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Landscaping for privacy.

Throughout history, the ideal garden has always been a kind of sanctuary--a place to shut out the world and escape from the pressures of everyday life. It you'd like to build this quiet quality into your garden, a new Sunset book, Landscaping for Privacy (Lane Publishing Co., Menlo Park, Calif., 1985; $5.95), tells you how.

The book's first chapter describes different ways to make outdoor rooms or enclosures. It gives specific steps you can take to create more privacy, and describes some of the ordinances and good-neighbor policies you'll want to consider.

Separate chapters of the 96-page book deal with the front yard, the back garden, and hard-to-handle areas such as utility and side yards. Subsequent sections outline plants and structures you can use to create walls, windows, and partitions within the garden. The final chapter takes you down to adding such details as fountains, furniture, lighting, ponds, and sculpture.

To illustrate how the designs solve specific problems, small annotated plans accompany most of the color photographs in the book. Diagrams and sketches show where to locate walls, fences, arbors, trees, shrubs, and vines for screening.

Well-placed trees can do much of the work, as the photographs here show. The book gives guidelines for grouping them.

Using trees for privacy

There are three basic ways to use trees for privacy: plant one or two large trees to block specific views, plant a grove or cluster of smaller trees to create a screen, or plant a row of trees for a hedge effect.

Single trees. Trees with a large mature size, such as coast redwood, Norway maple, or sycamores, will block views into and out of a large portion of your yard. If your problem is a view of tall buildings outside your lot, and you have room for large trees, one or two can give the visual barrier you need. Use them with caution, since many kinds cast dense shade that can make gardening under them difficult.

Small groves. Moderate-size or small trees, such as birch, melaleuca, or redbud, can be grouped to screen undesirable views or break sight lines from neighbors' upstairs windows. Small upright trees--or those with a narrow spread--give you the flexibility to plant around them, and they do not become major focal points that dominate the garden.

A hedge effect. By planting a row of small or moderate-size trees, you can create an aerial hedge along a fence or across your front yard. Hawthorn, crabapple, pittosporum, and flowering plum are good candidates for this treatment.

Larger trees can also be used as a screen--if you're willing to perform the necessary maintenance of keeping them topped and clipped back. Podocarpus (pictured below) makes a lacy, tall hedge when planted in a row. To encourage side branches to grow densely, cut out leading shoots at top and shorten tips of side branches at the front and back.
COPYRIGHT 1985 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1985 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jun 1, 1985
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