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??
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??
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?
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
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.
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 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,
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
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
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
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