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Old 05-13-2010, 11:04 AM   #1
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Privacy tree suggestions with Pics.

Here is my current situation. Two seasons ago I built the six-feet high privacy fence you see in the pictures. This was an ambitious project and costly I might add but well worth it for the privacy it afforded (note past tense) my family.

Last year my neighbors built this monstrosity (comments from builders and architects welcome here). As you can see, it has a reverse pitch so that an adult can stand up in the higher end. Everyone who visits me has the same "OMG what is that?" reaction. The "builder" told me it is a full efficiency appt. to accommodate an elderly disabled man, a friend of the owner's.

Often, I go outside to see a younger man and the older resident sitting on the landing looking down on our formerly private back yard. The "builder" lives in the basement, the owner on the main floor, the old man and maybe the 20 year old in the addition. I have called the code enforcement officer to see if thye have a permit. He has not gotten back to me yet. This sort of thing would not be allowed in the city I grew up in, but this is a small village and it seems like anything goes around here.

Now I'm thinking in terms or moving, but also in the meantime, planting a row of tall privacy trees along the border and letting the privit just go wild. Any suggestions? I am in zone 5. I have been doing some research. I see that "fast-growing trees" website has been posted here before and the Thuja Green Giant evergreen looks promising. I am open to suggestions.
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Old 05-13-2010, 02:30 PM   #2
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Mabye a shade sail, or a high pergola(do those have height restrictions?) might work as a temporary measure.

Not sure if a "fence extension" to hold latice would qualify as a "fence"......

The arborvite grow about 1ft per year, I think, and the larger ones get pretty expensive.
There might be faster growing things out there that cover the area better.


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Old 05-15-2010, 06:23 PM   #3
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There a hybrid popular ( sold as a grow your own firewood tree ) that grows

like a weed but I know little about them other than a friend that grew them


If you want privacy you'll never have it in town , I know.

Pergolas are another option.
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Old 05-16-2010, 03:30 AM   #4
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Old 05-16-2010, 06:17 AM   #5
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Poplars (lombardy) grow very fast and tall--short lived--but would give you quick cover--cheap.

I built a ridicules grape arbor to block the view of a neighbor from hell. Arbor vitae grow quickly as well-
sounds like you need instant cover--I'm at a loss as to a suggestion---

Pergolas and arbors do not require a permit in my area---that might be an idea---You might find defective fencing marked down to next to nothing--take a look at your local yard.

I picked up a load of split rail fencing a Menards--enough for over 300 feet of fence for less than $150.

I made an offer to the guy at the service desk to buy the lot of culls--As I was loading the pick-up a worker showed up--I assumed he was checking to make sure I wasn't loading the good stuff--

Wrong--He started sorting out culls from the good stock.--I really thought the springs on the old truck would break.----Take a look around--be creative--you have a temporary need--(hopefully)

See what clever solution you can come up with.--------Mike------
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Old 05-16-2010, 04:32 PM   #6
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It looks like you only need the privacy from 6' and higher- maybe consider a shade tree or two that will give a wide canopy beginning at 6' height- Sugar Maple or Red Maple would be good choices - I know it won't be as effective in the winter, but as the trees fill in, even the bare structure of the tree would act as a screen.
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Old 05-25-2010, 06:26 PM   #7
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Thanks for all the suggestions. Still considering my options as well as putting up the kids seasonal pool and working on the bathroom. I believe I have an abor vatae in my back yard as well as some sort of evergreen. It's too bad they are in the wrong spot.

Trying to be considerate, I put my wood fence inside of my property line so I could mow on both sides of it. I guess my next move is to move it right up to the property line so I can plant trees or vine or something on my side of the fence. There is always more to do.

It has helped to sit in a lawn chair facing that door when they are out looking over our way. They get uncomfortable and move back inside. It also lets them know that we are watching our kids and are aware of their presence.
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Old 07-06-2010, 09:40 PM   #8
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Finally got some feedback from the code enforcement officer. Are you ready for this? They have no permit for this addition whatsoever. The handyman who also lives in the house just built it. Now the officer tells me there is nothing they can do about it because it is built. What? Has anyone ever heard of such a thing? I asked him what happens if this thing catches fire due to unsafe building practices and takes my house with it? He didn't really have a good answer.

I also complained to the state police and the sheriff office. But first, I blew my stack at the gawkers who had the nerve to act surprised and try to defend their actions. The police were sympathetic but essentially could do nothing unless a crime is actually committed against one of our kids. I have not seen them out there gawking so maybe the talk the police had with them helped.

Now I'm thinking about sticking a big, ugly cardboard cupola on my roof and if they ask me to take it down for lack of a permit I can say "No it is already built".
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Old 07-07-2010, 09:25 AM   #9
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Wow. So what is the purpose of building permits then? Heck, build anything you want, and as long as you don't get caught in the process, you'll be fine once it's "already built."
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Old 07-07-2010, 03:26 PM   #10
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So why have codes at all???? Everyone should just build what they want! To the original question, short term have you considered bamboo in large pots? The quick growing varieties can grow up to a foot per day and grow up to 10 feet high. Many maintain leaves in winter, albeit browned, providing year round blocking. They are cheap and can be easily propigated, heck they do it for you! Just DO NOT put them in the ground as most are highly invasive. Good luck!
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Old 07-09-2010, 05:04 PM   #11
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I'm actually considering the Thuja Green Giants but will have to do in fall or spring. I have never heard of potted bamboo that grows in zone 5a. Where would I find info on that?

Yes, I was told if they caught it before it was built, they would have put a stop order on it but now that it is built they are talking about fining them 100 dollars- the price of a permit or maybe making them get a permit after the fact. Apparently, they are very lenient around here. I am planning on an outdoor electrical circuit and a new subpanel to the garage. I was planning on a permit but if I can get it under their radar, why bother as long as it is safe and inspected by a qualified electrician before it goes live. It's not like they are going to make me tear it all out if they catch me after the fact, just charge me for the permit.

My neighbor's handyman was also planning to put in a cinder block cellerway without a permit but the code enf. officer told him he'd darn well better pull a permit for that since he knows about it in advance. They will also now have to get the addition inspected to make sure it's up to code so I guess something positive came out of it.

The neighbor is also having his lot surveyed so I will know exactly where to move my current fence and where to plant the trees (Or bamboo pots) without having to pay for the survey myself.

I have not seen much of the two that were oggling over my fence since I made all this noise so maybe between myself, the police and the code enforcement officer (who is a retired police officer) talking to them, they finally got the idea that it's not smart to be seen eyeballing other people's kids.
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Old 07-09-2010, 05:12 PM   #12
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But 40 feet of latice and plant wall climbing plants. Just make sure it's "already built" before an inspector notices. :P
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Old 07-12-2010, 01:01 AM   #13
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Totally insane. I would get two or three of the fastest growing populars and water them each day. Do not over water. Hopefully they will grow fast. Maybe call the Arbor Foundation and get some sugggestions from them.

Once the view of the freak show is blocked - things should get better.

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Old 07-12-2010, 01:15 AM   #14
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a couple of telephone poles with pulleys on top so you can hoist a sunscreen should take care of the watchers. Ugly as sin but it will so the trick.

btw: nothing illegal about them watching you 24/7 from their vantage point.
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Old 07-12-2010, 12:26 PM   #15
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Try Lehland Cyprus (not sure of spelling) - they grow fast too. They are an evergreen. man that is one ugly addition.


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