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Privacy for narrow area between fence & driveway - Skyrocket Juniper

February 11, 2019
last modified: February 11, 2019

I have 19 inches between my fence and the driveway. I need to add privacy as my neighbors yard is not only is a mess but he also has a spotlight on a 15 foot pole in the center of his yard that shines in my yard and my windows. I've spoken to him several times about it and he will not add a sensor, it's currently on dusk to dawn.

I've been looking at skyrocket junipers but I am worried about the roots messing up the driveway. Possibility is to built 3 foot garden boxes and put them in there. How big do their roots get? Any other options for tall narrow bushes for privacy? little to no maintenance in Long Island NY.

Comments (16)

  • Roxanne
    This is a picture of the width I have
  • illsstep

    It gets 2 to 3 feet wide (or more) and keeping it trimmed off the driveway may not fit with your "little to no maintenance" requirement.

    How tall does the screen need to get? 15 feet? Your options are going to be limited, with only 19 inches of width to work with.

  • PRO

    You will probably have to remove lower branches into the tree form, in order to not consume driveway space, You wouldn't necessarily need to be limited to needle-thin plants like 'Skyrockets' but do need to use a tall shrub.

    Though the neighbor wan'ts the light on all night, he may be amenable to blocking the portion that shines on your property. The power company often does this by spray-painting part of the globe.

  • Roxanne
    Thanks for the input! The neighbor is not willing to do anything so unfortunately everything with him is ruled out. We offered to put a timer on, asked to face it down a bit. He’s actually violating town code but I don’t feel like starting a war. Trimming back from the driveway a few times a year isn’t terrible. I would like them about 15-20 feet high
  • Roxanne
    Neighbors light for reference
  • PRO

    If the light is bothersome mainly when viewed from a certain area (like the patio) I would consider building a trellis raised above the fence on which a vine is grown. If you had a trellis that spanned 15' or 20', you might be able to block the light where it is most offensive. I don't know about your municipal rules and what obstacles you'll run into (by extending a trellis above the fence) but if your neighbor is not completely impossible to deal with, you might advise him of your plans so that he doesn't start screaming to the authorities (out of fear of what's imagined to come) and prevent you from going ahead. A vine on a structure would be the easiest way to block light at a specific area. It looks like you only need it extend up to 9' or 10'. It would also be the fastest way as vines get up and running usually in a single season. Plant annual vines and a permanent perennial vine at the same time and it will be covered in a matter of weeks.

  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)

    19" is not nearly enough width to grow Skyrocket junipers!! The tree wants to be double that!! And the suggestion to remove lower branches is not going to provide a look that you will find attractive......a collection of conifer lollipops! Will also take forever to achieve a height that will provide the screening you desire as well.

    I think you need to either find a tree species that will provide screening at a height and width that planting area will accommodate (possibly Carpinus betulus 'Frans Fontaine') or get your neighbor to tow the line wrt the light and call the city code enforcers on him.

  • Embothrium

    20 ft. x 19 in. just isn't feasible. And how many years do you want to wait for the planting to develop? Then there is the fact that a light like that is still going to show through a planting.

  • John D Zn6a PIT Pa

    I like the vine idea, so you need poles to hold up the wire, use 3 wire with a light on one.

  • Embothrium

    Any kind of plant used in any fashion is going to have to become very dense to block that light.

  • vaporvac

    Judging from my hardy kiwi in zone 6, I think it might provide the density you seek, so long as you have a sturdy structure. It a true vine, but needs a bit of initial help... then stand back. Get a male and female and enjoy its amazing fruit. There are other vines, but I've found they become invasive quite quickly.

  • Embothrium

    Deciduous planting like the kiwi will not provide screening of any significance the entire winter dormant season.

  • K Laurence

    That’s disgusting. How is he allowed to do this? Since he’s not willing to do anything & is in violation of code I would consult with an attorney & ask him to draft a letter.... this shouldn‘t be your problem to solve.

  • PRO
    Dig Doug's Designs

    Pleached little Gem Magnolia :

  • kitasei

    I would mount a mirror aimed to relfect the light back in HIS window. At night. During a hot summer day direct in down on one of his choice plants! That'll learn him.

  • PRO
    Flores Artscape

    As you said you weren't interested in a legal battle, while a mirror might be one solution, have you considered an alternative garden concept such as a perennial vine on a trellis? You could put a canvas on the back of the trellis to help prevent light from coming in both for winter months and to assist in blocking the light in general?

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