Landscaping tips for odd yard

Hello all. Zone 5 I have a pie slice shaped yard that is 1/2 acre. The house is almost in the middle of the slice. The challenge I am having is how to plant on the side of the yards to create a screen without making the front yard look too closed in. URL's to good design sites, and your own experiences would be very helpful. Both sides get full sun everyday. The wife likes spruce and fir trees. Thank you.
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Jack wrote:

Is the point of the slice in the front yard, or is the wide part of the slice in the front?
If the point is in the front, how narrow does it get? What have your neighbors done on the property line? How much of a screen do you want?
I have a 1/4 acre pie slice shaped yard. The point is to the front, and the street frontage is about 45'. There are some plantings on the uphill side of the yard. My neighbor has some high and low growing evergreen shrubs, with the lower ones corresponding to a dogwood tree about 5' in on my side. I have some shade-loving perennials off to the shady side of the dogwood, with my neighbor's evergreens providing a backdrop. Southwards towards the street it's sunnier, so I have a couple of rose bushes.
On the downhill side (well, it's actually pretty flat, but the general slope is down) my neighbor's lawn and my lawn meet. The only border you see is his grass is shorter and thinner than mine. When you get up to the front of my house, there's a picket fence across my side, and from that point back, a privacy fence between my neighbor and my side yards. If there wasn't a difference in the turf of our lawns, someone would need to pick-up the mostly hidden fence line from the side/backyards, and extend it to the street to see where our lots split.
I really don't know what I'd do if I felt a need to screen between that neighbor's front yard and mine. It's not as if I use my front yard in a way that I have a need for privacy. In fact, I like the exposure of the front yard. It gives me a chance to show-off stuff. (The open side also faces the primary traffic route into the subdivision, and the screened side provides a nice backdrop. Also, the screened side is perpendicular to the front of the house, while the open side is on an angle to my house, and perpendicular to that neighbor's house.)
So if the point of your slice is to the front, maybe you might consider if you really need it screened -- or at least if you need it screened on both side, and/or all the way to the street. My back and side yards all have privacy screening of varying types, but I really think an open look fits better in the front in my '70s style subdivision full of ranches. If you're in a estate-filled area, where it's standard for everyone to have high walls to the street, an open style probably wouldn't work well. And that's where knowing what your neighbors already did comes in. What you do in the front of your house could change the whole feel of the neighborhood. If no one else has big screening in the front, it'll be hard to fit in. (Also, you may want to check zoning regulations and your CC&R's. They may have something to say about what kind of screening you can use in the front.)
Now if the point of your slice is to the back, and your front is wider, then that would be a whole different paradigm.
--
Warren H.

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On Sat, 07 May 2005 16:51:11 +0000, Jack wrote:

You don't have to screen the whole yard. Use plants, hardscapes, and barriers to create usefully shaped outdoor rooms. Perhaps several of them. It all depends on what you want to use your yard for.
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Meandering borders (not straight) of mixed species with the occasional opening angled as if it were a path heading deeper into the garden tend to make a property look larger while providing screening. If you can leave some openings in the border allowing a sight line to someone else's property while screening out their buildings, etc., you can visually enlarge the property, too.
Choose your sight lines and select your species carefully. If you need screening immediately, plant a mix of faster and slower growing things, and take out the faster growing species as the other specimens mature. Big perennials can help here, too. Just don't grow things in straight lines.
Kay
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