Newly Registered
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Jul 14, 2008 7:40 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Need to Plant Something for Yard Privacy

Hi there!

Hannah here from Portland, OR - my husband and I bought our first home last year. I LOVE being a home owner, the problem is that we have two apartment buildings on the back and north side of our house. The one on the back part of our house is two story low income, the families that live there seem really great, but it feels like a fishbowl - the other side, one of the residents told me this last weekend that he sees us outside barbecuing in our backyard, it smells good, and sometime he is going to come over to our party. Thanks, but no thanks. Anyways, I would really like some privacy, I love being in our backyard, but need some privacy - the problem is everything I have researched just isn't EXACTLY what I want. I don't want a high maintenance pine cone/needle dropping tree - and I don't think I want arborvitae. We also have a laurel tree on the back corner (other property owner's) that gives us a ton of privacy from the other set of the two story apartments, but Laurel, again, is high maintenance.

Any other ideas out there? I would love to hear them.

Thanks for reading!


Senior Member
Posts: 264
Joined: Mon May 12, 2008 11:13 pm
Location: Denver, CO (zone 5)

You might need to specify what your idea of high maintenance is. Does that mean you don't want to water? Or you don't want to water more than once a week? Or that you don't want to have to spray regularly? Or maybe you don't want to trim but once a year or never trim?

I always like to suggest edibles. If you don't have to do a lot of work, the reward of the fruit is great. Some blackberries can grow several feet high - and the thorny varieties will dissuade those neighbors who want to come visiting or mooching. If you are interested in growing your own beer, I understand that hops will grow very tall. Rose bushes can grow tall. Rosa rugosa grows tall and is one of the hardiest varieties of roses - they also have thorns to keep the neighbors at bay. But do you want flowers?

The lowest maintenance option would be to install a privacy fence that isn't made out of wood. They last a very long time and are not going to zap all your free time or energy taken care of it.

Newly Registered
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Jul 14, 2008 7:40 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: Help We're Surrounded!

I actually looked into Hops because my husband brews, but from what I understand they attract a lot of this so in the NW?

I don't mind flowers - high maintenance = conifers and things that drop messy fruit...when I told my husband about my post, he pretty much said the same thing: "you want a wall."

Thanks for your response!


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Full Member
Posts: 12
Joined: Fri Jul 11, 2008 12:23 am
Location: Vermont

What about Willows?
They are low maintenance, fast growers with four season interest. Bluestem Nursery has a great website with lots of info on willows (and ornamental grasses, which you also might consider)

If you click on "Landscape Uses" you will find a list for willows and a list for grasses that work well as privacy hedges.
Good luck with whatever you decide!

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Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3567
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2008 7:58 am
Location: Central Sand Hills South Carolina

What about using some kind of interesting lattice screen, maybe with mostly horizontal elements and allow evergreen clematis and other non aggessive vines to run up and through the screen. Evergreen clematis, deciduous clematis, red honeysuckle, annual vines like moonflower and scarlet runner bean, would cover quickly without having those aggressive overgrowth tendencies.

Several years ago, I ran into an Oregon nursery which has a wonderful assortment of unusual plants. The plants I ordered were really high quality. You may want to brouse their catalogue for ideas.

Newly Registered
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Joined: Mon Jul 14, 2008 7:40 pm
Location: Portland, OR


Thanks for the suggestion of willows, but they are known for seeking out water pipes, and wrapping their roots around them and SQUEEEEEZING the life out of them. My dad works for the city of portland in Environmental Services as an Engineer - trust me - those suckers are no bueno.

Lattices are a good idea - we have about 50 feet across to cover - the website looks good, will have to explore it a bit more.

Thanks again everybody!

Charlie MV
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1544
Joined: Thu May 08, 2008 11:48 pm

A lot of folks around here use Leyland Cypress for privacy.They are fast growers shaped like christmas trees .

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