July 30, 2009

Planting A Privacy Hedge

About the only thing I wish was different about this place is that I wish we were a little farther off the road. In addition to the house and front yard, both cleared areas have road frontage. It's not a main road to the next town, but there are several housing developments on it. One problem with that is the noise and traffic. Oh, sometimes it's quite, but other times it's not.

The other problem is that I don't like the sense that everything we do can be viewed by either our neighbors or by passers-by. Please don't get me wrong, our neighbors are very nice, and the passers-by are usually driving too fast to take much notice, but I'm a very private person. That may be because I'm a social klutz, or perhaps it's because I'm contemplative by nature. Either way I don't like being in the limelight and I don't like the feeling of being on display.

The remedy for both these problems, I felt, was to plant a privacy hedge. I figured it would be several years before we would be able to plant it. When I saw an ad in the paper for bargain priced 4-foot, 3-gallon trees Leyland Cypress trees, I was ecstatic. They are evergreen, lovely to look at, and grow both quickly and thickly. We went and bought as many as our little Chevy S-10 would hold.

We decided to plant the hedge along the roadside edge of the field north of the house. First we had to wait a few days for the utility companies to come out and mark where we couldn't dig. And because we don't want the electric company to come out and top them all in the future, we planted them just inside the power line.

Hedge of little Leyland Cypress treesWe had about 175 feet to cover. Planting trees six feet apart doesn't cover the full length, but it's a good start and I feel better about it already. These are supposed to grow at a rate of 3 - 4 feet per year, which means that in a few years I'll have the privacy I'm wanting.

Although these guys don't meet my self-imposed requirement that everything we plant be edible, medicinal, or for natural dyeing, they were the right thing at the right price at the right time. Hopefully they will do well.

Planting A Privacy Hedge is copyright July 2009


Michelle said...

Hurray for your great find! They look nice in their neat, green row, and you'll be much happier with the hedge, I am sure. I'm glad you thought of the utility lines; I hate seeing young trees planted right under them, knowing someone didn't have the foresight to situate them for longest life. Yours still look like they will grow up close to those lines; I'm hoping it's just the angle of the photo. Seeing that house across the street gives a whole new mental image to your setting; when I just see your place it looks so secluded!

Geodyne said...

Do watch the Leyandii. They're great because they grow quickly and are pretty, but then they keep growing...and keep growing...! You will have to top them eventually, for light.

You might also like to think about planting an alternate, slower-growing hedge just inside our outside their line. I'm pleased you'll have a hedge and some privacy quickly though! It would also be my priority.

Woolly Bits said...

I agree with Geodyne - I don't like the leylandii's, but you can't beat them for fast growing, which gives you the required shelter soon. and you have space enough to eventually replace them with a nice hedge that gives you not only shelter, but blossoms, fruit and colour. you can start slowly (and cheaply) by collecting fruit/seeds in the autumn and build up your own plant collection for a hedge to be planted later. buying all those different "nice" plants for a hedge of that length can be rather costly otherwise

Leigh said...

Actually there is a row of houses across the street Michelle. DH and I agree that if we'd come across this place several years ago, we probably would have rejected it for that reason. But after looking close to DH's work for 3 and 1/2 years, and not finding much in our price range that met our requirements, we were more willing to buy this place.

They are planted 11 feet in from the road, just off-center from the overhead power lines, which may end up being a problem anyway in the future. Oddly, the electric company didn't care where we planted them. But having seen some of their trim jobs, I wanted to avoid that!

Thanks Geodyne. I have read that they don't grow so tall and wide when planted so close together. We'll see! I was concerned about blocking the light too, but hopefully, because these are planted on a roughly north-south line, one side or the other will get either morning or afternoon sun. And I don't think they'll shade the neighbors across the street except for early morning hours if at all.

Bettina, I really like the idea of planting a more useful hedge next to the Leylandii's. One other concern I have about them is that I read their roots are shallow and they are apt to be blown over in high winds. That's a real possibility here, so it would be good to be growing a back-up hedge for that event. Of in case the power company does want to cut them down.

Goat/sheep fencing will eventually go on our side of those trees.

Benita said...

I planted a Wall of China hedge about 13 years ago and, while they aren't evergreen, they have been a great privacy barrier - that and the every other year we plant corn in the field that is on three sides of our house.

The only bad thing about Wall of China, though, is the Japanese beetles love them. Took years to get rid of the little buggers.

Renee Nefe said...

I'm in awe at how resourceful you are. The trees look lovely now and soon you'll have that row of houses blocked too!
We have some Aspen trees that the first owner of this house planted in the front garden. I HATE them because aspens love to send up shooters and seeds everywhere...I'm constantly pulling up baby aspens from my grass, front garden, driveway and sidewalks! However, seeing as my neighbor insists on parking his cars in front of my house having the trees to block my view of them is a blessing!

Life Looms Large said...

That's great that you've got your hedge growing already - and that they're pretty big already!! (At our old house it took forever for little seedling trees to become noticeable.)

I like my privacy a lot too!! Even though I'm outgoing....


bspinner said...

Perfect solution to the privacy issue. We are also on a road but have over the years planted pine trees are are growing beautifully for privacy and much needed wind break from west. We're lucky enough not to have much traffic and look straight across the road at a corn field. Much better than houses.

I agree with you and are happiest just minding my own business and not being in the lime light.

Leigh said...

Benita, I'm amazed that you got rid of those Japanese beetles at all!

Renee, I really hope we don't have a similar problem with these. I know that clippings can be sprouted, but I'm not sure yet about volunteer seedlings. I've seen quite a few hedges of Leyland cypress, but usually they seem to remain neat looking (fingers crossed.)

Sue, their size was their selling point for me. The lady we bought them from was downsizing her nursery and so these were wonderfully healthy but reasonable too.

Barb, I suspect the neighbors across the street will appreciate the hedge too. They aren't used to having someone working outside all the time at this house. It will be for their privacy too. :)

Julie said...

What a great idea! They look great all lined up there.

Dorothy said...

I'm with Geodyne on growing a second hedge - we have a very bland looking 50 foot Leylandii hedge, must have been there a long time and it's so dense now that the birds can't get into it. However, it's one of the best hedges for beating noise.

I guess you live in a less friendly place than us? Getting out in our front garden is a great way to get to know the neighbours and say hello to passers by, however, we have enough bushes and trees in the front not to feel exposed, and many of our passers by are on foot / horse / tractor so that's friendly than cars going by

MiniKat said...

I think privacy lends itself to being enough of a necessity to not have to be "edible, medicinal, or for dying." Grow little fence, grow! :-)

Leigh said...

Thank you Julie! I love to go out and look at them.

Dorothy, excellent point. I'm hoping it won't get too thick for the birds however, as mockingbirds have already come to inspect. We've already taken away some of their thickets in our clearing out, so I'm hoping to give something back to them.

It's not that our neighbors are unfriendly. Mostly folks keep to themselves and mind their own business. There is a feeling of being on display however, since we work out in the yard a lot. The front of the house will remain open though, so we won't be shutting out the world entirely.

MiniKat, thanks! It is definitely functional, so you're right, that should count too. :)

Trapunto said...

As always, love your post. 3 gallon is a nice good-sized plant to start out with. What a lucky break! I know what you mean about being on display. We have become the local entertainment in our small town. Literally. At every stage of our excavating and drainage and soil amending project, People (especially oldsters) drive down our side street on purpose to stare. I know it's on purpose because I already recognize all the cars of the residents and their friends and relations that have any cause to drive down the two streets we live on by sight; as I said, it's a very small town. It's like they say to themselves: "Huh, what'll we do for fun today? I know! Let's go look at those crazy interlopers who have torn up their whole yard down past main street!" It is not a very gardeny town. They either slow wa-a-y down or stop outright and point and converse with their passengers about our project for a few minutes. I've been really happy to make at least waving acquaintance with the people who come by on foot, but the people in cars don't really want to know us, just gawk--they only have the courage to slow down when we're not right out in the yard so they don't have to talk to us. I sort of understand what they're doing: it's a town with a lot of civic pride and our house has been here nearly a hundred years, so there's kind of a vested interest in anything we do to the place, but I was brought up to believe this sort of behavior is incredibly rude. Our lot is so sloped there is no good place a hedge on the two street sides, plus I actually feel a sort of social pressure not to put one up, in order to give off a neighborly vibe, but I have definitely made room for one facing the vacant lot for sale next door, and have made plans for a lot of subtle layers of screening with small deciduous trees and big perennials.

Sharon said...

Actually your hedge is medicinal because it's for your peace of mind.

Ben said...


I just stumbled onto this blog from Google images search for Leylands.

When I read your post, I almost laughed. You sound exactly like me and my wife.

We recently moved into a house, and I immediately didn't like the fact that my neighbors on all sides can watch my every move.

Like you, I am a friendly person (and my neighbors seem nice), however, I am very shy and introverted and extremely private.

And just like you, I did my research and discovered the Leyland life savers.

My wife and I bought 80 or so on eBay (very cheap), but they are small liners about 12-14 inches high.

I lined the sides and back of my property with them, and I can't wait for them to grow into a neighbor proof privacy screen.

Anyway, great post & blog, and good luck with your Leylands.

Leigh said...

Ben, thank you so much for your comment. I hope this post was helpful! It's nice to know there are similar folks out there when it comes to privacy. :)

The little trees have done quite well. In fact I just took a photo the other day for my next "Around the Homestead" update. They aren't giving us privacy yet, but they are growing!

Back 2 R roots said...

I am trying to do the same thing and have looked at a number of options!! From Arborvites, to Wall of China, to Hybrid Willows!! Glad you mentioned the utility lines wouldn't have thought through that--thank you and good luck to you and your lovely hedge!!

Leigh said...

Elizabeth, thanks for taking the time to comment! I wanted to return the blog visit, but your profile is private, so this will have to be my thanks. In almost 2 years, they've grown quite a bit, which I'm very happy about. Still not giving us much privacy, but we're on the way. In between, about three foot toward the road, I planted hardy hibiscus. They look really pretty when they flower. I think the whole hedge will be pleasant for passers-by.

Unknown said...

It's been almost 5 years since this blog. Do you have a link somewhere showing what your trees look like now? That would be interesting.

Leigh said...

Gliding Buzzard, I should do a post on that! The trees have grown quite well and are doing their job. In fact the tops need trimming as they are getting into the overhead power line (even though we thought we offset them enough to avoid that.) Now they are background in quite a few of my goat photos. The most recent on is here.