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Landscaping Buffers Offer Creative Solutions

If you're trying to screen your house from unsightly views or loud noises, consider a few strategically places trees and shrubs. With a little creativity you can solve common yard issues.

Landscaping To Screen Views
Landscaping contractors talk about the "bad view" being a major complaint with homeowners. If you have a neighbor who never mows the lawn or a loud commercial business nearby, you can understand the frustration. The perfect solution is to use large trees or shrubs to screen the view, because this solves the problem while enhancing your own yard.

Start by deciding where you can plant to achieve the best results. Ideally, look for an area with good soil and sun conditions that is not already planted. While moving plants is sometimes inevitable, it just adds to the home improvement list.

As you weigh the options, talk with a few landscaping contractors about possible solutions and costs. Look for a contractor who offers creativity—not just a straight row of cone shaped trees. A staggered row with a few different species, plus a flower bed or two, often looks more natural.

Landscaping With Evergreens
Evergreen trees, which keep their leaves year round, are ideal for blocking views because they provide constant screening. When screening a neighbor's patio, however, you might consider trees or shrubs that die back in the winter. If the patio is used outside of the typical summer months, however, evergreens are a safer bet.

Landscaping Trees and Sun
The sun conditions are important, because many evergreens require full sun to achieve maximum growth and health. Check with a local landscaper or nursery for tips on what grows in your area.

Tree Size
It is also important to look at how much space you want to cover and how much patience you have. The bigger the tree, the more expensive it is to purchase and plant (if you use a landscaping contractor). Many trees grow fairly quickly, however. A section of small trees that grows two feet a year can provide a nice hedge effect in three to five years.

DIY or Not?
If you're debating whether to do the landscaping yourself, think about the work load. Is the soil in good shape or does it need aerating, turning, and mixing with organic materials? Do you have the time and patience for this type of home improvement project?

Landscaping can provide wonderful screening, because it blocks views and improves the look of your yard. Weigh all the factors carefully before selecting the location, type of trees, and the person to plant them.

About The Author
Allison E. Beatty is an avid old house enthusiast who has been renovating houses and writing about them for more than 10 years. She contributes regularly to national newspaper, magazines and web sites.