By Erin Huffstetler | 04/29/2021 | 11 Comments
This post may contain affiliate links. View our disclosure.
Update: It’s now been two years since we planted our junipers and three years since we planted our hollies. Be sure to read through to the bottom of the post to see how big they’ve gotten.
Last week, we planted privacy trees in our yard. And I don’t think we’ve ever been happier to dig 47 holes in humid, 90 degree weather. That’s because all that digging marked the end of a project that we started 10 years ago.
When we bought our house, it had an ugly chain link fence around the backyard. We lived with it for a while; then, a decade ago, we finally ripped it out, and planted a row of Nellie R. Stevens Hollies down the left side of the yard, so people wouldn’t be able to see into our backyard from the street. Within a few years, the hollies grew into a dense, evergreen privacy screen, and this is how they look today (that’s our side yard in the foreground).
I absolutely love the way they divide our yard into a backyard and side yard. It’s like having multiple garden rooms.
Back when we planted our hollies, we decided to hold off on planting a privacy hedge along the back portion of our yard. That’s because we hoped to eventually buy the little cottage behind our house, and 18 months ago, we finally got to do just that. Phew, so glad that worked out!
As soon as we closed on the property, we ripped up the rest of the chain link fence …
and that first spring, we planted more Nellie R. Stevens Hollies to extend the row.
I really wanted to plant a privacy hedge around the rest of the yard, but there just wasn’t enough money in our budget to do that last year. So, we went back to playing the wait game.
Which really means I stalked my go-to source for trees, until they had a killer sale, and we had some craft show money we could earmark for this project.
Since I didn’t want to eat up our yard with a bunch of wide trees, I researched privacy trees extensively, before deciding to go with Spartan Junipers for the other two sides of our backyard. They grow 15-20 feet tall, but only get 4-5 feet wide. And like the Nellies, they’re evergreen, and don’t require any pruning. Better still, they’re fast growers, so we won’t have to wait long for them to form a privacy hedge around our yard.
That’s the cottage in the above photo. Since it sits at the back of our property, we decided to enclose it with privacy plantings. Once the hedge grows together, it’ll be the most private part of our yard.
And this is the current view from that porch. It’ll be amazing when the junipers form a dense Secret Garden-like wall. I plan to take up the grass, and replace it with lots of flowers and meandering paths.
Kind of like I did on the other side of the cottage.
Our new privacy hedge also runs down the entire right side of our yard. I’m looking forward to screening out all of our neighbors’ cars, sheds, etc.
I can’t wait until this is just one dense wall of green.
And remember those overgrown apricots that we removed back in April? Those “dwarfs” that were supposed to top out at eight feet, but had grown to be over 22 feet tall and counting, without ever producing so much as a single apricot?
My husband spent several days digging out their roots, and this is what that bed looks like now. So much neater.
I plan to plant a bunch of colorful perennials in front of our new hedge. In fact, I’ve already snagged some plants off the clearance rack at Lowes.
I’ll be sure to share updates as our privacy hedge grows in.
Curious How Much This Project Cost to Complete?
After taking advantage of a sale, we spent $1,093.94 (including tax). Doing the labor ourselves saved thousands.
Planting young trees saves a lot of money, but it does take longer for them to reach their full size. If you’re trying to decide whether the savings is worth the extra time, hopefully this update on how our privacy plantings are coming along will help you decide.
This is what our Spartan Junipers looked like right after planting.
This is what our Spartan Junipers looked like one year after planting.
And this is what they look like two years after planting. They’re currently around 5 feet tall.
Here’s what our Nellie R. Stevens hollies looked like when they were first planted.
Here they are one year later.
Here they are two years later.
And here’s what they look like three years later. They’re currently around 7 feet tall. Our prior experience is that they grow exponentially year three and beyond, so I can’t wait to see how much they grow this year.
Want to Explore More of My Garden?
You can take a tour of my garden here. It includes our front, side and backyard.
And if you’re wondering, FastGrowingTrees.com is my preferred source for trees. That’s not a paid endorsement, it’s just who I like to buy from. Since the trees come direct from the grower, I think they’re healthier than anything you can get from a local nursery or garden center. And you can’t beat the convenience of having trees delivered to your door. They run free shipping promotions all the time.