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Noisy or nosy? Either way, screening can help!

One of the most depressing aspects of many new housing developments is the strange feeling you get that someone has planted an enormous meadow full of houses. Wherever you look, they're there: houses to the left of you, houses to the right of you, houses all around you. Sometimes you can see the houses on the street beyond the street... beyond the street... where your house stands.

Compare that with an "established" neighborhood. Even where houses have been built with the same density, there isn't that feeling of exposure, that lack of privacy that is so common in newly constructed developments. Why? In all probability, in the mature neighborhoods, trees and shrubs have grown up to create a natural separation between the properties. There's a sense of seclusion even when other homes are quite close by.

And you might notice something else about established neighborhoods: they're often not so noisy.

What can you do if you want to enjoy the benefits found in mature neighborhoods, but you don't feel like waiting another ten or fifteen years? Or what if you live on a larger piece of land and you sometimes feel as if you're in the middle of a windswept film set for "Little House on the Prairie"?

The answer is... screening.

Creating some form of screening on your land can be a fun project and a very practical one, too. You can choose some form of fencing or trellis, or you can plant some fast-growing shrubs or a hedge. Or – probably the best solution – a mixture of both man-made screening and living plants.

It's a fact that a screen of fencing, shrubs and trees reduces noise by absorbing it and diverting it up and away from you. This is an important consideration if you live near a busy highway or your land backs up to a school playground. Plants dissipate sound waves and can reduce noise levels by up to 60%, according to various expert sources.

There's noisy, and then there's nosy.

Most likely you'd rather the neighbors couldn't watch your every move so various types of screening can add to your sense of seclusion. You want your privacy without having to be rude about not wanting to talk with the next-door neighbors while you're in the hot tub or having a drink and relaxing. Right? 

Screening can also help to break up different areas of your landscape to create interest and a degree of separation. For example, you could use screening to separate a lawn where the kids are kicking around a soccer ball from that little herb garden that will thrive better without the threat of ball bombardment.

For taller more tree size screening look to such plants as Cryptomeria an interesting evergreen tree. Thuja Green Giants are always a good choice for screening hedge plants. But, if you like the Green Giant look, but can't handle the height or width, consider the smaller growing lookalike Steeplechase Arborvitae.

What should you plant? Think of dense, leafy shrubs for maximum screening from the noisy and the nosy. But don't forget to add some plants that add to the beauty of your screening. One idea could be some Butterfly Bushes with their very attractive long purple blossoms, or the golden bark on the Yellow Twig Dogwood.

A quick idea starter for other fast growing trees and shrubs you might want to consider: Siberian Elm, California Privet, Rosa Rugosa and Caragana Siberian Peashrub.

Planting a tree or shrub screen hedge is the perfect way to create privacy in your living space. For more privacy ideas, check out our article with 10 ideas to creating immediate privacy.