We all know the two main purposes of screen plantings: privacy and block an unsightly view. But there are other things to consider when planting a screen.
You should be familiar with the term “outdoor room“. It’s that fundamental principle of dividing a yard into “spaces” according to their purpose and use.
One of the ways to create these “spaces” is by using vertical elements like walls, fences and plantings.
Screen plantings are such a great tool to help make these rooms.
Plants offer color, texture and level of density.
By level of density I’m referring to the thickness and cover that the planting can have. Your screen planting may not have to be so thick and dense to accomplish the degree of screening you need.
Sometimes just the open branching of an ornamental tree or multi-stem shrub is enough to diffuse the view and distract people (on both sides) from looking through.
As you can see in the picture above, screening would be important from both sides – the neighbor looking in from their second floor windows and our homeowner who’d rather not look at the neighbor’s house.
Also in the picture above you’ll notice there already is a row of evergreens on the border, but they are arranged in a mix of varieties that disunify the composition.
By transplanting these existing trees we were able to bring unity to the design by grouping similar varieties.
The tallest of the existing evergreens were placed where they’d give the most coverage from the pool’s patio area.
We installed a River Birch clump forward of the evergreens to give an additional layer of screening. The birch also gives immediate height until the evergreens grow larger.
Layering like this adds depth to the screen planting. Plus, with the generous space between the birch and the evergreens, they can all grow and coexist without harsh pruning.
So look at your screen planting as more than just a wall to block a view. It’s an opportunity to accomplish so much more in your design.
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Landscapes are complex, and shortcomings anywhere in the process can affect the project… and your peace of mind.
My approach is process-oriented. I break things down from planning to implementation — and make sure everyone is kept informed.
My goal is to alleviate concerns such as design decisions, costs, workmanship and material quality. I want folks to stress less and actually enjoy the process.
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