Landscaping for Privacy
Landscaping for privacy can make good neighbors and protect you from the wind. In fact, by planting for privacy, you can get a lot of benefits. But what, exactly is it? Do you really just plant a row of trees and let them grow? Will you really benefit from a privacy screen?
Landscaping for privacy offers many benefits to you. Planting a screen can act as a windbreak to protect your home or yard from strong gusts or it can block an undesirable view. Perhaps your property adjoins the back of someone's garage or you are next to a field full of rusty cars. Planting a privacy screen can make it all go away, at least, from your viewpoint in your own yard.
Planning Your Privacy Landscaping
When you're planning on landscaping for privacy, you should plan for more than a row of identical trees right on the property line. Not only can trees close to the property line cause issues and disputes when they grow to maturity, it is almost impossible to get every tree in the row to grow evenly over the years. You may end up losing one or more, leaving a huge gap in your screen. Many trees also lose their lower branches as they age, making a great screen way up in the air, but leaving you with gaps between the trunks at eye level.
Instead, one of the most effective privacy options is to plant clusters. Instead of planting in a straight line, planting in clusters allows you to plant in groups of odd numbers. A cluster planting makes a natural looking screen for an undesirable view or a source of wind without building a botanical wall. Cluster plantings can also create interesting background for more colorful plantings in the foreground. You get it all... good air flow, a beautiful design and more freedom in your garden.
Another way you can go is to make a mixed border planting. A mixed border planting can contain both trees and shrubs of several types. The various plants will grow together, making a uniform border while offering you visual interest. Mixing plants also prevents major losses from a single disease or pest. Using different plants will create a biodiverse habitat that will attract beneficial animals, birds and insects. When you create a habitat like this, you are less likely to suffer massive pest infestations, as the beneficial population will keep them in check.
Another option is to plant staggered rows of shrubs and trees. This design of landscaping for privacy does give you a nice wall effect. It also gives you more protection from wind because you have multiple layers of plants. A design like this can cut down wind, noise and block an undesirable view. Because each row is staggered with the previous one, you get more solid coverage faster than if you planted a single row and had to wait for the plants to mature.
No matter what style of privacy planting you choose, don't crowd the plants when you plant them. As they grow, your plants will be overcrowded, which can lead to loss of lower branches, too much shade on the growing specimens, insect infestation and disease.
Another issue that can pop up is the planting looks stagnant. You can easily prevent this when you plan your living screen by occasionally adding a focal point. This could be a plant that blooms nicely in the spring, has a unique texture or offers bright color in the fall. Specimen plants might cost more than your screen plants, but it will give you years of enjoyment.
Choosing The Best Trees and Shrubs
Privacy plantings can be comprised of trees, shrubs, and climbing vines. When making plant choices, keep in mind the limitations of the site. What kind of drainage is there? How much sun does it get? Are there utility lines, driveways, roads or walkways to keep clear? Get your soil tested for pH. Will you be able to provide the water your choices need, even in extreme conditions? Will the plants be exposed to dry winds, cold weather, or reflected heat? All of these considerations should be applied to any plant that you're considering for your screen.
Keep in mind the reason why you're planting this living screen. Do you just want to block a view or do you need to block a brisk wind from coming through? Some plants do well as windbreaks, others don't. Another consideration to keep in mind is whether you need evergreen plants or deciduous plants. You'll get a lot more texture and variation, as well as faster growth, from deciduous plants, but if you need the screen year round, that may not work for you. If you are just blocking a view and you don't sit outdoors in that area during the winter, an evergreen screen may not be important. If, however, you are trying to block those heavy winter winds, an evergreen planting may be essential.
Don't be afraid to ask the experts at your local garden store for suggestions. Be sure to provide them with all the necessary information about your needs and the site in question.
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