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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Backyard Landscape Designs - Creating a Natural Privacy Screen

By 6:31 AM

You can change many things in your backyard to make it more beautiful, serene and welcoming to guests. Unfortunately, some times there is nothing you can do about the second story neighbors next door that take smoke breaks on their balcony every time you're sunbathing, or that uber-bright multi-colored 40 foot high play set.

There are a few things you can do, though, aside from moving far far away from your neighbors. You can hire a landscape designer or architect to create backyard landscape designs customized to your space and needs. Though, if you are a do-it-yourself type of person or on a tight budget, you can create a natural privacy screen with just the help of your local garden center.

Step number one is to lay out where you want your privacy screen. Start with a quick sketch on paper of your backyard. If you have the measurements of your backyard, note them in your sketch.

To create this natural screen, you will want to plant a row of trees that will grow into a "wall of green" that will become a tall hedge. Take your backyard landscape designs to your garden center or nursery and find a knowledgeable person who can spend some time with you. Tell them you are creating a natural privacy screen with evergreen trees (which will stay green throughout the year). You should ask for planting, watering, pruning regimens and the spacing requirements of each tree variety, which will determine how many you will need.

Your nursery or garden-center expert will know which trees will be suitable for your climate zone. To get you started, ask about these trees that make great hedges and windbreaks:

• The Pyramidal Arborvitae is an evergreen tree with bright green foliage and one of the best selling hedge plants in America.
• The "New" Quick Shade Imperial Carolina is a fast growing tree form, which grows six feet per year.
• The Hybrid Poplar Populus deltoides x Populus nigra is also a fast growing plant variety and should grow six feet per year. Works very well planted as a hedge, screen, windbreak, or to line a road or drive.
• The Siberian Elm or Ulmus pumila is hardy, and drought-resistant once established. It is also considered to be a great windbreak tree when planted in rows.
• Clumping Bamboo can make a bold statement in contemporary and modern backyard landscape designs, too. You will want to plant Clumping bamboo and not Running bamboo which shoots its roots out into the rest of your garden.

Once you have your trees, take them home and plant them as soon as possible after preparing the soil. Make sure to ask about mulch for your tree choice, which hinders weeds and keep moisture in the ground.

Great natural privacy screens make great neighbors! Next, go to to see some great backyard design photos and find more information about landscape designs by Kristen Dolan, Landscape Architecture student and photography enthusiast.

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