Thursday, January 4

The Best Laid Plans...


You might remember me bragging about how I wrested an overgrown "dwarf" willow tree out of the ground with my bare hands (okay, and a pruning saw) this past summer. After it met its deserved end, I settled a newly purchased 'Diablo' ninebark in its place.

Between then and now, the house next door was sold. I am going to be putting up a wooden privacy fence bewteen my house and this lot in the spring, so I didn't worry too much about what their plans would be for their backyard. I knew that the house had been slow to sell in part because there was no garage or other covered parking, but I figured that the fence would take care of hiding whatever was built in the backyard.

Well... maybe not. This shot was taken out of my large picture window in the dining room. In the foreground you see the aforementioned ninebark, snuggled within the confines of a circle of retaining wall block alongside some hellebores and ajuga.

When I am in the backyard at ground level, a 6ft. tall fence will provide plenty of privacy. When looking out my picture window, however, the stark white garage will be very distracting as it peeks over the fence. And peek over the fence it will--see the grey fence at the back of my lot for a height comparison. That fence is 6ft. tall painted spruce stockade.

Luckily, all of this happened before the ninebark had much time to settle in. It will get switched this spring with the 'Northstar' dwarf cherry tree that is currently residing midyard and has a much taller (to 10ft.) and more upright form than the ninebark. It won't help as much during the winter, but during the colder months of the year I spend more time looking to the right, at my birdfeeder, anyway.

Oh, and I forgot to mention the best part about the whole construction deal. The new owners are actually just flipping the house, and they have offered me the HUGE rock that was in their backyard as compensation for tearing up some of my grass while they put in the driveway and garage. The grass was frankly marked for death anyway, and I was trying to figure out a way to ask them if I could buy the rock off of them... so I am thinking that this is working out pretty well for me all around!

18 comments:

Leslie said...

I'm so glad you got the rock as compensation for going through the dreaded "neighbors infringing on my vision" ordeal. (When my neighbors considered adding a second story my husband and friends thought I was crazy for worry about how it would affect my view/sun/privacy. Luckily, they went with a one-story addition!) Hopefully, the cherry will do the trick!

Pam/Digging said...

Change is good, right? I'll bet when your new fence is up and cloaked with vines or other plants, your view will be directed away from the garage and into your garden, especially if you can add a couple of evergreens toward the uphill, garage end of your lot.

Enjoy your new rock! Wish I could find a big one for free. I've got just the spot for it.

Colleen said...

I second Pam, Kim. Once your fence is up and you've got all kinds of gorgeousness going on in front of it, that garage will fade away.

Awesome luck on that rock! I don't know how many times I've eyed plants or rocks in neighbors' unused yards and thought "Hmmm...I wonder if I could get them to part with that??"

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Leslie, I don't blame you at all--the thought of a second story addition on a neighbor's house would probably panic me, too! Glad to hear that they decided on something shorter so you didn't have to worry so much.

Pam, I am definitely going to work on focusing the garden inward--if that makes sense--but still felt like I had to try to minimize the large white building. I would like to add some evergreens--maybe hollies, actually.

There is another cherry tree, this one larger, at the far end of that circle of grass... so when it grows up it will do a good job of hiding the garage as well. Originally that cherry and the Northstar that I referenced in my post were going to form a screen of sorts at that end of the lawn. And the flat, thin (3ft. wide) bed to the left of the grassy area is marked for an apple espalier, so I might let that apple get a little taller than I had originally intended...

Some days, I really wish that I could share with you all the eventual garden that I see in my mind's eye. :)

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Colleen, I know what you mean. I hate asking for things like that, especially when I know that the person who lives in that house is not a gardener.

However, I have struck up some gardening conversations with one neighbor--she lives on the other side of this house with the new garage. I turned down her offer of daylilies this spring but made it clear that I was not opposed to the idea of doing some trading. She turned down my offer of Siberian iris (she already had some) but I did get some red-hot pokers from her this summer. :)

meresy_g said...

That is a stark white garage. Perhaps after the house is flipped, and before the owners move in, you could sneak some climbers against the side wall. A few Virginia Creepers or something? Nice that you got a rock though. I am always tempted to ask people for garden things that seem to be unused on their property.

UKBob said...

Hi Kim, That garage sure is WHITE! I nearly had to go and fetch the sunglasses to look at the pic in close up. I like your block edging, it looks very neat. I guess you are like me and just have to make the best of what you have, it's a shame how other people influence things in our own gardens. Best wishes, Bob.

The County Clerk said...

The problem with fences (one of 'em anyway) is that they are NEVER high enough. And if they are, then you have to look at very high fence... and the shade... blah... blah...

The challenge here is the garage. What you want to block is up high.

I don't know the property, but maybe the solution is some kind of creative fence/planter... like a fence structure that has a place to plant something higher... which would, in turn, grow higher. A hard fence "wall" with a soft green "top." Like a fence topped with a big window box.

It would have to be custom built.

Blackswamp_Girl said...

meresy, the fence will go the lenght of the lot so it will cover that wall--but I do have a lovely blackberry there that would love to be trained against said wall. :)

UKBob, indeed I am. Sometimes I lament the fact that I can't afford real stone retaining walls and such... but most of the time I find it an invigorating challenge to reuse things like those retaining wall block and random trashpicking finds.

Clerk, I would love to do something like that! Unfortunately, I checked the ordinances and it is not allowed. My options are limited, so I'm thinking about finding some kind of trees that I can pleach...

roybe said...

Hi Kim, I'm glad everything worked out for you with the neighbours, Having a new fence I'm sure will inspire you to plan for the spring.

Anonymous said...

www.sunfarm.com for Hellebores

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Thanks, Roybe! :)

Anon, I had never heard of that place--although I have heard of Barry Glick before. For anyone who is interested in reading the reviews of Sunshine Farm on Garden Watchdog, here's the link:
http://davesgarden.com/gwd/c/411/

Annie in Austin said...

Good score on the rock, Kim! Most of the really big ones I see here were unearthed during the house's construction, and used onsite.

If you ever figure out how to screen the neighbors without making yourself claustrophobic, please tell me how! I think you're on the right track with fluffy kinds of trees growing higher than the fence.

Our neighborhood has one tall house with balconies overlooking our cluster of single-storied homes - giving the effect of a prison guardhouse, but then I've never lived in a house where the view of the other houses/garages etc. wasn't an issue. We keep trying different ideas.

The technique that's worked best so far is cropping the neighbors out of photos on my garden blog.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Christine said...

I'm envying you your rock conquest!

lisa said...

Congrats on the rock! I just LOVE big rocks (the garden kind)...now all I need is a boyfriend with a backhoe! My neighbors on both sides try to be a problem, and I was able to put lattice along the top of my 6' solid privacy fence. Couple that with my hops vine-problem nearly solved but certainly improved! Trees will help, thuga can make quite a screen, but takes up a lot of room, too.

Ki said...

I'm dealing with the same problem only worse. They plunked down or rather built up a whole new 5 bedroom house as close as they could to the property line in the back of our home. So we looked upon 5 acres of wildness to this humongous barracks. From our deck it looks like the QE2 just anchored off our backyard. Luckily we already planted several birches that are 20 feet tall and planted more when the construction started and will plant even more to fill in all the little holes but in winter we'll have to put up with all that ugliness. At least you got a nice rock. We got an eyesore =:O

Gotta Garden said...

Well, as colors go, if you can't have blue sky, the green of a forest, or the dark hues of mountains, white isn't too bad...a blank slate, you know? Eventually, when your garden fills in, you won't even see it (hopefully).

Gardening brings out the optimist in us, I think, and as such we move through changes (whether we like them or not) a little better.

Can't wait to see the rock in its new home!

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Annie... you and me both with the cropping!!! :) Maybe one day I'll get bold and post pictures of all of the things I really don't want to share on my blog but have to see every day.

Thanks, Christine!!!

Lisa, I'm with you. I like big rocks in the garden... frankly, the other kind leave me quite cold!

Argh, ki... I wish I had some suggestions for you there, but you're right. It sure does sound like a nightmare. :(

gotta garden, I like that thought, that gardening brings out the optimist in us! I bet you're right and once I get used to it I will feel better about it. Not that you mentioned this exactly, but now I'm thinking that maybe I need to rethink staining/painting my future fence in a dark color. Maybe a lighter color would help call less attention to the white garage next door... hmm.

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