Juniper Privacy Screen

Hi,
We will be planting some 3 foot junipers as a privacy screen / windbreak. The spread for these trees is 8-15 ft. We do not want to wait until the trees mature for privacy. I am thinking that planting them 5-6 ft apart will give me a decent appearance within a few years. My questions are by not allowing for the full spread what kind of problems am I looking at down the road? Cosmetic or will they injure the trees? How long will it take for the trees to reach the estimated spread? We are looking at junipers vs aboritas because of the fruit attraction for birds.
If I allow for the full spread and plant 8-15 ft apart are there "filler" plants that I can use that will keep up with but not overtake the junipers?
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Depending upon the length of the planting, using all of one species may not be the best solution. If one dies, the replacement will never catch up and there will always be a "runt" in the lineup. If a disease takes hold it is easy to spread through the whole group and they all look bad. If a serious disease problem moves in you lose them all, and all at once.
As to your specific question, in anyone's list of beginner's mistakes, the top item is usually planting things too close together, or too close to the house. If you plant them too close together, in five years you'll wish you hadn't, and five years goes by pretty fast.
If you insist on just junipers, I'd suggest planting them far enough apart so that you can still walk between the adult trees, and consider planting two rows, with the second row staggered to visually block the gaps of the first row.
It looks to me like you have a good opportunity here to put in landscaping that will be dramatic yet easy care and should enhance the value of your property. Using two or more species should give visual interest while still providing the screening and nature benefits you're seeking. It depends upon a lot of things, especially the size of the property and your location (plus how long you plan on living in the house) but you can have a line of junipers and also include magnolias, crepe myrtles, Orchid trees and other colorful trees (if you're in the south) or lilacs, purple-leaf plums, flowering crabapples, etc. if you're further north. Try to arrange these in bunches rather than lines and you'll have both the privacy you want and color through most of the year. Regards --
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