Hiding From the Neighbors – Privacy Fence Landscaping Design

Landscaping Design Dahlonega GA
View of the mountains from their front porch.

James and Jennifer lived in their home for many years and loved it due to the incredible view of the Dahlonega mountains.

Unfortunately, progress happens and someone built a home right next to theirs, blocking some of the beautiful view. What do you do?? I’ve written blogs before about using trees for privacy,, but this mountain home created some unique hurdles. Cue some creative landscaping design!

Privacy fence landscaper Dahlonega GA Helen Cleveland Gainesville
Their home on the left and the new home on the right.

The space on the side of their home was very close to the property line. In some sections it was only 10 feet away from the patio on the side of the home. To get some privacy, they could build a huge wall (the house next door is considerably taller than their home) or put in some natural privacy. Fall/Winter is the perfect time to plant trees, especially bare root trees.

We sent the clients to the nursery to pick out the trees they wanted. These had to be dug up and placed in burlap and wire so they could be transported. It is one of the best ways to purchase a tree as it is dug up and then placed right back into the ground within a few days. A freshly picked and planted tree!

 The client wanted an instant screen so he chose 7 ten-foot-tall trees. The root balls were around 30” wide and deep and very heavy. Since these trees were 10 tall with root balls around 30” wide, we used our large truck and trailer to pick up the trees from the nursery.

Landscaping Design Dahlonega Cleveland Helen Gainesville GA
Ten-foot trees.

A great screening tree is one that grows relatively quickly and has a strong root system. I was glad to see that the client did not pick out a Leyland Cypress (X Cupressocyparis leylandii) – as I have noted in a previous blog from my experience in garden design, Leyland grow quickly but have weak, shallow root systems making them susceptible to diseases, drying out or rotting. They can also reach heights of 60’ which was not needed at this home site. Most people plant them too closely together which can hasten decline (if one tree gets sick, it spreads quickly)

He picked out a holly – a Nellie R Stevens Holly (Ilex x ‘Nellie R. Stevens’). This is a lovely holly that can reach heights of 15 to 25’ high (according to Michael Dirr – Manual of Woody Landscape Plants) and is one of the best hollies for the southern part of the US.  I have used hollies as screens at my previous house and find them beautiful, tough, and fairly deer tolerant. To close the space in between the hollies, he added three Linebaker Isu Trees (Distylium ‘Linebacker’) as filler.

Landscaping Design Dahlonega Cleveland Helen Gainesville GA
Jason and the auger bit.

As shown in the photos, this house was on a very steep hillside. Jason used our new machine and moved the trees up the hillside to their final locations. Normally, we dig holes for all our plants manually when working with landscaping clients, but in this case due to the size of the root balls, we used an auger to start all the holes and then manually finished the sides of the holes.

Landscaping Design Dahlonega Cleveland Helen Gainesville GA
TLC for the new root balls.

Sean and Shaq are gently guiding the tree into its new spot. But as usual, I am directing them to move the tree a little bit to the right or the left or letting them know that the hole is too deep or heaven forbid, not deep enough.

Tree as a privacy fence Dahlonega Garden design GA
Unwrapping the wire and burlap.
Landscaping Design Dahlonega Cleveland Helen Gainesville GA
Holly and Distylium.

The Distylium are in front of the hollies. Everything is planted a little too close together for my liking in landscaping design but the client wanted an instant screen, and we understand!

Natural privacy fence Dahlonega GA
Pretty Hollies all in a row!

A lot of you move to the North Georgia mountains because of the peaceful and gorgeous views.  So, if you ever find yourself in the same situation as James and Jennifer, give Art of Stone Gardening a call for all of your landscaping and garden design needs!

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Sign up for our monthly newsletter of gardening and stonework tips from our blog. You may unsubscribe at any time and we will not add you to any other mailing list.