En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
1 rating

Wednesday - August 15, 2012

From: Birmingham, AL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Privacy Screening
Title: Plants for a property line in Birmingham, AL
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am looking for a plant to help establish a property line. Our neighbor's landscaping/mowing company has a large turnover, and the new employees always get confused about where the property line is because our property line is so close to our neighbor's house. We are constantly running them off our property doing things like pruning our crepe myrtles and weedeating our bank on which we are struggling to get groundcover plants to grow. And usually they don't speak English so it's difficult for them to understand what we're trying to tell them. If we planted something along the property line from the street to the back of the yard, hopefully they will get the message, but we don't want it to be anything large like a hedge. Do you have any suggestions? We are in Birmingham, AL.

ANSWER:

We assume that you have already explored the possibility that your neighbor could contact their landscaper and insist that the property line be observed? The problem with having landscapers, of course, is that the property owners may be gone during the day and there is no one there to remind the crew. We tried to think of some plants that would discourage the workers from passing over, and thought particularly of thorny or spiky plants. However, even they would have to start small and could easily be weedeaten or mowed or just tramped on. Plus, as the plants grew in width, they would probably extend over the property line and become "fair game" for the Fierce Landscapers.

So, just off the top of our head, how about a non-plant solution? Our first (and probably least expensive) idea would be to drive stakes, available at any hardware store, into the boundary line, and groove the top of each stake. This groove will hold heavy surveyor's rope in place as you stretch it from stake to stake. This surveyor's rope is often a bright color, yellow or red. Stakes not too far apart with the rope hanging loosely between them should make it quite clear, "This far and no farther."

Another thought which might be a little more labor intensive, but certainly no more expensive would be to dig a trench, say 6" wide, with the far edge on the property line. You could then fill it with a brightly covered gravel, river rocks, anything that would facilitate drainage, but not prevent mowing. Perhaps, especially until the gardeners get the idea, you might still want to add to the trench the stakes and rope. Another possibility for this fix is low, lightweight trellis-type fencing, which might be wood, plastic or vines. They are often available in hardware and garden shops to mark boundaries of flower beds. They won't last forever, but they are attractive and make the point very clear.

We believe all of those solutions will be less expensive and labor-intensive than buying, planting and watering plants.

We next searched the Internet on "marking property boundaries" and found this site.

From Homesteading Today Creative Ways to Mark Property Lines

After awhile, you could propably plant some attractive plants well within your boundaries and the landscapers would be used to the location.

 

 

More Privacy Screening Questions

Hedge to cover chain link fence
September 04, 2010 - Hi, I would like to hide 250 feet of 6' tall chain link fence on a western facing, sloped, very rocky soiled back yard I had to use a jack hammer to dig the holes. Esthetically I would like to be abl...
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for cold resistant, hardy hedge plant in Jonathan, NC.
June 28, 2011 - I'm looking for a Full sun, cold resistant, hardy, non-invasive plant to be used for a property line hedge for North Carolina. Preferably NOT slow growing. What can you suggest?
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for shrubs for a screening barrier along a fence line in Austin, TX.
July 24, 2009 - Hi! I am new to Austin and I live in a town home community that backs up to an existing neighborhood. There is no screening on my fenceline, which is only about 30 feet from my back porch! I also ha...
view the full question and answer

Screen plants to replace non-native Chinese raintrees in Marble Falls, TX
February 15, 2010 - Five four year old Koelreuteria bipinnata (Chinese Rain) trees were mistakenly cut to the ground. They were planted fairly close together, perhaps ten feet apart. The purpose for them was to provide a...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting large Silverado Sage bushes from Mesa AZ
August 19, 2013 - We just bought a condo with three Silverado Sage, each one is 6-8 ft tall, trained to grow as "trees" with bare branches for the bottom 4 feet or so, and beautiful flowering branches on top. They ar...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center