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Fenced Backyard Landscape

The fenced backyard landscape suggestion is for Sarah from Virginia. She wrote in asking for different plant selections for this area. She had already planted six good size Arborvitae. Sarah sent us three pictures of good quality so we could get a visual. Here are her pictures, and some options to create a colorful landscape in her backyard.

Fenced Backyard With Small Bed In Foreground And Six Arborvitae Planted Along Fence

Herbee and I have designed quite a few variations for clients in the past along an entire fence. Sarah, we hope this will put you in the right direction to accomplish the look you want.

The first picture is of a section of Sarah's backyard. You can see where she planted the six Arborvitae trees. I am not sure how long the fence runs, but here are some suggestions to put along the backdrop.

From what I can see, the trees already planted seem to be pretty much centered. Sarah wants a lot of color, and this can be done by using evergreen shrubs.

Being in somewhat in a mild climate, Sarah has many options to choose from. Stagger Lemon Thread Cypress on either side of the Arborvitaes. The Lemon Thread is a variegated yellow and green needle like evergreen. That would be a great contrast in color with the six trees planted.

Another idea along the fence is to put some larger Loropetalum. You can even incorporate the Loropetalum with the Lemon Thread.

Herbee Greenthumb

Here is a suggestion from Herbee if you are using three different trees: Your Arborvitaes are planted in a straight row. Staggering the rest of the shrubs along the fence gives you a couple different focal points. You can also consider some larger Holly trees such as a Robin or Burford.

Each are evergreen and will give you height to compliment your Arborvitaes. Your basic rule here is to have the tallest trees and shrubs along the fence. From there you can work with smaller shrubs according to their size.

Backyard Potential Landscape Along Fence
Looking Out Sarah's Deck To Fence Area

What about that existing bed? A thought is to redefine the borders, and maybe change it's shape. We recommend using a landscapers chalk or even a garden hose. Outline how you want your bed to look. We've used a snake pattern many times to give the bed a different look. Of course you have the option of outlining this bed straight across. The property looks pretty level, so you should not have water issues.


In the pictures above, you can see how Sarah's fence goes along the back of her yard, and continues around her backyard. Here are some options for continuing the fenced backyard landscape.

You can continue with the Lemon Thread and Loropetalum or larger shrubs all the way around the entire fence. This will give you a uniformed look on your backdrop.

You can also think about adding a few different larger plants to give along the sides of the fence a different look. You will be creating some different colors and textures. Sarah, once you have decided on your backdrop of your fence, now you can incorporate smaller shrubs throughout the bed. Here are some suggestions for you.

Make sure know each plant's mature size so you can space them properly as you plan. Bring in color with smaller plants that compliment the trees and shrubs you plant along your backdrop.

You mentioned you love a Japanese Maple. Consider planting a dwarf weeping Japanese Maple as a center focal point in front of your Arborvitae. Around the Maple and in front of your backdrop plants, add some Mop Cypress, Ruby Chinese Pizzazz, or even some Sea Green Junipers. The Sea Green has bright green needle like leaves that will offset the other solid colored evergreens.

Here are some other options for you.

  1. Consider incorporating a few deciduous shrubs like flowering Abelia, Spirea, or evening a Burning Bush. The Burning bush turns bright red in the fall and adds a lot of color. Make sure when you plan the bed, you don't have too many deciduous plants near each other. This will give you dead space during the cooler months.

  2. How about adding a few Pieris Japonicas for your part of your winter months? They are beautiful Japanese shrubs that have pink or white draping flowers that bloom before springtime. They will do well in zones five through eight.

  3. You mention you like Liriope, use the solid or variegated as your border in this defined area. If you don't want to use Liriope as a border, plant a small circle or triangle of Liriope in two or three places within and along the bed. You can use decorative rocks, stones, or brick as a border. If you like a more soft natural look, mulch right up to the defined edge of the bed.

  4. Add some perennial flowers that compliment all the colors you incorporate as the backdrop and smaller shrubs. If you want to take it a step further, you can add a few decorative pots with annuals in the bed.

  5. Consider put a series of three decorative rocks in a few places. A Lemon Drop Jasmine looks great draped over the rocks.

  6. Consider a few outdoor features such as a bird bath, a few bird feeders, or small statues.

Color schemes play an important role in your overall look of an area. You can pick out three or four colors and use them for the entire bed, or you can have a variety of different colors.

Having designed for many clients, here are some final tips and summary for you.

  1. Plan out your entire bed first.

  2. Prep the area you will be planting, removing any grass or weeds. We recommend giving the grass and weed killer five to seven days to work. Till, rake the area and level out.

  3. Define your beds with landscaper chalk or a garden hose. Decide whether you want a snake pattern or straight lines.

  4. You have an existing bed in front of the bed your are planning. Do you want it to connect, or do you want grass in between the two beds? We have done it both ways for clients. Just remember, if you have grass in between, give yourself enough space to mow.

  5. When you plant your defined bed, space properly and add some organic mushroom compost to your soil. This is a great organic fertilizer that will last up to one year.

  6. Once your plants are in the ground, do mulch, pine straw, or small decorative stones throughout the bed. This will give your bed a finished look.

Herbee and I have given you different options. Your main goal when creating these beds is to incorporate the colors and textures you like. We hope these suggestions will help you create a fenced backyard landscape you enjoy. If you need anything more, let us know. We would love to see how you progress with this landscape project, and of course, pictures when you are done.

Thank you again Sarah for asking your question and the best of luck to you.

More Information To Help You Pick Your Plants And Features.

Lots Of Evergreen Plants For Your Fenced Backyard Landscape --- Deciduous Plants, Too

Consider Some Flowers --- Accent With Outdoor Features



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