Tips for Installing a Privacy Hedge

Are you sick of running into your overly chatty neighbor every time you shuffle groggily down the driveway to retrieve your morning paper? If you don’t like talking to people before coffee, it may be time to “up” the privacy factor for your abode.

A privacy hedge is a great way to section off your home when you live in an area without much breathing room between houses, and you can choose from quite a few plant options to create the buffer. Most are easily installable, and with the right tools and knowledge, you will finally be reading the business section in blissful solitude right in your own front yard.

Figure Out Logistics

Before you decide what kind of plant to choose, work out some key logistical factors. First, decide how high you want to let the barrier grow. A good way to decide on a height is to grab a ladder and place it where your hedge will go. Climb up and gauge what you can and cannot see in order to render a verdict.

Next, nail down the amount of space with which you have to work. If you have ample space, two or three rows of hedges may be just the ticket – a thicker barrier will block more light and sound from traveling between your neighbor’s home and your own.

Finally, decide how long you need your privacy hedge to be. Measure the yard space carefully before deciding on a plant. That way, you can take the measurements of a fully-grown hedge into consideration with your existing yard space in mind.

Time to Pick a Plant

So you’ve figured out the measurements. Great job! You’re halfway there – now it’s time to choose a plant. If you opt for some of the more popular evergreen, tall tree hedges, shoot for one of two popular varieties. First, the Green Giant Arborvitae grows rapidly and it can reach heights of five feet or more. The American Arborvitae is also widely used for living privacy fences, but it does not grow as tall as the former hedge – it averages somewhere between three and five feet tall.

If you want a shorter privacy hedge, opt instead for bush-like plants such as the Rose of Sharon. It’s a shorter hedge with great flowing potential. Another good option is the North Privet – and this one grows very quickly.

Planting Your Hedge

How you plant your hedge will ultimately depend upon the amount of space available in your yard. When you calculate the room between rows, base your measurements upon the width of the plant’s crown. At a minimum, keep a foot or two between each plant to allow room for future root expansion.

Once your plants fully mature, prune and decide if you want to plant additional rows for greater privacy. Unlike fences, privacy hedges add aesthetic value to both your neighbor’s property and your own, and you will finally enjoy the free reign of outdoor living space you have been craving.

 

Landscaping and Lighting – A Match Made in Heaven

Landscaping and lighting.  You think they would go hand and hand when you buy a new home.  Well, not always.  Sometimes the lighting around a home may need a face lift, or a fresh start, or a total make over.  The fixtures may be out dated, or they may not even work.  The foliage has possibly grown over light fixtures and needs to be trimmed, and the walkway may be hard to see at night.  Whatever your needs, it’s time to ask yourself….”So where do I begin”?

First Things First

The first step is to take an analysis of the surroundings.  What is essential to the appeal of your home?  What do you want to make sure is illuminated at night?  What are the immediate needs?  What elements need to be replaced and/or updated?  And what is the budget to make these types of improvements?

It may be helpful to the overall imagery to take pictures before you start a lighting project.  Take pictures of your home during the day and at night.  In your photos, you will notice first-hand some of the items that will need immediate attention.  Those beautiful flowers during the day that give your home its luster are hidden at night.  Placing lighting in strategic areas will illuminate these types of features.

Lighting Ideas

The walkway to the entrance of your home can be brightened by adding something as simple as solar lamps every 5 to 10 feet along both sides of the pathway.  Solar lights are cost effective as well as durable and can last up to 6 to 8 hours each night.

You may want the option of all-night lighting and you can purchase landscape lighting kits online, or at a local home improvement center.  If your budget allows, hire a professional for both the overall lighting design and installation.

As for lighting large trees or bushes, install lights behind the trees to create a nice back light look, which highlights the tree without overdoing the design.  This will allow for some shadowing and give texture to the lighting design.

Wall sconces are good on either side of the front door, while giving a nice ambiance to the entryway.

For festive lighting, hang string lanterns from the trees. These can be interchangeable to match various seasons, or social gatherings, and gives the property a special artistic touch.

Lighting the outside plays to a certain mood to the design of your home.  It can be subtle, bold or simply elegant.  Whatever your personal style, designed lighting creates an inviting element to your home, while increasing its value and safety.

Dealing With Wildlife in Your Landscape

If you’re the proud owner of a well-landscaped home in the country, then you know all too well the frustrations of garden wildlife. Nothing is more discouraging than planting a beautiful bed of petunias only to wake up one morning to find them nibbled to death.

Destruction of property isn’t the only damage that unwelcome wildlife in your landscape can cause. When wild animals sneak into your yard, they can also carry diseases and deliver germ-laden ticks and fleas right to your front door. Your yard is a prime target for wild animals since it has all the good stuff they love – water, plenty of food, and shelter on a cold, rainy night. Following a few simple guidelines can keep wildlife from becoming a problem in your yard before you encounter any surprise guests.

Physical Wildlife Barriers

For country homes, the biggest wildlife concerns are generally deer, raccoons, and rabbits. A simple, sturdy physical barrier can get the job done in a weekend. Many people opt to add a high fence to their yard and have enjoyed great success with this method.

Surround the entire perimeter of your yard with fencing material and ensure there are no openings or visible holes during installation. You can use a range of materials for perimeter fencing – chain link, plastic mesh, wire, or wood are all great options. If you opt for wood, select a pre-treated style that can withstand moisture efficiently. You can also utilize the existing trees in your yard as natural posts for your fence to add character to your landscaping and save money in the process.

Other Ways to Fight Landscape Intruders

Pesticides are another method for fighting wildlife in your yard. If you choose to go this route, buy products specifically designated as “animal repellants” and don’t use random household items such as mothballs in your yard. This could potentially pollute or kill your plants, and if you have edibles in your yard, you could possibly become sick from consuming them as well.

In addition, if it’s unusually hot and dry outside, consider keeping water dishes and fountains to a minimum. A scarce water supply attracts pests, so don’t leave standing water anywhere in your yard. If you have a birdbath, however, place it high above the ground. Birdseed from feeders is a prime target for wild creatures, so store your seed inside your home or garage and check often for stray birdseed on the ground below your feeder.

Garbage is another biggie. In woodsy areas, this not only attracts deer and raccoons – bears could come sniffing around your home, too. To combat this, keep your garbage in a tightly sealed container that wild animals cannot knock over or easily open. Store it in an out-of-reach area close to your home.

These rules are easy to implement. If you prepare your yard and work these suggestions into your daily routine, you will get your wildlife problem under control and begin to enjoy your yard more fully.