I have just bought a home on a corner lot in front of a school. On the corner side I have a privacy fence about halfway down. Then there’s the open yard along the sidewalk. During the school year I have students and people cutting through the yard and leaving me their trash. So I’d like to put some shrubs or trees (maybe pine, boxwood, ect.) there to stop traffic plus provide some screening. What would be the best? How far back from the sidewalk and apart from each other should I plant them?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Daphne: Landscaping sounds like a great idea to remedy your situation. Planting evergreens in this space will provide you with a year-round screen as well as discourage people from cutting through your lawn. There are a few things that need to be considered before you choose your plants. Selecting plant material that will thrive in the conditions you can provide is essential to the long-term health of any plant. First, you need to consider how many hours of sunlight this space receives and then how much space you have to plant. Do you have any planting restrictions such as overhead wires? Depending on the tree or shrub you choose they will mature at different sizes, so think about how tall and wide you would like your screen to be. Most taller evergreens are sun lovers that will be happiest if they receive a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight. This is true for hollies, pines, arborvitae, juniper, and evergreen viburnums. Evergreen options for a shady space include taxus, aucuba, schipka laurel, pieris japonica, and evergreen azaleas. Boxwoods are very tolerant of most growing conditions. Fall is a great time to plant and your local garden centers should have a wide variety to choose from. You can take your measurements with you and find a knowledgeable staff member to show you your options. It may be worth purchasing larger plants to create your screen so that people do not continue to cut through your property. Smaller ones may be stepped over or damaged before they have time to mature and do the job you want them to do.