mkaustin
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Joined: Thu May 28, 2009 6:53 pm
Location: Wisconsin

Hedge to deal with neighbor fencing?

Hello all,
I am a newbie, both on this forum and to gardening generally. I have recently purchased a home and I need some advice on creating some privacy. My backyard is entirely fenced in by neighbors' fences. I have made a diagram of the lot. The red, blue, and green are fences of neighbors. There is a large tree in the back, a large tree in the front, and I have shown the house, garage, and patio footprint - more or less to scale.

[img]https://img140.imageshack.us/img140/1012/housediagramlarge.jpg[/img]

The fences are all chain-link and not exactly what I want to look at when I'm grilling in the yard. What I want is some privacy, and I was thinking I should probably plant a hedge, but being new to home-ownership and landscaping, I am not sure what type of hedge, or even if a hedge is the best option.

Important considerations:
I do not want to rub any neighbors the wrong way.

I want something pretty easy to care for and grow because I don't really know what I'm doing - I'm in hardiness Zone 4.

I want something just big enough to give privacy (maybe 4 feet?) without appearing like I am trying to shut out the neighbors.

My yard is pretty small.

Any suggestions?

bullthistle
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Location: North Carolina

Don't know it you are looking for deciduous or evergreen but arbovitae, juniper, holly, or cedar might be what you are seeking. Evergreen and narrow columar the only problem is with snow which can break the branches and then they will look worse then chainlink. Cedar, holly, juniper have sharp needles arborvitae does not. Or you can look for flowering decidous which will take up more room.

cynthia_h
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Location: El Cerrito, CA

Would vines be of use in your situation? They'll climb up the fences more quickly than trees or shrubs would fill in, at least during the growing season...

Perhaps annual vines (e.g., sweet peas) now, while the other, more long-term plants fill in?

Edited to add reference to this current discussion:

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=14780

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

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vintagejuls
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Joined: Sat Apr 11, 2009 8:12 am
Location: Southern California / USDA Zone 10

My suggestion is to put up your own fence to secure your property. I don't mean to be out of line here but I had a bad experience with a neighbor and fencing issues. And have heard lots of stories... There are these wood fences called 'Good Neighbor Fences' - double sided so as to keep the peace. Maybe your neighbors would consider splitting the cost if they don't really like the chain link. :wink: Maybe contact the city to learn what the standards are in the community if it is a new area for you.

But if you want to go the hedge route and with where you live, the evergreens are a good suggestion. 8)
~ Julie

Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it well... Emerson

mkaustin
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Posts: 5
Joined: Thu May 28, 2009 6:53 pm
Location: Wisconsin

bullthistle wrote:Don't know it you are looking for deciduous or evergreen but arbovitae, juniper, holly, or cedar might be what you are seeking. Evergreen and narrow columar the only problem is with snow which can break the branches and then they will look worse then chainlink. Cedar, holly, juniper have sharp needles arborvitae does not. Or you can look for flowering decidous which will take up more room.
Evergreen is a must, and yes, snow is definitely a consideration - I'm in Wisconsin. After reading a little bit about it, I think arbovitae is a good suggestion if I can find a variety that can handle partial shade and won't grow too tall.

mkaustin
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Posts: 5
Joined: Thu May 28, 2009 6:53 pm
Location: Wisconsin

cynthia_h wrote:Would vines be of use in your situation? They'll climb up the fences more quickly than trees or shrubs would fill in, at least during the growing season...

Perhaps annual vines (e.g., sweet peas) now, while the other, more long-term plants fill in?

Edited to add reference to this current discussion:

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=14780

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9
Thanks, Cynthia, but I don't feel like vines are an option because the fences are owned by the neighbors. I'm not sure how they would feel about me planting climbers on their fences. I guess I'm really looking for the least confrontational way of hiding the fences from view.

mkaustin
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Posts: 5
Joined: Thu May 28, 2009 6:53 pm
Location: Wisconsin

vintagejuls wrote:My suggestion is to put up your own fence to secure your property. I don't mean to be out of line here but I had a bad experience with a neighbor and fencing issues. And have heard lots of stories... There are these wood fences called 'Good Neighbor Fences' - double sided so as to keep the peace. Maybe your neighbors would consider splitting the cost if they don't really like the chain link. :wink: Maybe contact the city to learn what the standards are in the community if it is a new area for you.

But if you want to go the hedge route and with where you live, the evergreens are a good suggestion. 8)
In an ideal world, the house would have come without the neighbors fence and I would put up one of my own, but that ship has sailed. In order to put up my own fence, I would have to either A) ask 3 neighbors to take down their fences so I can put one up, or B) put up a fence that would be right against existing fencing of 3 neighbors. Also, keep in mind this is a very small yard in an urban lot setting.
But, yes, I wish I could just put up my own :?

ecofarmer
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Posts: 17
Joined: Sun May 24, 2009 9:50 pm
Location: central VA

I live in a different state and this information will be based of the knowledge of how our laws work.

I’m posting this because of the lack of information left by vintagejuls and to show some of the issues and what can be done about a fence.


-Check the dead of the property to see if any of the fences are talked about. I bet there not but where we are at it would most likely get filled by the owner of the fence.

-Is the fence on the land survey? If it is on your land but dose not belong to you then you should fill out paperwork for getting it moved or to take half ownership of the fence and be responsible for half the upkeep.

-If you plant something that grows onto the fence then it would be your reasonability to remove it and fix it at any time unless you have a say on the fence.

-If the fence is on your property but not yours you can file a trespassing order against the fence. Depending on the state if they can not prove that it was there for X amount of time (squatter’s rights) then the owner would be responsible for removing the fence and damages form the fence.

I have seen someone move into a new house and end up in a mess because the fence was not fixed, they want to upgrade the fence, a gate was left open, or they cut a chunk of it down.

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vintagejuls
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Joined: Sat Apr 11, 2009 8:12 am
Location: Southern California / USDA Zone 10

ecofarmer wrote:I live in a different state and this information will be based of the knowledge of how our laws work.

I’m posting this because of the lack of information left by vintagejuls and to show some of the issues and what can be done about a fence.


-Check the dead of the property to see if any of the fences are talked about. I bet there not but where we are at it would most likely get filled by the owner of the fence.

-Is the fence on the land survey? If it is on your land but dose not belong to you then you should fill out paperwork for getting it moved or to take half ownership of the fence and be responsible for half the upkeep.

-If you plant something that grows onto the fence then it would be your reasonability to remove it and fix it at any time unless you have a say on the fence.

-If the fence is on your property but not yours you can file a trespassing order against the fence. Depending on the state if they can not prove that it was there for X amount of time (squatter’s rights) then the owner would be responsible for removing the fence and damages form the fence.

I have seen someone move into a new house and end up in a mess because the fence was not fixed, they want to upgrade the fence, a gate was left open, or they cut a chunk of it down.
ecofarmer,

I intentionally omitted information because I'm not an attorney nor am I familiar with the county (or township) laws or building codes in regard to the Original Poster's area. However, from both personal as well as professional (Realtor experience), my preference was to give the OP 'food for thought' since the question was about a HEDGE not a FENCE. :shock:

This forum is to provide helpful information in a courteous manner; NOT to attack or belittle information left by other members. :roll:

BTW, I think you meant to say 'Deed of the Property' not "dead..."
~ Julie

Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it well... Emerson

mkaustin
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Posts: 5
Joined: Thu May 28, 2009 6:53 pm
Location: Wisconsin

vintagejuls wrote:
ecofarmer wrote:I live in a different state and this information will be based of the knowledge of how our laws work.

I’m posting this because of the lack of information left by vintagejuls and to show some of the issues and what can be done about a fence.


-Check the dead of the property to see if any of the fences are talked about. I bet there not but where we are at it would most likely get filled by the owner of the fence.

-Is the fence on the land survey? If it is on your land but dose not belong to you then you should fill out paperwork for getting it moved or to take half ownership of the fence and be responsible for half the upkeep.

-If you plant something that grows onto the fence then it would be your reasonability to remove it and fix it at any time unless you have a say on the fence.

-If the fence is on your property but not yours you can file a trespassing order against the fence. Depending on the state if they can not prove that it was there for X amount of time (squatter’s rights) then the owner would be responsible for removing the fence and damages form the fence.

I have seen someone move into a new house and end up in a mess because the fence was not fixed, they want to upgrade the fence, a gate was left open, or they cut a chunk of it down.
ecofarmer,

I intentionally omitted information because I'm not an attorney nor am I familiar with the county (or township) laws or building codes in regard to the Original Poster's area. However, from both personal as well as professional (Realtor experience), my preference was to give the OP 'food for thought' since the question was about a HEDGE not a FENCE. :shock:

This forum is to provide helpful information in a courteous manner; NOT to attack or belittle information left by other members. :roll:

BTW, I think you meant to say 'Deed of the Property' not "dead..."
Thank for the thought. I actually am an attorney and I know that there are things that can be done, but the whole point is that I don't want to rub anyone the wrong way. I am the new guy in the neighborhood and the last thing I want to do is to give a bad first impression. These 3 neighbors have had there fences for who knows how long, and in one sense I am lucky the have them - my whole yard is fenced in, which is good for the dog I plan to get, without me having to bear any of the expense of a fence.

I just want a sense of privacy in the backyard that you just can't get with chain link. I like to be out there grilling and have friends over, etc., and I am a private person and don't want neighbors to be able to watch me out their windows or listen to my conversations. But I would rather leave things as is, than to start a war or make my neighbors not like me. This is why I was thinking hedge. It gets the job done without being too controversial. That is, if I can come up with the right plant (or if it exists).

I really appreciate anyone and everyone chiming in because this is sort of a brain-storming thing really. I am young, first-time homeowner, and am open to suggestions of how to deal with this situation, either through suggestions of appropriate plants to get the job done, or other ideas that I haven't thought of.

Please keep 'em comin'!

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vintagejuls
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Joined: Sat Apr 11, 2009 8:12 am
Location: Southern California / USDA Zone 10

mkaustin,

We cannot control how someone else feel about us; you may 'rub them the wrong way' and not even be aware of it... :roll:

If you want to put in a fence for privacy and are certain as to where your property line is, then you should do so. Of course abiding by city/county codes and ordinances. My concern for you and because I've experienced some unpleasant neighbor interactions is to consider, what if the neighbors with the fence decide they want to remove their chain link fence and have nothing, after you get the dog and plant the hedges. Then where will you be. I've been living in my first 'single family residence' for 9 years and highly suggest you put in a fence to secure your property and maintain privacy. Then plant what ever you want... :wink:

ps great drawing by the way.
~ Julie

Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it well... Emerson

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