The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Privacy plantings

Privacy plantings

It took me a couple of weeks to accept the reality --- that nowhere we could afford in the Athens, Ohio, area will be as private as our current farm. Currently, we hear a neighbor driving his tractor through hay fields a couple of times a month in the summer and can see another neighbor's light in winter if we stand in a certain part of the yard and turn our heads just right. Otherwise, when we're home, we're entirely alone...and I revel in the solitude.

Privacy hedge

However, the second Airbnb we stayed at taught me that you don't have to be far from the road to feel quite private. The house on that property was set back 134 feet from a quite busy road (yes, I did pace the distance). And, thanks to a grove of bamboo, encircling trees, and a well-placed evergreen on the inside, the house felt as private as I could have wished.

I'm thinking the trick with privacy plantings is to include fast-growers, evergreens, and shrubs of various densities. Actually, it sounds quite a lot like planting a hedge.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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The shrubbery might help you feel secluded when you're at home, but your morning walks will probably be a much different experience if there are neighbors etc. just on the other side.
Comment by Jake Sun Jul 23 15:37:53 2017

Your current property seems quite remote by most people's standard. Not that many people have to cross a ford to get to their house!

But living close to a city does not mean you can't have privacy. I stayed in a house in Taupo (News Zealand) once that was not more than a couple of minutes from the centre of town. But from that house you could not see the neighbors houses.

Additionally, as I put in the title, privacy is partially in the mind.

Here in the Netherlands realities like population density means that most people live in row houses or apartments. Which means that often your neighbors are literally on the other side of the wall. But with brick or concrete walls and a tradition of not bothering your neighbors, there is no general feeling of lack of privacy. And it has its upsides. My local supermarket is a two-minute walk. And the centre of my city is 15 minutes by bicycle.

Comment by Roland_Smith Sun Jul 23 16:07:43 2017
We have had great success with Leyland Cypress plantings in the front of our property, which borders a busy road. It not only provides privacy but helps to block road noise. This type of cypress grows rapidly and very wide and tall within just a few years.
Comment by Helen Sun Jul 23 16:26:29 2017
Don't, whatever you do, don't plant bamboo as a hedge. Don't plant bamboo at all! Even clumping bamboo has world domination dreams. Seriously, spare yourselves; once it's in, it will never be out, and it will spread over your entire property.
Comment by Sylvia Sun Jul 23 20:58:44 2017

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