Gardening/landscape question: Any greenery fence ideas?

Bought a suburban house a year ago with a lovely green grass fenced backyard that has two pine trees and a slight grade up from the house to the back fence. My neighbors homes behind me are above my property so I can I would like to come up with a plan to block the view into my yard with greenery or something that would fit into the yard
q gardening landscape question suburban backyard
Summer picture of how the yard looks - plain grass to the fence
q gardening landscape question suburban backyard
Greenery would need to survive Missouri weather with snow - picture taken in of me on my back deck in December.
  11 answers
  • C C on May 29, 2017
    Since the back of your yard fence is the ugly side, why not install lattice and plant some Climatis vines. Your fence looks like it is already 6' tall so turn the lattice on it's end and make it 8' tall and frame it with 1" x 2" boards painted to match.

  • Kim Kim on May 29, 2017
    pyramid oaks grow quickly, are very narrow and tall and generally hold their leaves throughout the winter. They would block the view from the tall houses behind you and not take up much of your useable space

  • Mark Mark on May 29, 2017
    Hi Joyce - I had the same question some years back, and I what I did was create a line of blue atlas cedars interleaved with golden thread cypress. Blue atlas cedars are gorgeous, and will grow tall - with their distinct shallow blue color, comparable to the color of a blue spruce. The golden thread cypress are in between, and are a bright yellow if hit with direct sunlight. (If you have an area of majority-shade, they'll tend toward green.) But with the [yellow/green] cypress, thick on the bottom, growing to ~8-10 feet, and the cedars interleaved growing much, much taller at their distinctive blue, well, it can look stunning. IMHO, of course... ;)

  • Mark Mark on May 29, 2017
    I just realized I can show a picture... Now, it's pouring outside this AM, so I won't do that. But I have a photo from 2010 when I first did the plantings that I'll attach here. The cypress are now about 6-7' tall, filling in beautifully. It takes a few years, of course - but as you can see, my cypress were very small; you can surely buy those bigger. They're not terribly expensive in comparison to the cedars. Hope this helps, and best of luck!

    • See 2 previous
    • Mark Mark on Jun 01, 2017
      Two more comments, Joyce...

      One thing I didn't mention was that both of these plants are highly resilient, at least in NJ. I've never lost a golden thread cypress or a blue atlas cedar. Now, during Hurricane Sandy a few years back - I lost a LOT of trees. I sometimes call that storm "the great pruning." (Though it "pruned" a lot of my roof as well - which I could not joke about at that time.)

      The second this is: be careful with Leyland Cypruss if you consider those; they crack easily and can get very big, very fast. (I see someone else mentioned the latter point below.) But if you have a lot of ice and snow... I lost a whole line (of 9) to an ice storm a few years back - the weight cracked the branches. I've seen the same thing happen with White Pines as well - the branches cracking with heavy snow/ice.

  • Teressa Anthony Teressa Anthony on May 29, 2017
    Hi! Leyland Cypress are evergreens and they grow very fast! Space them about 3 feet apart and the boughs will grow up and mesh together to make a nice privacy border. We built a house on a bare corner lot and had no money for fencing. This was better because it totally blocked our view of the surrounding houses but stayed naturalized. I love birds so it was welcome shelter for them; especially in winter. They grow in a conical shape but can also be trimmed up like a hedge; so as not to feel like they are overtaking your yard.
    Another wonderful choice is the Photinia. Red/green glossy leaves that have a small white flower cluster. Can be grown and pruned like a tree OR left bushy and cut like a hedge for privacy. Also a fast grower.

  • MaryAnn B MaryAnn B on May 29, 2017
    IMHO Photinia is a monster waiting to happen. Yes it grows big and fast, but be careful as to what you ask for. Keeping these babies pruned so that they don't take over you yard is a huge undertaking. Leland cypress grow very fast, but more that 3 feet is needed between these trees when planting. Joyce if you have a Garden Helper a decision is easier. I would vote for adding a two foot piece of lattice on top of the fence. We added a two foot pieces on top of our railing on our deck and it adds lots of privacy.

  • Ginny Ginny on May 31, 2017
    Leland cypress does provide a great deal of privacy, but most of my neighbors who planted them eventually took them down because they grow quickly and can become HUGE and unmanageable without constant trimming. So does bamboo.

  • No matter what you do, you have a beautiful yard!

  • Joyce Harper Joyce Harper on May 31, 2017
    Thanks for the great ideas!

  • Dfm Dfm on Jul 24, 2017
    please remember that when you plant new landscaping. Plant as if each planting is mature. This will help the root systems from crowding. And give you a stronger tree.

  • Beni Beni on Dec 11, 2019

    Gardening is a great way to add a bit of color and personality. After reading this article I discovered new ideas to improve my garden.