When you look at your neighbor’s yard does the theme song from ‘Sanford and Son’ play through your head? If it does, let us help you!
Constructing a living screen is one of the biggest requests we get at the garden center. Weather is to block a horrible view or create a private oasis, living screens are a great idea but, they need to be done thoughfully.
Many homeowners just want to throw in a row of fast growing Leyland Cypress and be done with it. We understand how that can seem like a quick and easy solution but, it may not be the best idea.
Planting a solid row of any one plant species is what we call a Monoculture. When there is no diversity in nature it creates the perfect environment for disease and pests to flourish. Let’s look at the arborvitae and the bag worm for example. We need to think about this like a salad bar. Bag worms hone in on the first arborvitae in the row and from then on, all they do is breed and feed…all the way down the row! If they go unnoticed, the damage is done quickly and you’re replacing the entire row of plants which can be a costly proposition! The same process happens with diseases when plants run together to create a screen. Disease is transported from plant to plant as they touch.
Don’t fall into that trap! The key to creating a healthy living screen is diversity through Polyculture!
There’s nothing wrong with planting a few Leyland’s or arborvitaes in visually pleasing groups of three sporadically down the row but, break it up with other varieties that not only add height but also a blend of textures, colors and flowers!
Viburnums, Rhododendrons and Hollies all make beautiful screening materials. Many Viburnums have a beautiful scent to their snowflake like flowers. Rhododendrons provide a completely different texture with their evergreen leaves and bright colored flowers and Hollies offer a berry treat for the birds! Drawing birds and beneficial insects to your screen helps to keep them healthy by keeping the population of damaging insects to a minimum.
Loropetalum’s, with their red and purple evergreen leave and tiny pink flowers and Distillium’s deep green and red tipped leaves are two other great screening shrubs. And, let’s not forget Camellia’s with their shiny evergreen foliage and plethora of flowers that bloom in the off times of the season bringing a shot of color to the landscape!!
Add in some spring bulbs, perennials, annuals, maybe a fountain or birdbath and you have a living screen that will not only block a bad view but become a frame for the yard of your dreams!
So come see us at the garden center and let us help you design the screen of your dreams!