Perfect Privacy Screen Hides Ugly View


The townhouse I moved into 6 years ago came with a rather junky spot just beyond my back yard, marring my view from the house, porch and garden.

So began my long quest to hide the junk. Here’s one of my attempts – prayer flags hanging over spireas and nandina. Design-wise and neighbor-relations-wise let’s say the flags weren’t a big hit.

The ugly-view problem has kept me from showing you photos of my back garden; it was omitted entirely from this 5-year update of last summer.

But I’m hiding the garden no more because I got permission to build the screen that the spot really needs. I love it!

It was allowed by the rules because rather than an imposing 6′ tall screen, it’s just 3′ high and mounted 3′ off the ground, so it screens just where it’s really needed. With the shrubs growing beneath it, I don’t even notice the open bottom.

The view above from my house shows ‘Ogon’ spireas and an oakleaf hydrangea, with Bignonia capreolata in bloom. The vine is so vigorous I bet it’ll cover most of the screen by next summer.

Stepping back, here’s the view from the porch, revealing another screening goal of mine – to block some of the white rowhouse beyond, though not all. I’ve gradually come to appreciate the very plain International style of our homes. 

Luckily there’s room on the other side of the screen to plant the new trees seen in this view from the interior sidewalk. On the left is a ‘Rising Sun’ redbud and on the far right, a Japanese maple. (Weirdly, its cool tricolor leaves – green, white and pink – quickly changed to all green. Oh, well.)

In between the new trees is a smokebush – love them! – and a rather boring abelia.

Here’s a closeup of the redbud. On the right of it is a Fothergilla.

Here are two more small trees I’ve planted in the last year – a regular redbud in bloom, and a barely visible Japanese maple behind it.

This final view includes the pots on my patio planted with purple Iresine. They’re less grand than usual, thanks to my first deer visit ever in this seemingly protected spot.


  1. I like the weaving pattern of the screen.

    How much sun do you have for the Bignonia? What is the ground cover, pachysandra terminalis?

    Same thing with my 5 color Japanese maple. Some pink and white on new growth though.

  2. That is a really nice, elegant solution. The woven planks are handsome. I’m sure you don’t need telling to be vigilant about keeping Bignonia from suckering all over. I was sold mine as “marginally hardy” in my 5B garden. Hah! I’ve spent six years now trying to keep it from suckering yards and yards from the pine it’s (otherwise very pleasingly) cllimbing.

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