This project came about because we bought our house during the Summer and when Fall came around and all the leaves fell from the trees I quickly realized my neighbor's house behind me looked right into my backyard. Our house sits lower than the houses behind us and to the left of us and I didn't notice it in the Summer because my neighbor had a huge Silver Maple that screened the other house.
My solution was to plant some sort of shrub that would keep its foliage all year and I needed something large since the neighbors sit on higher ground than me. I searched the Internet on Hollies, Leyland Cypress, Arborvitaes, etc. and all of them had something I didn't like about them. I thought on the issue for a few weeks and it finally occurred to me what the solution might be. Our new house has several Lorapetalum bushes all around it and I remember reading that they can get pretty large. After researching several varieties I settled on "Burgundy Lorapetalums" because they get 8-12 feet tall and 6-8 feet wide. They are also very drought tolerant and grow very fast.
I stopped by the same nursery down the road where I bought my trees and it was fate, they had exactly five 3 gallon sized plants which is the exact same size and number that I wanted. After some negotiating with the owner I got them for 25% off and they only cost me $50 dollars total for all five. I planted two together to screen the neighbor to my left, two together to screen the neighbor in the back, and that last one in the corner of the fence behind the Nuttall Oak tree. I am happy with the results and I can't wait to see them grow.
Here is the final results picture.
Not the best picture, but here is the fence line.
This is the neighbor to the left. I want to screen those two windows from my pool. It is hard to see but there are so many red marks on the grass because I kept measuring and changing my mind on plant placement.
The is the neighbors house behind me.
Two issues here, the windows to the right and a window on the second story peeking through that pine tree.
Closer view, my neighbors Silver Maple provides screening in the summer.
My fence is useless since their house sits higher.
Fence line ready for plants.
I got halfway through planting and realized I needed to take some pictures while planting. I start by digging my hole 1.5 to 2 times bigger than the plant root ball.
I know they say don't amend in clay soil because the plant will treat it like a clay pot but I did it anyway. I poured some good soil on bottom and then planted and filled the remainder with mostly good soil.
After planting I put the old soil on top. It is usually better to use the majority of your existing soil and mix in amendments which is what I did when I planted my trees, this time I just got lazy and filled the hole with the good dirt. Oh well.
Since the plants are located on a slope, I built a moat around the lower end of the plant to create a mini dam. This allows water to build up and soak into the root ball rather than just flowing down the hill.
Here are the first two that should grow together and screen this neighbors windows.
Here are the remaining three that should screen the neighbor to the rear. The one in the corner is for their second story window. Traditionally you would not plant a shorter plant behind a taller tree, but since this is for screening only I made an exception and think it will provide interest behind the tree in the Winter.