Borrowing Neighborhood Views

Most gardens have ingredients in the neighborhood that can both enhance and detract. Careful planning allows you to extend your garden beyond the property lines while eliminating or diminishing unwanted distractions. As housing developments sprung up around The Anderson Garden, we have had a continuing challenge to block out the structures and borrow from other people's landscaping.

Trees are probably the best borrowed plants, because they are tall enough to be seen over screens that block out houses. In the picture above, several layers of rhododendrons hide a garage just a few feet beyond them. The white birches are a beautiful accent for the garden, but would be terrible close to the rhododendrons with their invasive roots.

Board fences are obviously the quickest way to screen out the lowest six feet. We put in about 400 feet and then planted in front to obscure the fence. We also planted about 500 English holly trees in front of chain link fence. As they grow, they make the unsightly fence disappear, discourage climbing, and allow sculpting to whatever heights are needed to open or close further views.

Extending your garden beyond its borders while screening out what you don't want is an excitng challenge. It requires a knowledge of how large different plants will be in years to come, and clever framing to create depth. If you succeed, your garden will seem like it is in a world of its own.