Arborvitae/Fence Question??

Hi All,
Here is a question which I hope is simple for someone to answer? When planting arborvitaes near a wooden stockade fence, how far back from the fence should you plant the arborvitaes if you want to leave room for trimming the arborvitaes, maintaining the fence, raking leaves behind the arborvitaes, etc, etc.
On the property line with our neighbors, we have a 6 foot high stockade fence running all the way down the property line, In the Spring, we would like to plant some arborvitaes all the way down the fence line, for some added privacy.
I know that you don't want to plant the arborvitaes right up against the fence, because what if you need to paint the fence, fix the fence, trim the arborvitaes, etc, etc, so what is a good distance to plant them from the fence?? 1 or 2 feet away?? 3 or 4 feet away??
Thanks!
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We are probably going to plant either the "Emerald Green" or "Dark Green" variety of arborvitaes. The "Emeralds" say to plant 3-4 feet apart, and the "Dark Greens" say to plant 5-6 feet apart. So is this how far back they should be planted back from the fence??
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MICHELLE H. wrote:

What type of fence... conifers don't do well planted near a stockade type fence or any light limiting structure.... arborvitae can be planted as a fence but they won't do well planted up against a fence, or even up against each other. If there is already a fence why do you need shrubbery that acts as a fence?
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The type of fence is a 6 foot high wooden spruce stockade fence. The reason why we want to plant the Arborvitaes all the way down, is because we need a screening that is MORE than 6 feet tall. We want something that is about 9 feet tall or more to give us privacy from VERY nosy nextdoor neighbors.
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MICHELLE H. wrote:

I'm sure everyone figured out about nosy neighbors
Spruce is as cheap a lumber material there is... it'll rot before most nursery size arborvitae grow higher than the fence. How tall are your neighbors that they can peer over a 6' fence? If they are so nosy that they are intent on spying nothing you plant will help... in fact arborvitae will make their spying easier, all they need do is peer through while they are hidden from your view, they'll be able to spy unseen from a shorter distance so they'll have a much better telescopic view... your arborvitae will afford your neighbors more privacy than they afford you. And many are under the misconception that plantings grow as perfectly described/pictured in catalogs, they definitely do not. If you plant the typical nursery sized arborvitae (3'-4') you'll be at least 10 years older before you have a wall of greenery, and still there will be gaps. I can never understand folks who want privacy and then buy a home on a small city lot... ain't gonna happen... and if spying neighbors are in a two story house right nearby they will always be able to peer down on you. Whatever you plant be sure to plant far enough away from the property line that the branches don't grow across or neighbors will be within their right to trim them. As arborvitae increase in height so do they increase in girth, at ten feet tall they'll attain minimally five feet in diameter... providing they receive full sun from all directions. If your plantings will be shaded by that fence then forgeddaboudit... if you've ever walked in a forest, especially a conifer forest you will immeditely note that there is no foliage except way up at the top of the canopy. For privacy you really want to plant a double staggered row, you'll need at least a ten foot wide swarth so light can enter. And still there will be gaps, there will always be gaps. Probably, other than moving, your best remedy is a better fence.... and you can steal a bit more height by nailing your fence sections about 6" higher on the posts... it's good to have a space at the bottom for weeding, if the fence sections touch the ground they will rot, and that space can save your fence from strong wind gusts... you'll also more easily spot neighbors creeping up to peer through your fence because you will see their feet.
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We live on a street where the houses were all built in the 1920's, and every house has a small yard, because the homes are all like 10 feet from one another. We have neighbors 10 feet to the left of us, and neighbors 10 feet to the right of us.
Our neighbor on the left side of us, we get along great with. It's the NOSEY Portuguese immigrant neighbors on the right side of us, that are the problem.
The reasons why we can't stand the guy is because he stays home 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, because he is on Social Security Disability payments for his SUPPOSED "bad back", and so all he does is WATCH YOU and SPY ON YOU.
The guy is a chain smoker, and smokes like 2 to 3 packs a day, and everytime I am outdoors doing something like yard work, gardening, playing with my kids, washing the car, etc, etc, he always has to come out and stand there and smoke his cigarrette for 10 minutes and watch every little thing your doing!!!!
I also see him watching me and my family through his windows when he is INSIDE his house as well!!!! He stands right in front of the window watching every little thing we do outdoors!!!!!
Even if its something like bringing in grocerys or or taking the trash out, he has to come outside and STARE at you and WATCH you, while smoking his cigarettes!!!!!
I was told from the neighbor across the street from us when I first moved in 8 years ago that
"he is the EYES of the neighborhood". "He is ALWAYS watching EVERYBODY, to see what's going on and what they are doing", she told me.
His wife is just as bad, because she doesn't work either, and stays home 24/7, and she does the same thing as him. She doesn't smoke, but she stands in her window peeking through the blinds and/or curtains to watch what me or my kids are doing outside.
The other day when my kids were outside playing in the snow, she peeked through her curtains about 14 times in a 10 minute period, so that she could watch us to see what the kids were doing outside.
After 8 years of this, and them not planning on moving away, and us not planning on moving away, enough is enough.
Like I said, there is a 6 foot high spruce stockade fence on our property line seperating the 2 houses, but when the nosey jerk neighbor comes out to smoke his cigarrette out on the back porch, he can clearly see right over the fence and into our yard, because his back porch floor is about 3 feet off the ground, and he is albout 6 feet tall, so that gives him a 9 foot high "lookout" so to speak.
So we want to plant arbovitaes that will grow 9 feet tall or more to give us some privacy from this creep.
Unless someone can recommend something else FAST-GROWING and tall and bushy, that can be planted near a 6 foot high spruce stockade fence, that will provide privacy from these nosey neighbors.
ALSO, no, they can't see us over the 6 foot high stockade fence when they are standing in their yard or driveway, because the fence is taller then them. It's when either he is standing out on his back porch smoking his cigarette, because the floor of the porch is about 3 feet off the ground, or when him and his wife are inside on the 1st floor peeking through the blinds/curtains.
The houses on our street are 1920's "old style" Cape houses that have 2nd floors, BUT only have 2nd floor windows on ONE side of the house. Our Second floor windows, as well as his are on the right side of the 2 houses, so their 2nd floor windows cannot see into our backyard. But they can see into our backyard from their back porch, back stairs, 2 kitchen windows, and 2 living/dining room windows, because those windows are on their first floor, and face the right side of our house as well as our backyard. Their first floor windows are about 9-10 feet in the air, and so they can see right OVER the fence, and into our yard, driveway, etc.
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MICHELLE H. said:

Erect a a trellis just in front of the fence, strategically located to best block his view while standing on the porch. Plant silver lace vine or sweet autumn clematis and train them up along the trellis. Either of these vine will grow up to 20 feet in a season, once established, and it should only take a season or two for them to cover that trellis.
--
Pat in Plymouth MI

"Vegetables are like bombs packed tight with all kinds of important
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wrote:

When one has minimal space a trellis is a good idea. At my last residence I had a small side yard (about 25'), for privacy on my patio I planted grapes on a trellis; they grew fast and gave excellent coverage... of course they are deciduous. I had no neighbor problem but just wanted some screening. I don't particularly like arborvitae for a privacy screen, they are prone to many diseases and are not very hardy and long lived... if after a few years one or more die then there will be a big problem to fill that gap. For a conifer screen I much prefer Canadian hemlock, they readily take shearing/pruning, do well in partial shade, and can be planted crowded together for a very dense screen.
http://www.arborday.org/Trees/TreeGuide/TreeDetail.cfm?ID 2
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Thanks for the link about the "Canadian Hemlocks", I will check it out!! If they grow to be 70 feet tall, and 35 feet wide, then I assume that they must be fast growers, and grow a couple of feet tall and wide, per year??
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On Mon, 10 Jan 2011 12:25:23 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (MICHELLE H.) wrote:

They're fast growers but for your use (a dense hedge) you'd do best keeping them well sheared/pruned.
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