Yes - Laurel is high maintenance and takes a while to grow - when I say high maintenance - I mean ladders and power tools at least once a year.

    the cedars that people suggest here - the local coast deer find them delicious - just go look at any subdivision - and those "hedges" will be "ringed up" to deer neck height. They are popular hedging tho. You do have to water them a lot to get them established. Do you have water use meters and or restrictions?

    I think your idea of putting some lightweight but large pots on the deck to start is good (is your deck sufficiently engineered for heavy plant containers?)

    also - there are bamboo plants that seem appropriate for NOT running all over the neighborhood and in to your septic field (or sewer pipes) etc.

    maybe talk to neighbor and I bet they don't realize that you bought your place for the view and the sundeck - if it gets down to it - hire the usual two hard working guys with the trusty pick up truck to help remove the treasure stacked up along the property line.

    Maybe neighbor just needs a hand with something.
     
  8. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Either they are mad about something - it really looks like they are trying to barricade themselves against you, like you are seen as an invading horde - or they are so thoughtless it didn't occur to them that using the fence to provide a place to store refuse might actually be a bad idea. In both instances your concerns would not have been considered at all. Talk to any and all parties - including a lawyer - that might know a way to get this situation corrected.
     
  9. pnwpaddler

    pnwpaddler New Member

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    Thanks for the note about Laurels. None nearby, but very good to need they can be invasive.
     
  10. pnwpaddler

    pnwpaddler New Member

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    No arguments. They moved in, had to clean up a hoarder's mess and since then have stored all of the stuff in the backyard and front yard. It's just a different value system at work - they decided to clear cut all the shrubs around the back and other fence line, and used all the cut twigs to bundle up and try to raise the height of the fence, perhaps to stop deer coming in and eating all of their vegetables that they've planted. Impressive to see they have not left any grass whatsoever, even in 3ft down the side of their property between house and fence. They also built in a front fence and have massive bundles on the other side fenceline where there's no wooden fence.
     
  11. pnwpaddler

    pnwpaddler New Member

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    Have chatted with the relevant folks at the Town and they are already well aware of the property for other reasons.

    We have asked about what everything piled up is, and we were told it is temporary storage while they build more outbuildings but there has been more added to the pile. So I think screening is the way to go. It is less about them understanding the stack needs to be removed and more that they see it is all useful to them in some way.

    Thanks for the ideas on Laura, the warning on deer browsing and the deck idea - not thinking anything too hefty on the deck at all.. trellice with some climbing plants most likely.

    Thanks!
     
  12. pnwpaddler

    pnwpaddler New Member

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    Definitely a concern. Local fire hall has been to the property before for other reasons.
     
  13. pnwpaddler

    pnwpaddler New Member

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    My guess it is anti-deer, as the entire backyard and sides between house and fence are planted with vegetables. In the back corner, we've been told it is items being stored for future construction use.
     
  14. pnwpaddler

    pnwpaddler New Member

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    Interesting idea! Don't have any familiarity with what it would look like as a hedge, will do some googling.
     
  15. pnwpaddler

    pnwpaddler New Member

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    Thanks - lattice with vine I think is a great idea on the deck.
     
  16. pnwpaddler

    pnwpaddler New Member

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    Thinking about Western Red Cedar after doing some research, though it seems less popular than the emerald cedars. Must be a good reason for that.
     
  17. Sulev

    Sulev Well-Known Member

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    People are doing crazy things, when they are mad on somebody.
    Good relations with neighbors are important. We do not know where this race to create barriers to hide the view can finally lead.
     
  18. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Contributor

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    Are you in the SCRD or one of the other local gov jurisdictions ?

    Read this handy guide fr SCRD
    SCRD

    (Click on good neighbor guidelines link and you’ll get a pdf)

    If you’re not in SCRD, then go to Town hall offices and ask if they have bylaws about matters like this and offer similar guidance
     
  19. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Thuja plicata grows vastly larger than T. occidentalis 'Smaragd'. If they are worried about deer what they need is deer fencing. Regarding the bamboo look at depictions of Fargesia species. If this is a full sun situation (or otherwise sunny during the hot part of the day in summer) you will have to choose particular ones, that do not require afternoon shade - F. robusta for instance. If the soil fertility is adequate and these are kept moist in summer they should shoot right up, much faster than any compact-growing conifer or broadleaf evergreen shrub.

    Otherwise visiting any arboreta, botanic gardens or demonstration plots within reasonably convenient distances from your location could be quite informative - there is nothing like seeing various kinds of plants in person to give you a feeling for what they do and how they strike you. Including how they smell, something web searches cannot convey at all.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2019
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  20. pnwpaddler

    pnwpaddler New Member

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    Like I mentioned, I've chatted with the Town already, and most certainly googled all bylaws info. I appreciate your efforts, but really looking for a conversation about screening plants here.
     
  21. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Contributor

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    re: Bamboo - I know some people on the Sunshine coast who bought Fargesia out at Bamboo World in the Valley- the coast people have a real deer issue (you should see their expensive cedar hedge) and I think so far so good for the bamboo.

    Maybe the several local nurseries around Gibsons have Fargesia you could view and purchase. (and have delivered!)
     
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  22. pnwpaddler

    pnwpaddler New Member

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    Thanks for the mention about this variety being a good solution when there are deer around. Definitely a consideration for us.
     
  23. pnwpaddler

    pnwpaddler New Member

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    Great idea! Thankyou I wouldn't have thought of this.
     
  24. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Contributor

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    Any update to your planting / screening question?

    Just curious because your question is common and very helpful too.

    Especially as people buy older homes and are on specific budget and work schedules ... and would like a place they can enjoy while putting in the sweat equity.

    Thank you
     
  25. pnwpaddler

    pnwpaddler New Member

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    Actually the result here was that after some discussion with the neighbour, and also after some unrelated visits from bylaw officers, they were required to make modifications in the back that cleaned things up, and they also agree to put up deer fencing instead of the bundles of sticks, so the view was much improved, and the lawn has remained as is.
     
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