Showing posts with label privacy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label privacy. Show all posts

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Getting that privacy back

I think in my version of hell I'd be running a daycare out of my house and those commercials for Video Only ("You'll be sooooooorry!") would be playing on a loop overhead. I don't dislike children as much as I can't handle disruption in my home, and a bunch of kids are more destructive than bears. 

The house next door is finally on the market, which means I can start worrying about what our new neighbors will be like instead of worrying about garden damage and lead exposure.

This is our new solution to the flippers next door clearing every shrub from their property, giving them a clear view into our backyard. I'm not totally in love with it right now because it's a gigantic galvanized tub, right as walk into the yard, but I think as the grasses grow in I'll like it better.


And now:

Right now the area in front of the tank looks ridiculous.

Eryngium planum 'Blue Hobbit' and Sedum rupestre 'Lemon Ball'
Little blibs and blobs that will someday fill in and not look so silly.

There was a whole incident with the flippers hiring one of the kids from down the street to power wash the house, which deposited paint chips all over . . . then the wind picked up and blew them all into my yard. They cleaned them up but informed me they never did a lead test. They were totally unconcerned about it and one of their subcontractors informed me, "It's naturally occurring in the human body and it's not that harmful." Both of those things are false, especially for kids. Did I mention they had the eight year old from down the street picking paint chips out of my mulch? So irresponsible.

It's been stressful and I will be happy to never see them again. And hopefully I won't see the new owners . . . from the backyard, at least. Keep your fingers crossed that they want to plant a hedgerow between our houses. And that they're bakers or cheesemongers and that they don't have a garage band.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Agita in the garden

My elderly next-door neighbor recently went into assisted living and her grand-niece sold her home to some friends who want to start a business flipping homes. I'm very relieved that the home isn't going to fall into developer hands, which would result in the house being torn down and replaced with two or three skinny houses. This is happening all over Portland right now and I hope the developers responsible get shunted to the really humid part of hell. No dry heat for you!

This weekend the flippers, in their infinite wisdom, removed all but two of the mature (mostly native) shrubs in the back yard and limbed up the Doug fir. And because they decided to have some beers on the back deck afterward I realized that we no longer have any privacy between our two yards. This was my view:

Fun fact: if you google "jerkface" this weightlifter's mug pops up.

I was trying to work in the yard but the fact that I could see these guys and they could see me got me all worked up. I was practically hissing at them and I think I had a tiny stroke when one of the guys tried to engage me by yelling, "Hey, gardener!"


Greg got home and I informed him that we needed to erect some sort of blind and also I wanted to move to the country so we wouldn't have to have neighbors. Back in the glory days, this was the view of this area:

My garden looks like shit but it's private!

Nice canopy cover, lots of mature shrubs perfectly obscuring that area. Those shrubs (one a flowering quince) weren't just trimmed this weekend, they were completely removed. So they won't grow back to obscure the area.

I went into burn it down! mode and decided that not only did we need a screen right there right now but we needed to make a point while we did it. So I headed out to Bamboo Craftsman and explained my problem. He steered me toward Green Temple bamboo (Semiarundinaria fastuosa 'Viridis'). This is a tall bamboo that is very erect, with most of the fullness at the top. You can read more here. It's excellent for tall, narrow screening. It fills in quickly and thickly.

The best part is that the plants I bought are already tall enough that they'll screen out that area immediately.

We've knocked out the little pony wall that used to have a gate attached to it. I liked having it there but Greg wanted to remove it to open up the entrance to the garden. I liked the slow reveal.

It's gone now. You win, Greg.

The plan is to install a stock tank here (it'll be ready for pickup on Wednesday) and soften the area in front with pots and grasses.

Behold my MS Paint skills!

Any advice on making this look not-dumb is welcome. I want my garden to say, "Welcome to my garden! Unless I haven't specifically invited you; then you can get the hell out!" I need my quiet space.

More to come once we get everything installed!