Planting for privacy and peace of mind

QUESTION: “I am wanting to plant something around one end of my pool for privacy. My only concern is that the plants should not have a very big root system due to it being around 2 – 3 feet from my cement. I also need something that will grow 10 – 12 feet high. I do not need total privacy, just something that will break up the view of my pool.” – Ronnie Holloway
ANSWER: Tall growing ornamental grasses work beautifully in pool areas as do clumping bamboo (which I would recommend planting in large pots for extra height). Most shrubs or low growing trees are going to produce root systems that may bump up against the concrete. Another thought is to berm the area so that shrubs such as junipers or cypress (evergreens) can be planted with root space.
Since space may be limited, landscaping with large pots or containers is a gorgeous way to bring in tall growing plants (depending on where you live, of course). Bamboo, grasses, holly, other broadleaf evergreens with a blending of seasonal color (perennials) can create a most interesting setting and provides needed privacy.
I hope this gives you some ideas to build on.
QUESTION: “We bought a home in the woods. We have a lot behind us that is approximately one-half acre and narrow. The lot was sold and all the beautiful 200 year old pine trees were taken down. They built a home on stilts and proceeded to put a dog pen attached to the home in the back. I planted a few Thuga trees in anticipation of this but we have many deer and they have feasted on them this winter. The house is placed directly behind us, giving us about 30 feet between the two homes. Help! What can I do?” – Carole
ANSWER: That does sound terrible. Step one would be to install panels (you know, like the lattice type or fencing panels) so that they are more tall than wide. This will at least give you immediate privacy and peace of mind. Then you can work (gradually if necessary) on providing landscaping to fill in with the fencing.
If you choose the lattice panels, plant some type of ivy or Carolina Jessamine to grow up and fill that in.
As you begin to fill in with landscaping keep in mind to layer plants. Larger (or taller) plants especially evergreens planted in the back half of the area coming forward with shorter deciduous, ornamental grasses and other evergreen plants finishing off with colorful perennials in front.
Cheryl and I have put together a slideshow that you access via our Web site www.landsteward.org It should give you a few ideas on layering plants in the landscape. Look for the link on the right of the home page that says Ideas Slide Show.
The next question comes from a reader who brings up a very good point about being careful about what can be planted in proximity to blackberry plants.
QUESTION: “I have 18 blackberry plants. My question is how far from the blackberries can I plant tomatoes? My blackberry plants have been in the ground approximately 12 months.” – Harold Daniels
ANSWER: Tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, and eggplant carry root rot called verticillium which can harm blackberry and raspberry plants. Berry plants should not be planted in soil where these vegetables have grown within the past 4 years. 30 to 50 feet away might be a good distance. The biggest thing you will want to look for is drainage. When it rains or you water the tomatoes or other vegetables, you do not want the water draining down towards your berry plants.
As I mentioned above, Cheryl and I have put together a slide show of color photos and descriptions, and readers are writing to tell us they are getting some good ideas from them. You are welcome to go to our Web site and “slide” through the pics!
The Plant Man is here to help. Send your questions about trees, shrubs and landscaping to snipped-for-privacy@landsteward.org and for resources and additional information, including archived columns, visit www.landsteward.org
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The plant mercenary is back :o(
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Sounded pretty good to me. I also saw a show where there were pots of bamboo placed on a bench to further raise the level of privacy fence. They were in the back next to fence with other plantings in the ground in front of them to hide the bench and pots. Worked very well and looked good.. Nan
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Just remember to buy locally.
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