Garden bloggers design workshop: Screening out the road
This is my post for the August edition of the
We seldom use our front door. But it -- and our living room -- sit about 35 feet from a busy rural 'connector' road. It's the shortcut for commuters traveling from the east to Cornell University, which employs about 10,000 people, not counting the construction workers.
When we moved in here in 1999, there were three spruces (none taller than I am) between us and the traffic. We lost one in the
Since then, I've tried to put up a buffer of mixed shrubs and perennials in a bed along the road and next to the house to separate us visually from the road. Here's what it looks like now:
Here's what makes up the barrier (see numbered image below):
- Clematis growing on doorstep pole.
- Plume poppy growing in front of living room window.
- Bittersweet vine growing on pergola.
- Filipendula and burning bushes in front of pergola.
- Hybrid willows along road to the west.
- 8-foot tall Inula with 6-foot tall polygonum behind it.
- Shrubby willows.
- Monarda and Cornus alba transplanted from the woods.
- Tall willows.
- The little spruce, all growed up.
Here's the view from the front door looking slightly left ...
... and slightly right:
How does it work? Could be better. The deer have kept the Cornus alba (above) too short to fully block the road and the driveway beyond. Everything in these images is at full height and in full leaf now. But that's not the case early in the season.
I don't notice the traffic as much during winter when the house is shut up tight. But that's probably a rationalization. I was afraid to plant evergreens due to the wet soil out front and the salt spray from the road during winter. But the remaining spruce have done fine. If I'd planted two or three more in '99, we'd probably have a solid wall of evergreens out front. Oh well.
Along the stretch of the road to the east of our driveway, I planted a screen of Miscanthus floridulus, or at least that's what I think it is. It does a nice job blocking the view of the road from our patio behind the house. The bamboo-like stems also make good pea brush and wattle-building material.