I'm often asked "how many evergreens are needed to block the view of the neighbors?" And they want the screen to run from the front curb to the back alley.
Even though a wall of arborvitae provides a year round screen, you may want to mix it up for seasonal change. Plus, if one of these shrubs were to die, how do you fill in the void left by that one dead arborvitae.
A mixed border filled with trees, shorter shrubs and perennials provides year round beauty.
For narrow areas consider a vine-covered trellis. I've seen a section of old iron fencing be converted into a trellis for the shade tolerant 5-leaf akebia vine.
And add a bit of privacy to your deck or patio. Use creative arbors to support vines and artwork for screening. Add a few containers to complete this beautiful privacy screen.
Non invasive ornamental grasses are another option. They provide significant height for screening with a relatively small footprint in the landscape. Use these in areas where screening is not critical in early spring when the dried foliage is cut back to the ground level. New growth will quickly reach full size in late spring or early summer. Or mix it up with evergreens. The evergreen foliage makes a nice backdrop to the flowers and foliage of the ornamental grass.
For more gardening tips, visit www.melindamyers.com.