May 27, 2011

New Backyard Bushes

No offense to our neighbors, but we've grown spoiled by the privacy fences on both sides.  We've come to greatly enjoy our backyard as our own space (as opposed to a communal one where you can see what everyone else is doing all the time).  Even the neighbor behind us planted some forsythia along the fence that we we can't wait to grow in (it won't block our view of the woods, but will block our view of their canoe and kiddie toys).  All that's left is the chain link fence along the side of our garage, leaving us with a perfect view of our neighbor's compost heap, wood pile, and bright white PVC pipe garden structure.  Now I know our garden isn't going to win any beauty competitions, but at least we made sure to pick out green and black posts/fencing that would blend and sort of disappear.  Their white monstrosity is an eyesore.  A very tall and very large eyesore.

The fence before (with lilies and weeds just starting to grow)
We thought about putting up a privacy fence all the way back, but it would only be 6 ft high and not tall enough to hide the “roof” of their structure.  Plus it might make our backyard feel really closed in.  So we decided to grow an evergreen hedge out of thujas.  This particular breed of thuja is fast growing and will reach about 8-10 ft, the perfect height.  They will create a lovely thick green privacy hedge when planted 2 feet apart that will be beautiful and green all year round.  We had to buy smaller bushes than I would have liked because we need so many, but hopefully they will fill in nicely in a few short years.  We planted 25 bushes across 50 feet, from the edge of the cedar fencing all the way back to their garden structure.  We figure it's a good compromise - it will give us the privacy we crave and block their unsightly structure from the view from our house/deck , but it won't block the light to their garden (which would be rather mean from one gardener to another).

Here's a (badly done) photoshopped mockup of what I imagine our future view will look like in a few years (hopefully):

Yeah, it’s going to be awesome.  And well worth all the pain.

It was obviously a lot of work to plant 25 bushes, but it actually took a full day of prep work to get the 50 foot long area even ready for planting.  Before this, the area was completely overgrown with tons of weeds overtaking a few day lilies that could barely be seen under all the mess.  The lilies were original to the house from the previous owner and were so unhappy that they did not even bloom last summer.  So we pulled out all of the weeds and saved as many lilies as we could for transplanting.  Mike had to pull up all of the poison ivy we encountered because I'm highly allergic and he's not.  I wore gloves but sometimes that's not enough.  It was a ton of work, only made worse by the wisteria roots and vines we had to combat from a neighbor's arbor.  Those things are monsters.  There was also a lot of sod to pull up further down the fence - I feel like we've pulled up more sod this year than anything else!

Finally once everything was cleared out, we filled in the low parts of the new plant beds with some of the leftover garden dirt, then we started digging holes for the bushes.  We dug proper holes twice as wide as the 3 gallon pot - exhausting work when there are 25 holes to dig.  However it was totally worth it - it looks so clean and well manicured now, and visually my eye looks at the nice row of bushes instead of focusing on the fence and neighbor’s yard.

Next we have to mulch all these bushes.  And because I’d rather do the work upfront than spend my entire summer weeding, that means putting down a layer of newspaper first and then covering it up with a couple inches of cedar mulch.

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