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Old 11-17-2015, 12:06 PM
314 posts, read 244,624 times
Reputation: 549


We live on an acreage in the country. The land next to us sold, and is now being developed with a large McMansion. Unfortunately for us, the new owners elected to build their house with a 15 foot setback from the property line. While it is in compliance with zoning, it is dissapointing given that we are in the country and part of our reason for moving there was to get some distance from our neighbors. Now we have a house that is overlooking our backyard. That's a rant for another thread, however....

We would like to get some quick screening established. The property line was an old fencerow, so along that old fence there are some spots where there are some younger black cherry trees, rosebushes, and sumac. That helps somewhat, but the trees are 10-12 years old max so they still have some growing to do. And there are areas of the line where there are no trees.

I'd considered a privacy fence, but the topography and existing vegitation would make it challenging to get one constructed.

The concept I've been kicking around in my head is planting a row of shrubs to get a quick screen established. I'd like to leave the existing trees, etc. along the property line so I'd like to find some shrub that could tolerate some shade and competetion. Fast growing, dense, and somewhat tall are all want to haves. I don't ask for much, do I?

All I've stumbled across so far is silky dogwood. It doesn't quite tick all the boxes, so I figured I'd throw the question out here for some suggestions. What shrubs might come close to meeting my requrements for a zone 5 location?

(and the passive aggressive part of me says bonus points if your suggestion is a plant that would annoy them. AKA female ginko trees. we are far enough away that plant type isn't a concern.)
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Old 11-17-2015, 03:11 PM
Location: Alexandria, VA
10,713 posts, read 19,040,812 times
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Not sure how tall you want them to get but I planted euyonomous (I'm sure that's spelled wrong sorry) - they are fast growing and get rather full (not sure what zone you are in)
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Old 11-17-2015, 04:58 PM
Location: Floribama
13,486 posts, read 29,425,055 times
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I'd be looking for something dense and evergreen like Eastern Red Cedar.
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Old 11-17-2015, 07:33 PM
Location: Ohio
1,217 posts, read 2,247,680 times
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Just remember that anything fast growing can be somewhat invasive on your side (although you wouldn't mind it spreading to their side I assume).

I am doing this with a small property we bought that we'd like more privacy in the back yard, has a not-beautiful chain link fence. Good clumping bamboo (not running type) is perfect but can be expensive and will take about 3 years to get filled in. We've used bamboo often, several species, and it's terrific for screening and non-invasive. Bamboo grows in all climates but buy from reputable nursery.

I'm also using elderberry which is native, fast-growing and bird-friendly. I like to mix lots of different plants, not a mono-culture.
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Old 11-17-2015, 08:11 PM
697 posts, read 2,388,097 times
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Feeling your pain! We reside in suburbia and have neighbors too close. We can see everything they do and vice versa. I'm growing cleyera, wax myrtles and the newest, a viburnum. They are growing though not as fast or as much as I need them to.

Sorry but not sure if these are hardy enough for zone 5.

One thing to avoid is Leyland cypress which is often planted here in the piedmont for privacy screening. They are falling prey to canker and bagworms and dying off. I can only imagine what the cost of removing a dozen of those behemoths would be.

Ideally, slow growing is always better, though I understand that you need your screening now. Are you able to purchase mature trees?

Re: your disappointment about finding yourself with neighbors after moving to the country, recently I read one of Frank Lloyd Wright's books and he strongly suggested building a home 10 times farther away than you planned to! Turns out he wasn't that far off from correct!
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Old 11-17-2015, 09:26 PM
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Laurels. Grow fast, very dense, very easy to trim. Can grow about 40 feet tall if left alone, into a solid wall.
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Old 11-18-2015, 01:39 PM
697 posts, read 2,388,097 times
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I feel that if the fence is permissible on your neighborhood docs then you should do what works for your family.

Sacrificing what you want or need to avoid making waves will only turn their resentment into yours.

Question: Would you still want the fence at all if they put a proper barrier around the pond?

If not then you can move in the direction to require that be done even if it means hiring an attorney instead of spending the money on the fence. In my opinion a pond in a common area needs to be properly barricaded off and chances are high that the powers that be will agree.

I did this myself when a local park constructed a detention pond that had only a rinky dinky barrier that wouldn't keep anything out. I began working the phone and found out who was in direct authority to upgrade it. I then sent them numerous articles about children drowning in these ponds. I didn't need to threaten or persuade much beyond that.

Within a few weeks the fence was upgraded.

As for the prospect of you putting up your own fence my experience is that most wood fences last only 10 years or so (if it is not taken down by a storm first) and then you have to replace it, so your financial obligation does not end with the initial fence but only begins.
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Old 11-18-2015, 04:30 PM
Location: Pahoa Hawaii
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Are you living in a place where timber bamboo will grow?
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Old 11-18-2015, 05:00 PM
Location: NC
6,081 posts, read 7,023,877 times
Reputation: 12054
The new house is probably being built to enjoy looking into your nice property. It kills me that people moving into a new space do not take their neighbors into consideration. No matter what you will be seeing that house forever, or until you sell out to some rowdy rednecks. I also need to plant a privacy buffer along the road (I am also rural) and am going to use eleagnus, but that won't grow more than 12-15 ft tall and it will still take 4-5 yrs even though fast growing.

The problem with those McMansions is that they are often 3 stories tall. My neighbor planted some thuja on one side of his property and they did grow very tall and look beautiful after about 8-10 yrs.
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Old 11-19-2015, 10:40 AM
Location: Midvale, Idaho
1,428 posts, read 2,252,516 times
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I planted Scotch Pines . The neighbors view into our kitchen window is now blocked by one of the SP and the other two will shortly block the view of their house totally in a couple more years. I planted the trees from 2 gallon cans 7 years ago. Fortunately the center tree blocking the most happened to grow nice and full. Maybe more water than the two further out.

We are in zone 4/5. Many do not lie these SP trees because they do not grow in a regular fashion. I am fine with this. I like interest. At out last house the SP trees the previous owners planted were 10 years old and about 30 foot tall. the 7 year old SP tree here started blocking the view at 5 years. AND our house site up on the hill much higher that the neighbor house. These three pines are all planted in the lawn and so far there has not been much lawn die off under them, Wish the laws would die off. Would be easier to mow around.

There was one small ELM tree here in the front driveway area. It has grown huge in the 7 years we have been here I took another two babies they self plant and planted them a couple years after we were here and both are also very large now. But these trees are called trash trees because they spread their seed and leaves every where. They do grow fast.

I guess we were the bad neighbor moving in and building next to established houses. But I planted the trees within months after we moved in here. We bought a bare lot. I actually bought the trees before we got the house done so I would be ready to plant as soon as the grading dust settled. Maybe your neighbor will also plant trees.
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