Oh sure, big dense laurel hedges have their place–but only if you live in English Manor. I don’t seem as interested in the total privacy I hear other people talk about. I’m more attracted to screening that allows light through, especially in the dark months, and the opportunity to see what’s going on out there. Always something, right?

This little grove in Concordia (PDX) Ranchville strikes me as just about perfect. And it’s done with one of my favorite trees, Acer circinatum, the Pacific Northwest Native Vine Maple. Although I’ll admit, it could be dynamite with multi-trunked magnolias too. Or Stewartias. Or…? (Please fill in the blank with your favorite multi-trunked tree.)

And a longer view. Terrific, no?

Longer view with Lace Leaf Maple capping the corner.

Longer view with Lace Leaf Maple capping the corner.

I love everything about Vine Maples, the undulating shape, the chartreuse spring foliage, and the explosion of fabulous fall color. Not to mention, they provide a good habitat and food source for birds, bees, and butterflies.

Vine Maples are terrific looking in winter too.

Vine Maples are terrific looking in winter too.

I guess I have a loose notion of what constitutes privacy. In our previous house, I packed a few trees into our 50X100 lot — 25+ as I recall. It was bird heaven. And since we were on a relatively busy street, the trees provided a nice buffer, while not the obscuring view.

City lot. 25+ trees. It can be done.

City lot. 25+ trees. It can be done.

Alas, all but the vine maples near the front of the house and the dogwood have been removed–to make way for lawn.

Okay, so what was I talking about? Oh right, screening versus privacy hedge. Of course, I’ve been blessed with super neighbors my whole dang life–even when I was a kid in our big Catholic Parish–so maybe that’s a thing.

Great neighbors may eliminate need for privacy. Tami, Bill, me, Missy, & Elliot.

Great neighbors may eliminate need for privacy. Tami, Bill, me, Missy, & Elliot on a crazy perfect spring day.

And maybe it’s got something to do with the Irish Girl in me: No, this is not a private brawl. If you hear that cork pop, you’re most welcome.

Cheers

Amelanchier x grandiflora 'Cole's Select'
Dense flower flower coverage in spring, foliage for shade and screening in summer--followed by brilliant fall color. And during the dark winter months, Serviceberry lets in precious light.
Phyllostachys nigra
Black bamboo has it all, purplish-black culms with contrasting feathery green foliage. Movement, sound, and cover for the birds. Gorgeous.
Magnolia laevifolia 'Warm Fuzzies'
Upright dense selection with copper-colored indumentum--the fuzzy backside of the glossy evergreen leaves. Fragrant flowers in late winter through mid-spring, and sometimes repeat flowering in fall.
Ceanothus 'Dark Star'
Dark Star California Lilac has dark shiny leaves. Blooms late winter to early spring. Wonderful habitat plant for butterflies and hummingbirds. Drought tolerant once established. A good hellstrip choi ...
Stewartia sinensis
Stewartia sinensis has it all, delicious bark, spring flowers, and fall color. It'd be heaven to sit in a Stewartia grove.