Thursday, July 7, 2011

Have You Seen My Neighbors?

Hydrangeas add color to the hedge.

Hope not.  I have nothing personal against my neighbors (well, maybe one).  However, when I'm in my garden, I enjoy a sense of being in a secluded wilderness.

So when it came time to plant a privacy screen down by the swimming pool,  I forgo the ubiquitous privet hedge that has become a Hampton's status symbol.  Instead, I created a more natural looking mixed planting of trees, shrubs, and perennials.  This design mimics Mother Nature's woodland layout of trees overhead, shrubs forming an understory, and wildflowers and grasses edging towards the sunny clearings.

Views of neighboring houses completely blocked.

The project began by removing some of the scrub oaks and limbing up the remaining trees to let in more light.  Eastern white pines were dotted along the fence perimeter in a zigzag pattern.  The spaces between these were filled with a variety of shrubs, including big leaf rhododendrons, witch hazels, hollies, viburnums, junipers and hydrangeas.  Perennials, ferns and grasses edged the front.

Trees, shrubs and perennials provide a natural looking screen.

It took a few years to complete the plantings and some time for everything to grow together.  The result is a very dense privacy screen that also provides colorful foliage and flowers throughout the year.

With a number of deciduous plants among the evergreens,  it doesn't offer as much privacy in winter. That's fine with me.  I'm not much for winter swimming.


Brenda said...

This is gorgeous..exactly what I want (my neighbour really is crazy and scares me half to death)...the area in need of privacy sits on fractured limestone with 2-6" of soil - wish me luck!

( am really enjoying your blog)

Thanks for the inspiration,

Jeff, Gardener in Chief said...

I haven't grown anything in rocks. My problem is sandy soil. I do think limestone is good for grape growing. haha. I do have a suggestion. Add several feet of topsoil mixed with compost on top of your current soil. You will create a berm that will raise the height of your screening shrubs and also give them a nice bed to grow in.

Thanks for reading and good luck!