Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Privacy! Well, someday.
Well...once again Norm and I managed to spend pretty much our entire Memorial Day Weekend working on projects around the house...and as a result, accomplished more this past weekend than in 3 normal weekends! It helped that we have fabulous weather that made working outside more pleasure than pain. One of the projects we've been wanting to tackle since we renovated the back garden last year was establishing some sort of privacy.
As you can see, our house is VERY close to our neighbors' house...and their kitchen window(s) look right out onto our backyard. There used to be a family that lived in the house, and somehow it didn't bother me much that they could see us...we'd even chat sometimes through the window. However, the family moved to Florida last year and rented out the house...and having half a dozen (and often many more) college students partying right behind you can be a bit unnerving!
So, after pondering all winter what I wanted to do here, we finally settled on a Bamboo in a stock tank. I forget what type of Bamboo this is, except that it should get about 6-8' tall (with an equal spread). Even though it's a clumper, not a runner, I don't trust Bamboo enough to let it loose in my tiny little garden, however...so the stock tank was an obvious solution. I had originally wanted a very tall grass...something with a little more variable seasonal interest. In the end, however, it seemed silly to have a privacy screen that was only actually present for half of the year!
And so, we settled on this Bamboo...and are waiting for it to get it's little Bamboo act together and grow! I'm not sure how quickly it takes for these to reach their mature height...but I'm anxiously awaiting the day I can wander around the backyard without feeling like I'm on display, let alone, sit for a few minutes and enjoy the fruits of our labor...sigh.
Oh...and if it looks like there are some bare spots in the garden, that's because it was also musical-plants weekend...and I moved A LOT of plants to different spots in the garden. No wonder I'm exhausted. Some day, there will be a 3-day weekend where I DON'T spend it all working. Then again...I REALLY slept well after those long days outside ;-)
Posted by scottweberpdx at 3:07 PM
Labels: back yard bamboo, garden, landscape, metal, oregon, pdx, persicaria, portland, privacy, screen, stock, sweet potato, tank, vine
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looks great Scott! I know that feeling of rushing to get stuff done in the garden so you can enjoy it. "Okay, I just need to get all this stuff planted before it get's too hot..." "Oh man, where did all these new weeds come from!? Gotta plant fist." "Is it too late to sow these seeds?"ReplyDelete
What's the tall arcing grass in the first photo with the pendulous thingys? Are those Impatiens seedlings growing between your pavers?!
Exactly! Even though it makes more sense to split things up over a few weekends...there are those times we just want to get as much done as humanly possible...and yes...before the heat sets in. Once it gets over 80°, I'm pretty worthless. That's Stipa gigantea...it's AMAZING!Delete
I hope that works for you. I love my privacy fence, but even at 6 foot, it's not quite enough. Waiting for my perimeter flowering shrubs to gain height and they'll mostly be higher than the fence. Still some years ahead for that. Can't blame you for wanting yours. That would make me crazy also. Will be interesting to see how long it takes to grow tall enough.ReplyDelete
Cher Sunray Gardens
That was another thing we thought would be a benefit of the stock tank...it's about 2' tall itself, so gives us that much additional height to the Bamboo :-) Let's cross our fingers and hope for speedy growth for both our sakes ;-)Delete
I've been growing bamboo in containers in my own small garden for the same reason as you - privacy in a few key areas. However, your bamboo will probably take 3-4 years to reach full size in a container if it is well cared for. There is an old saying about bamboo: the first year it sleeps, the second year it creeps, and the third year it leaps. If you are in a hurry, you might want to consider starting with a larger plant. There are many nurseries which can provide large specimens to "jump start" your privacy screen. Good luck!ReplyDelete
That totally makes sense...and I think we're both pretty realistic about how long it'll take before it really gives us any privacy...still...at least now it's in place and we just have to wait :-)Delete
I'm pulling a clump of bamboo out of the ground this summer--if you want some (it's about 7 feet tall) just let me know. I'd love to help you get privacy faster. I'm waiting on a pot of bamboo too--I don't need it for privacy but I still wish it would hurry up and grow already.ReplyDelete
Drat! I should have thought to ask around before buying one! Oh well...we actually bought this sort of on a whim at the HPSO sale this spring...if I had waited any longer, I probably would have talked myself out of it and would still be trying to figure out what to put there! Oh man...you would have had quite the vaudeville act if you had to witness Norm and I trying to fit a 7' tall bamboo in our car ;-)Delete
You didn't mention our 50-mile Saturday drive to four different farm supply stores to find the perfect stock tank...ReplyDelete
OMG...for real...that was crazy...I was just happy to finally find one...and for cheap!Delete
FYI...it was Burns Feed Store out past Gresham on Hwy. 26
Looks great! I think the stock tank is a good idea to elevate the height of your bamboo. I have clumping bamboo here and I believe it grew quite quickly in the first year in terms of height. Width took a longer time.ReplyDelete
Totally...I think the additional few feet will help us achieve privacy faster...and keep it from wandering ;-) Good to know about the growth...I'll be sure to post updates!Delete
Everyone needs a little privacy. If you have lovely neighbours you tend not to notice how much you share space, in terms of views and sound. Then when they change, it suddenly becomes amazing obvious.ReplyDelete
That is so true...it really didn't bother me at all before. Sigh...having good neighbors really makes a world of difference, doesn't it?Delete
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The bamboo should go pretty quick, though perhaps it would be quicker in the ground. I saw a screen of Otatea that I think got to at least 10 feet tall after about a year.ReplyDelete
WOW...that's crazy! I think this one (being a smaller clumper) probably doesn't have the same lightning-fast growth...and you're definitely right about the difference of being planted in the ground.Delete
I hope you and Norm are enjoying your patio. It's great when you get a lot accomplished during the three day weekend. I have silver lace vine shielding me from my neighbors.ReplyDelete
Isn't it a great feeling...we did manage to sit still for all of 5 minutes and enjoy it ;-) I LOVE that vine...I wish I had figured out a good way to do something like that!Delete
It's coming together! I really love the corrugated metal panel. I was thinking an umbrella might give you a better feeling of privacy, at least until things grow in and up. Some umbrellas you can even angle a bit: if you had it placed right between those two chairs, and angled a wee bit, it could really give you some privacy....ReplyDelete
That's such a good idea...and one we've toyed with a bit...I just could never seem to find one that didn't seem to dwarf the rest of our yard! Who knows...maybe we'll look around a bit this summer and see if we can't find one after all...those angled ones are a great idea!Delete
It looks great. After a couple glasses of wine, you will forget you even have neighbors. Enjoy. Good work.
Hahahahahahahahaha...indeed, alcohol, the great equalizer ;-)Delete
Scott, privacy is always a concern but it looks like you have conquered it. It is difficult to have neighbors that are really not neighbors but hopefully you will get through this.ReplyDelete
That is so true...and it's not as bad as many people have it, for sure, it'll just be nice to have a space where we can call our own :-)Delete
I still remember your posts while doing those fences. I hope your bamboo grows taller than that fence. I can relate with how you feel there!ReplyDelete
Oh yeah...I think it should be at least 2-3' taller than the fence...so eventually will give us a good amount of privacy :-)Delete
I know all about working away those weekends (two or three day) and vacations too. I was one man moving around "two man" boulders over the weekend. It does make for some restful sleep...until you wake up sore and stiff. The patio looks really nice. I hope the bamboo gives you the privacy you want.ReplyDelete
Yikes...you've officially beat me in the "hardest labor" category ;-) I agree...I wasn't able to walk right for a week!Delete
Looks like a nice screen-in-progress already...as another said, take w/ glass of wine!ReplyDelete
Hahahahaha...advice taken ;-)Delete
If I'd known , I would have brought my very tall bamboo to the plant exchange!ReplyDelete
OMG...that's the thing, isn't it...I didn't even think to ask!!!Delete
Burns Feed store is the best! It's where we've gotten all of our stock tanks. Your garden looks fabulous...and that Bamboo will be tall and wide before you know it (easy for me to say)...ReplyDelete
For real...it's got the BEST selection around...and is far cheaper than anywhere else we've looked. I hope you're right...I was sitting back there this weekend...just WILLING it to grow ;-)Delete
The bamboo should make a good screen when it grows, as well as singing a silvery song as you sit on your patio and the wind blows through it.ReplyDelete
We've decided to grow a screen at the back of our raspberry patch; at the minute only a two-foot high strip of netting fence separates us from the trampoline that our new neighbours tucked against the boundary. They're a lovely family, but we suddenly feel very exposed when we're working in the veg patch and two curious (and noisy) boys are bouncing up and down watching us intently!
I'm pondering between planting out some of our spare Japanese hornbeam and pleaching them across here in time, or adding something like Itea ilcifolia, or just a climbing rose and a spare clematis... there's not much space before the raspberries start, so some higher trellis and something trained against it is really called for.
OMG...that's such a funny (and unsettling) image...I think seeing kids bouncing up and down all the time would wear on my nerves...even if they were nice kids! I think your ideas all sound lovely...I hope you post on whatever you decide on.Delete
Isn't it nice when you set aside some time to accomplish tasks and the weather cooperates too? Well done on the project, the bamboo may take its time to do its thing but you'll get your privacy eventually.ReplyDelete
Yes...we've had a really decent spring this year for getting projects done (which is great)!Delete
It looks really pretty - hopefully those students will all go home to mum and dad for the summer and you'll be able to sit back and enjoy your new little oasis. The bamboo looks a lot like my fargesia red panda - had it for 5 years. For me even in winter it is evergreen, has stayed in a polite clump, and is about hip height - the tag says 240cm (oh my! 8 feet), but so far so good.ReplyDelete
Hahahahaha...if only...I think they're here until they graduate. I guess I should be glad they're pretty good for the most part...I've had other neighbors who were AWFUL!Delete
I feel your pain. When we first moved in, every side of our property was open to the neighbors and the street. It took awhile but we now have complete privacy. I hope the bamboo works. I've always been a afraid of it but surely it will be fine contained. Is there room for tall evergreens to go on the sides? That might be an option as well.ReplyDelete
Definitely, it's one of those necessary evil of city-living. To be honest, it wouldn't bother me quite so much...but we're just SO CLOSE! I'm generally afraid of Bamboo as well...so, even though it's contained, I'm keeping an eye on it ;-)Delete
The bamboo should be a good cover eventually. I really like the whole look of your patio. A lot of people use wood but your furniture and fence varnish/tint(?) combination goes really well with your plants. I hope you don't mind if I snag the first picture. My wife and I are keeping a file of all the different garden looks we like.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Bom! I'm flattered you'd use any part of my garden as inspiration :-)Delete
Hi Scott, you've presented a really great idea for a privacy screen. Both with the use of the (contained) bamboo but also the fence. I'll be in a similar predicament when we finally get moved to our next house. I hope it grows up swiftly so that you feel like you have a more private backyard. You've transformed it into such a beautiful spot! Cheers, JenniReplyDelete
OMG Jenny...me too! I bet you'll have some inspired ways of making privacy in your new space :-)Delete
Your backyard looks fabulous! I think it is the first time I have seen it!ReplyDelete
Thanks, Patty...omg...you should check out the series of posts I did last fall about the renovation!!!Delete
Here's the link to the last part of that series (I broke it into 3 parts)Delete
Your garden is looking good and I do hope you get your privacy soon!
Nothing worse than having people watching over you in the garden when all you're trying to do is relax and tune out everyone else. I'm definitely someone who needs to feel secluded.
Absolutely, it's hard for it to be a "refuge" when there are people doing dishes over my shoulder ;-)Delete
Great chairs and table. And I adore bamboo. You might also try a couple native things in pots: Ninebark grows quickly, also Indian Plum, mock orange and Ocean Spray. I love garden rooms like you are creating.
OMG...that's such a great idea...and I LOVE those shrubs, especially the Ninebark!Delete
Looks like a Fargesia. I planted some three years ago. The second year it didn't do much, but this year it's doubled in height, so I guess next year it may reach 6 to 8 feet. Love your fence.ReplyDelete
Nice! I think you're right...I looked back through my blog and it's Fargesia rufa (I think). I would have loved one of the black-stemmed ones, but they get 25-30' tall...way too tall to be in scale with the rest of the garden! Glad you like the fence...as you know, THAT'S a lot of work too ;-)Delete
We call it work and it is physically demanding but it's a fun work and so gratifying. Maybe if you feed your bamboo some fish emulsion (nitrogen) it will grow faster. I'm impatient that way. Also, good ole fashioned Laurel is a very fast grower and looks great all year.ReplyDelete
Hahaha...totally...it may be labor...but it's so rewarding! That's a good idea about the Fish Emulsion...I may have to get some ;-)Delete
Hi Scott! My grans taught me: 'never trust the fox, the cat and the bamboo!' I love the tank you choose, you can also paint it if you like. Looking forward to see those corners filled up with your plants!ReplyDelete
I hope your bamboo grows quickly and tall for you. Good thing you have it in a container!ReplyDelete
You and me both, Janet!Delete
I feel your pain - we can see parts of 63 houses from various parts of our backyard, and the neighbors to the back have lots of windows looking down into our space. They planted a row of aspens along their back fence - obviously looking for privacy - and I was very upset for a while about the suckers we'd have to deal with on our side. But now we're thinking of a way to put a barrier in to keep the aspen roots out, and it will be very nice to see a wall of aspen leaves instead of their windows all summer . . . so I hope your bamboo grows well for you! How responsible of you to keep it in a stock tank instead of letting it run rampant all over the neighbor's yard as well as your own. Wish my neighbors were that considerate!ReplyDelete
63 houses...wow...I won't complain about our 1! I agree about the suckers...that seems like a problem...but if you can contain them, it will be beautiful to look at :-) Yeah, I can't help but be thoughtful about the bamboo...we have so many awful weeds to contend with already that I don't want to add to them for all of us in the neighborhood!Delete
I know the feeling: our two neighbours are very close too. I would like my sight to stop somewhere on my own yard so everywhere in the plot I need something to give shelter and something to work as a focal point.ReplyDelete
Love the stock tank, great idea! Bamboo would be wonderful but I think it won't survive the Scandinavian winter... eh, not many plants do.
It's definitely a common issue, right?!? If only we could find that perfect spot where there are great views all around!Delete
Just noticing yesterday that, at this moment, the back garden is now completely private -- which will change again when the trees lose their leaves in fall. I really hate having to plant for privacy! I think you've found an elegant solution that won't take up loads of space and/or leave a big footprint.ReplyDelete
I agree...it seems like such a waste of space that I could plant with something way more fun/interesting. Oh well...I guess that's just one of the downsides to gardening in the city, right?Delete
For what it's worth, it looks amazing. If the neighbors want to look, it's only because they're jealous -- clearly the grass is greener on your side of the fence. :)ReplyDelete
Thanks, Kevin...I can't wait for it to grow up and fill in ;-)Delete
Dear Scott, I was sure I left a comment here a few days ago... I start hating 'Blogger' it gives me a rush of blood to the head everytime it starts showing me those twisted words I can't read and it does it in a perpetual loop...ReplyDelete
Anyway, your backyard looks fantastic, I know you guys worked hard on that and all those efforts are paying off! Never trust bamboos, ever! You are right to put them on a tank and it looks like a nice one. I think you can even paint it one day if you like (the tank, not the bamboo...).
Oh no! I'm sorry, Alberto...sometimes Blogger is such a pain in the ass...I don't know what it's deal is :-( Glad you were able to post though :-) I agree...I don't trust ANY bamboo...so it was a no-brainer to keep it contained!Delete
The windows look great and I couldn't be happier, totally worth the drive from the eastside, and I will definitely bring my next vehicle in for more tinting from these guys! www.polytronixglass.comReplyDelete