Lovely Tree! Now What?

My Eastern Redbud was supposed to be delivered on the 29th, but it came early!

My New Eastern Redbud

It’s much bigger than I thought, which is good! I thought it was only 6 feet tall, but it’s actually around 10 feet. It’s the first thing you see when you walk into the backyard.

The Backyard

Well, it may not be the first thing you see…

The Backyard

My eye goes straight to the neighbor’s oddly shaped trees and overgrown garden. So while I absolutely love my new tree, I don’t exactly love the view surrrounding it.

Something more like this, perhaps?

Idea for the Backyard (?)

Suggestions are welcome. The only things I have now are the tree, a compact burning bush behind it (in the corner), and weeds.

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  • Jasi
    August 15, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    It might not be your style, but Design on a Dime (HGTV junkie here) just had a backyard with a chain link fence. They tied a run of bamboo fencing to it. It might work for you if you stain the bamboo darker to mask your neighbor’s crazy hedgery.

  • Sarah
    August 15, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    I too want to suggest maybe changing up the fence a bit. I think it might be the bigger distraction. A nice wood fence would really help draw your eye towards the landscaped corner you have planned.
    I love your sketches by the way… it makes me want to revamp my yard, but since we are only renting I can’t justify spending the money yet!

  • Making it Lovely
    August 15, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    I was actually considering these hedge link fence inserts for the little section that faces the alley. They’re probably cheesy, but I think they could be a good green background that will just fade away behind some shrubs. Or colorful fence weave? Alternating brown and white diagonals could be pretty cool! I actually don’t mind chain link fences. Plus tall wood fences are nice, but we can’t afford it right now.

  • molly
    August 15, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    Just curious… is that bench replacing the egg chair in your last post? The landscaping looks similar…. ;-)

  • Making it Lovely
    August 15, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    No, this is the opposite side of the yard. This corner will actually be my view while sitting in the egg chair.

  • molly
    August 15, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    phew… didn’t want to see the egg chair go away.

  • Heidi
    August 15, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    Oh, i’m so jealous of your yard… This is my backyard. Except picture the dirt dried out, and a plethora of random weeds growing. We wanted to till it up and plant this weekend, but… it’s 104 degrees in Portland today. Hmm, no thanks.

  • Angela
    August 15, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    ohh, it’ll look so pretty in the spring with the flowers!! :)

  • Amy Schlotthauer
    August 15, 2008 at 3:53 pm

    It is looking good! Incidently, I saw your library in the new issue of Home magazine and that too looks FANTASTIC!

  • stephanie
    August 15, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    Something’s gotta change with fence. A chain link fence means the yard will never look the way you want it to.

  • Paula Roegge
    August 15, 2008 at 10:00 pm

    What about growing vines on the fence? A morning glory, or a wisteria if it will grow where you are. Or even just a vine that doesn’t flower would look nice too.

    I actually don’t mind your neighbor’s yard tho, but then I like lots of greenery and shady places…and it looks like they have a nice garden, too, with flowers,e tc.

    Heidi-good luck with the yard-I know what you mean about the temp (I am in Kansas). But I LOVE your fence!

  • Erin
    August 16, 2008 at 12:38 am

    Don’t you just love an early delivery? :)

    I have fence inserts on one side of my yard (not as nice as the green, but…) and they look terrible. I bet the green would look pretty good from far away. Now I’m starting to think about Jasi’s idea of bamboo runners to cover it up. I think that would look sharp, especially since we’re planning to sell next summer.

  • Jason
    August 16, 2008 at 7:56 am

    Your tree is lovely. We ran into similar situations when rehabbing our back yard. Everytime I went into the yard I felt like I was in a fishbowl. We installed a wooden privacy fence. Now….I have morning glory growing on my fence and we even installed a wall-mount water feature. Plus…When the neighbors mow their lawn, thier weeds no longer blow over into my lawn to start growing! I’m not a fan of chain link and wooden fences are very affordable. My two Chihuahua’s also love the fence as the neighbors have a more aggressive dog.

  • teaorwine
    August 16, 2008 at 9:22 am

    The burning bush will feature gorgeous fall color eventually. Stop shearing it as this plant looks best left to mature naturally. Just my thoughts.

  • Veronica
    August 16, 2008 at 10:57 am

    You might want to be careful with the placement of your tree in relation to the power lines.

    Here in Austin they really mutilate anything that comes too close to a line.

  • becky
    August 16, 2008 at 1:39 pm

    I LOVE redbuds! They work really well with dogwoods – they bloom at the same time and I always loved seeing the pink red bud flowers contrasted with the white dogwood petals. TJ did a great job with this combo at Monticello. Another tree that has year round interest due to its sculptural form and smooth gray bark is a Serviceberry. I’m not sure how well they do where you live, but next time you are at an arboretum or botanical garden, look for this tree.

  • montse
    August 16, 2008 at 3:16 pm

    It looks really good! I would add a wooden fence, not green as you suggested, as I think the problem is that from a distance the green of you neighbours garden “mixes” with yours (I don’t know if I can explin it correctly, sorry about my english).

  • christina
    August 17, 2008 at 4:26 am

    hiya. In the UK, ppl are privacy freaks, so this solution is popular, cheap, and easy; http://www.homebase.co.uk/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=20001&partNumber=805955&c_3=3%7Ccat_10482895%7CFencing%7C10482912&c_2=2%7Ccat_10308073%7CGates+and+fencing%7C10482895&c_1=1%7Ccategory_root%7CGardening%7C10308073

    It’s tall, like 3 mtrs, or you can trim it to size if you prefer, and it looks fantastic. It also adds privacy, and there’s not al the work that would go with adding chain link inserts. you have posts and tie it to that or tie it to chain link fence. I’m sure they must do an equivalent in the States, but over here it is SO much cheaper than fencing. Hope this helps.

    BTW, tree looks fantastic. Really lovely. Christina

  • Fifi Flowers
    August 17, 2008 at 7:13 pm

    I like the drawing… can’t wait to see it put together!

  • Tracey
    August 18, 2008 at 12:15 pm

    I like all of the fence ideas, if you only see the neighbor’s yard. FYI- your tree will grow and cast more shade, so plant shade loving plants. Learn from my mistake, and you will not have to move everything in a few years!!

  • Betsy
    August 18, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    Love the tree! My husband got me one for my birthday, earlier in the summer. I love, love, love this tree. Yours is spectacular. I’m with growing something live on the fence. The inserts are cheesy unless you’re careful. Honeysuckle is a fast grower and attracts hummingbirds and butterflies. Bittersweet would give you fall color and a gnarly winter remain.

  • rachel
    August 18, 2008 at 2:35 pm

    I would love a redbud too… not sure if that particular kind grows down here in Texas, but I know I’ve seen redbuds here.
    I think your garden is lovely. And I’m sorry I don’t have any suggestions for plants – being in a totally different zone I have no ideas! But I think the fence inserts would work fine and help you blend the neighbor’s yard away. Incidentally, with them your neighbor’s yard may look like the untamed wilderness just beyond your homestead….

  • Bethany
    August 19, 2008 at 10:56 am

    We have a hedge of peonies between our yard and our neighbors (neither of which are fenced). In the spring and early summer they bloom with awesome pink “fluffy” flowers. The rest of the year, they provide a thick “barrier” of sorts. They have really nice foliage too. Maybe try a row of peonies along the fence? I can picture them fitting in with your theme really well.

  • porter
    August 19, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    It’s going to be so beautiful when it blooms. One of my favorites.

  • katelynjane
    August 19, 2008 at 6:04 pm

    Wow, early delivery? That’s almost unheard of! (: Your yard looks great though, and I don’t mind the view of the neighbours house at all, it’s really lush!

  • Carolyn
    August 23, 2008 at 7:48 pm

    Love your blog and love your new tree. Totally second the willow fence suggested by Christina in the UK. I’ve used similar versions made of bamboo, sold at Smith & Hawken, but am sure other retailers must sell them too.

    Regarding companion plants: have you considered boxwood? They don’t have to look formal, and the bonus, they grow beautifully in your area and provide winter interest. Having an evergreen in the garden provides a nice backdrop (think canvas) for your other plants, and provides beautiful shape and structure to the winter and autumn garden. I lived in Evanston for eight years and found the Botantic Garden to be a fantastic resource when I was planting my own garden.

    Which type of hydrangea are you considering? My favorites include the climbers, the paniculatas and the oakleaf – all of which offer very attractive fall foliage. The bigleaf and smooth may look good when in bloom, but come autumn, they just drop their leaves and look sad. Those two varieties are a bit too one-dimensional for me, but that’s just my opinion. Just remember to mulch properly; most hydrangeas require moist soil and cool roots – this can often be a recipe for disaster in Chicagoland.

    Your plans look great. Keep up the great work. Make sure you choose plants that are appropriate for the conditions you have at your site and you won’t go wrong. Feel free to contact via email if you have specific questions.

  • Jan
    August 24, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    Congratulations on your spread in Home magazine. That is very exiting. You’re library is great. Did you buy your Eastern Redbud from a local nursery?

  • please sir
    August 24, 2008 at 9:53 pm

    The tree looks great – love your sketch too!

  • valerie
    August 27, 2008 at 9:15 pm

    redbuds are gorgeous in spring. they are all over my neighborhood… i’ve planted 2 in the last year, but they’re only a few feet tall. i think your garden is going to be amazing.

  • Corrie
    September 5, 2008 at 9:25 pm

    Hello! I like the idea of adding a “living fence” just inside of your chain link fence- that way the chain link still serves to delineate your property, while greenery would give you some privacy and hide the fence. Maybe arborvitae, or a hedge of some kind? Something not too wide so it doesn’t take up too much of your yard. I’ve seen hedges next to chain link and it seems to work.

    I also like the idea of lining the chain link with climbing roses.


  • andrea
    September 9, 2008 at 6:12 pm

    I love landscaping… only for people I like, but you qualify :)

    If you go to the center of your pic between the bench and the tree where the tallest pink jobby of flowers is, I would place a tallish structure there instead of just the bench. Anything with some height. Pergola and bench, mini gazeebo thingy, my favorite is a covered lounge but that is just my style, and cover it with grid lattice and a vine covering. The rest of the trees in your neighbors yard will become a visual frame for that. Then consider this, (which is the cheapest yet still stylin’ thing I have seen done so far), I don’t know what your shipping pallets look like down there but up here they resemble a section of fence. The wood is obviously not a great grade, but if you stain it dark it doesn’t matter. You basically need to purchase the posts and then attach the pallets (which should be free) between them. Some of them are actually decent looking, as long as you are careful where you get them from.

    Then I second the motion of getting a honeysuckle or bittersweet vine. Or clematis. They all grow relatively quickly, honeysuckle is my favorite because of the bees and butterflies which we could all use more of. You can grow a few different ones for a different look each season. Large bushes can get pretty expensive too so a few vines can go a long way. If you use lattice (or even a horizontal “bar” effect which would look more modern, I am not sure what you want as the end result as far as feel,) on the structure then eventually repeat a similar idea on the building to the left. This will create the “room” feeling and if you are really adventurous you could create a sort of “living room” look there eventually. I love the look of outdoor fireplaces and you can find some fabulous DIY ideas online and great stuff at salvadge yards. One of my favorites uses stone pavers but I can’t remember what magazine I saw it in. Just some ideas. Make sure you post after photos whatever you decide on!

    Have fun with it!

  • Fence
    October 20, 2008 at 8:25 am

    I would have to agree with Jasi and Sarah, I think a wooden trellis fence would look great in your garden. You could have vines and other crawling plants growing up this type of garden fencing to make it have less of a dramatic impact on your garden. To make your garden even more attractive you could add something like decking or a garden structure e.g. an archway or pergola.

  • Making it Lovely | Transforming the so-so. » Blog Archive » Chain Link Cover-up?
    April 8, 2009 at 12:36 am

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