I never thought that I would be interested in landscaping other than scanning pictures and saying "ooh that looks pretty," or having favorite flowers (hydrangea, lilac, lupine, and daisies, in case you were wondering). This all changed when they started clearing the lot next to us to make room for a new house. Remember, in my post here, one of my positives to moving to this neighborhood was the tranquil setting and the privacy. Well, with the house going in next door, and the subsequent construction over the last few months, there is neither tranquility, nor privacy.
Just as a reminder, here are some photos of our previously mostly-private back yard:
To be fair, we always knew that there would be a house built in the lot next to us. However, we thought that we would have a four or so feet of wooded buffer before the cleared lot. Unfortunately, due to an oversight, our lot was not surveyed. (Advice #1 when building a new house: MAKE SURE THE LOT IS SURVEYED BEFORE BUILDING) When the lot next to us was surveyed it was discovered that our lot line was incorrect. This had a few negative effects. We had to move our septic and leech field (not "we," our builder) and get our backyard relandscaped, AND we were left with a gaping hole of nothingness between our home and the neighbors. So much for privacy! (Advice #2 when building a new house: MAKE SURE TO LOOK AT THE SUBDIVISION PLAN TO SEE EXACTLY WHERE THE HOUSES AROUND YOU WILL BE PLACED. Ask yourself; Do I have enough of a buffer between me and my neighbors? If not, pick another lot, unless you are looking for close neighbors, of course.)
Don't believe me? Here you go:
So, the Hubster and I decided that something needed to be done. If we were different sorts of people we may have made a big deal of our new lack of privacy, but instead we went into problem solving mode. At first we discussed fences, but realized that although they would be a good, quick solution, they would not provide privacy for the boys' upstairs bedroom windows. So, we quickly switched directions and started researching trees. We needed fast-growing trees, that would grow 12+ feet and that would be easy to maintain as neither of us are what you would call gardeners.
My researching spanned at least six weeks (not kidding) and I have to say that I know more about privacy screening trees for Zone 5 (that is our plant hardiness zone) than I ever wanted to know. I can now actually decipher the differences between quite a few arborvitaes and spruces. I know all about hemlocks which, by the way, was our first choice. Unfortunately the local nurseries were all out until spring and there was NO WAY I could deal with no privacy until then.
After all of this, I actually find myself driving down the street trying to figure out what other people have in their lawns and then come home and research to see if those trees would be a better option. I even took a picture of a tree while driving (I know, not safe!) and brought it to one of my local nurseries to find out what it was. (A viburnum seiboldii if you are wondering.)
We ended up with eight trees. Yes, it was WAYYYY more money than we wanted to spend. Luckily the nursery was having a sale and gave us some awesome deals. Before this adventure I never knew that nurseries had sales of up to 70% off in the fall. Makes sense I guess, I just never really thought about it because I didn't need to know. (AHHH the good old days). In the end, we actually saved almost one and a half times what we spent. Crazy, huh?
We paid the $55 extra to get them delivered and this is how the two Techny Arborvitaes, four Dark Green American Arborvitaes, and two Norwegian Spruces were left...along with dirt and mulch.
Oh, we also had DigSafe come out and mark out our underground wires just to be safe. We didn't want to dig a huge hole by hand only to hit electrical wires. Dangerous and a waste of time. This is a free service in Maine and the surrounding states. I am not sure if they have it in other states, but it is always good to be safe and take the extra precautions.
Now, it is important to know that I had a baby about four weeks before the trees were delivered, so I was supposed to be doing things like digging giant holes. This meant that Hubs got stuck doing all the manual labor. (Poor Guy) We were supposed to get some help from our "Dirt Guy," but he must have been too busy to fit us in, sooo we were on our own.
Here are some of the lovely holes:
What, are you not supposed to dig holes for trees with snow shovels and lacrosse sticks?
All I can say is, I love this man. He worked for over twelve hours straight putting these
Now we have some more privacy. It isn't ideal, yet, but we hope that when the trees grow a little we will have just as much privacy as we did before they sold the lot next door. If not, well we put some equity in the house for when we sell, right?