Landscaping Ideas For a Narrow Backyard Area


(Utah)

Hello,

I need some landscaping ideas for a narrow backyard area.

I came across your website the other day and love what I have seen. I have a narrow area in my backyard that comes together in a L shape. There is about 40 feet length on each side and 3 and a half feet width. The area surrounds our backyard fence and goes around a basketball court.

Seven Mulberry trees were planted around the area when we moved in. After a few years, these trees sadly had to be pulled out due to their large nature and pressure against the fence in such a narrow backyard area. I need some landscaping ideas for some screening but something that still flows together that would be stunning. My husband does not want to disturb the cement work around the basketball court, yet I would like something functional and lovely.

Any suggestions? Where are you located? Thanks for your help. This has been a frustration ever since all our trees were hauled off. Any suggestions would be welcomed. The backyard area is sunny.

ANSWER

Thanks for the compliments on my website. You have a narrow backyard area, so your choices are limited. If not, let me know. Here are some thoughts:
1. You could use Arborvitae. These are not my favorite. They would, however, create an evergreen hedge. There are some very narrow ones that get quite tall.
2. You could use shade trees that don't get too large and have a very high canopy. That way, when they get large, they will not encroach upon the basketball court at "people height", but much higher.
3. You could use some very tall shrubs, say about 10 feet tall. You'd have to go with deciduous ones as the evergreen shrubs would take forever to get that tall, unless you want to spend a fortune!

Here is another landscaping idea. It's actually one I am thinking of for my own house where I have a very narrow space. Do a combination of shrubs and trees. In other words, perhaps 5 shrubs, then a tree, repeat. I will probably use Viburnum for the shrubs. Many Viburnum take the shade but others will grow in sun too.

I am going to use Birch trees for the trees which actually would work great for you. They are rather slender on the bottom and get wider on the top. I don't know where you live. White Birch will only grow in more northern climate, but River Birch is more versatile.

Let me know if you think any of these ideas will work for you!

Susan

RESPONSE

Thanks for the response. I live in Utah. I love your website, it's very inspiring. I think I live between zones 4 and 5? I love the idea of shrubs and narrow trees. When I went to a local nursery, a worker suggested rows and rows of narrow tall bushes... I believe they were the Arborvitae. I love the break up with trees or with shrubs in between. I couldn't picture a fence made up of just shrubs. I love your ideas.

Would you go with a birch or the tall shrubs in such a narrow area. Also, would birch be your first pick? Thanks for your help. I am loving the slashed prices with it being the end of season and would like to add some foliage to my yard. One more thing....would you place mulch, decorative bark, or stone, etc. surrounding this area? Thanks again. Kristy

ANSWER

As mentioned, I would use a combination of the ornamental trees (Birch) and shrubs. Do a group of shrubs, then a tree, then another groups of shrubs. Draw it on paper using close to mature width of the shrubs and trees. The trees are less important since the height will be towards the top.

I would definitely go with White Birch or River Birch,
whichever bark you like better.

You can also consider this shrub. It's hard to find a variety that gets tall and stays narrow, but this one will work if 5' to 7' will be tall enough for you between the trees.

Viburnum dentatum 'Christom (Blue Muffin®)'

Type Shrub, woody plant
Hardy range 3A to 8B
Height 5' to 7' / 1.60m to 2.20m
Spread 36" to 5' / 90cm to 1.60m
Growth rate Fast
Form Rounded and upright or erect
Exposure Full shade to full sun
Persistence Deciduous

Use hardwood shredded bark mulch. It's much more attractive and natural looking in the landscape than bark or stone.


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"Susan,  what a pleasure it was to work with you.  You made me feel like I was your only client - responding late at night and always so quickly!  Your design is amazing and we only hope we can do justice to it when we plant.  You have such fantastic ideas and you are so open to suggestions and changes.  Loved working with you - now if you could only come to Canada and plant it!!!"
Helen, Ontario-Canada 

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