Edibles with Ease: When to Get Growing from Seeds or from Starts? Read more »
In my side yard which is mostly shade, I have tried a variety of perennials that thrive in a woodland setting. Read more »
Make your garden even more welcoming to birds and butterflies: turn it into a certified wildlife habitat. Read more »
The StaySharp™ Max Reel Mower combines patent-pending technology with superior ergonomics to deliver best-in-class cutting perf... Read more »
Keep your lawn and your shoes clean and free of clippings by adding our innovative, sturdy Grass Catcher to your StaySharp™ Ree... Read more »
The Salsa Rain Barrel System makes it easy to collect up to 58 gallons of water for your garden and lawn. Our rain barrel is ma... Read more »
Make the most of National Craft Month by preparing some craft kits for your children - let them explore color, texture and dif... Read more »
This is the second how-to in a series focused on getting the most out of your basic paper punches. Read more »
Spring brings in the most wonderful colors and here is a fun way to add a touch of color to your gifts! Read more »
Our ProCision™ Rotary Bypass Trimmer features a unique dual-rail system that stabilizes the rotary blade, eliminating wiggle fo... Read more »
Perfect for a wide range of crafting and mixed media tasks, our Amplify® Mixed Media Shears sense blade separation and force th... Read more »
Add distinctive style to craft projects of all kinds with a Squeeze Punch that makes every embellishment up to 2X easier to pun... Read more »
My idea is to show everyone that they can make something cute and fashionable without spending a lot of money. Read more »
Embellishing a plain shirt using a reverse appliqué technique is easy - and your kids will love their personalized outfit! Read more »
This year, it seems like spring is way overdue at our house. Read more »
Perfect for tight, precise cuts, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Fabric Shears sense blade separation and force the blades back togethe... Read more »
Perfect for a wide range of sewing and quilting tasks, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Fabric Shears sense blade separation and force t... Read more »
Perfect for users with larger hands or anyone who needs to make long cuts through multiple layers, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Fabr... Read more »
I always look forward to school being out for the summer (more so than my children, probably!) and the change of pace means we... Read more »
This fun project is a great way to send a little love note to your child. These lunchbox notes can be slipped into a backpack... Read more »
Here is a fun craft for St. Patrick’s Day that is not only adorable, it makes kids stop and think about how lucky they are. Read more »
Children love our Blunt-tip Kids Scissors for the handle that’s shiny, bright and smooth, not “sticky” or “bumpy.” Teachers and... Read more »
Our Big Kids Scissors take the basic design of our teacher-recommended Kids Scissors and enlarge them for kids that are a littl... Read more »
Our Student Scissors are larger than our Kids Scissors but smaller than adult scissors, perfect for those older children who ar... Read more »
Introduced to the world as a quality fabric scissors, the Original Orange-Handled Scissors redefined the standard for cutting p... Read more »
The first time you try our PowerGear® Super Pruner/Lopper, you’ll be amazed — but it’s not magic, it’s gears. Our patented gear... Read more »
Our Comfort Loop Rotary Cutter with a 45 mm blade makes cutting a wide variety of quilting materials comfortable and easy. A cu... Read more »
Don't miss your chance to win a complete prize pack valued at nearly $200!
Community gardens aren’t just allotments — they’re urban farms, great places to share gardening skills and crops.
Keep all of your tools performing at their best.
As a designer, this is a cry for help that I hear over and over again. It seems no matter the size of someone’s property, from small urban courtyards to sprawling multi-acre estates, most everyone has some sort of privacy issue, something they’d love to block from their view.For those lucky enough to live on larger properties, this problem can usually be solved by carefully placing a large, beautiful specimen tree. However, for those of us who live in residential or urban areas, this problem can be much more challenging.
One reason is that many newer developments are built with the emphasis on large homes with maximum indoor living space, with little (or no) thought given to outdoor living spaces. Quite often, the result is two story homes built so closely together that you feel like you’re living in a fishbowl. The garden spaces in dense, residential areas are typically square or rectangular in shape, consisting of a lawn surrounded by a skinny border that runs the perimeter of the fence. If this describes your garden, then using trees to create a privacy screen may be the best solution, as the height they provide not only blocks views from neighboring upstairs windows but can help create the feeling of a private oasis within a sea of houses.
Identifying trees that will work in these skinny spaces, however, can be challenging, as the narrow dimensions (not to mention home owners association rules) often restrict how close to the property line trees may be planted. Reviewing a list of guidelines before you go tree shopping will ensure you choose trees that are right for your situation.
Here are some things to consider when choosing a tree for your narrow planting space:1. Look for trees with columnar shapes and with a mature width of 6 to 12 feet. Trees with a growth habit that is more narrow than wide can be planted closer to the fence line without infringing on your neighbor’s garden or overwhelming your own. While it’s true that you can keep larger trees pruned to a smaller size and shape, who needs to work that hard? This can quickly become a tedious chore made even more difficult by the need to access the tree from your neighbor’s property.
2. Is year round screening important? If so, your choices will be limited to evergreen species. While an all-evergreen screen will result in more privacy, consider including a few deciduous trees (those that lose their leaves in cold weather) in your garden for multi-season interest. Even though these trees will be dormant in the winter, you’ll be able to appreciate their other qualities such as spectacular fall color, interesting bark and structural beauty. Examples might include the beautiful, peeling bark of the Himalayan Birch (Betula jacquemontii), the vibrant fall foliage of Japanese Maples or the subtle colors and patterns of a Crape Myrtle tree’s bark.
3. Another option is to think beyond trees and consider shrubs that can be pruned into a tree shape. The majority of trees grow 25 to 40 feet tall, which can be a problem as too many tall trees can quickly overwhelm a smaller garden. There are many shrubs that can actually be purchased and/or trained as small trees, such as: Mock Orange (Pittosporum ‘Variegata’), Christmas Berry (Photinia fraseri ‘Birmingham’) or Carolina Laurel Cherry (Prunus caroliniana ‘Compakta’).
So remember, just because you have a seemingly impossible space in which to create privacy, with a little research it can be done!