Finally, after nearly seven long years the adjacent property owner has moved. It has been a huge relief and we are very relieved to have new neighbors next door. What do they have to do with the wisteria arbor? I will explain.
Our houses are about 100 feet apart, but there was no privacy and division between the houses. Not a good thing. I have endeavored almost from the first day we moved here to provide a block from this property.
I looked long and hard to find some before pictures but was unsuccessful so I will talk you through the issues. Due to the set up of the adjacent house, their parking area is in their backyard, straight out from my deck. I wanted an evergreen block and a structural block as well. I found some junipers (thanks Barry for taking me to the fields to handpick the ones I wanted) that have worked well. The junipers are the straight and tall evergreens behind the arbor. You can just see the top 5-6 feet of them. They are slowly thickening up here. I am very impressed with this type of juniper. It has done well considering all of the trees are planted in amongst mature oak tree roots and under a large canopy of oak leaves. I am told this is a 'Columnar' juniper. Mr. Fix-it planted three, while I planted the other three. It was not an easy job digging the huge holes under oaks, but ever so worth it. The junipers themselves were 10-11 feet tall with 27" rootballs. VERY heavy and large. We had to roll the trees into the holes. Even at that, help was needed in the form of my oldest son Brian, and his friend Jesse.
I always wanted an arbor and wasn't sure where I would put it. I decided on this area between the two houses because it would provide privacy and I could make it much higher than a standard privacy fence. It would also provide a bit of a physical as well as visual barrier, the structural block I was seeking.
I came up with a workable design I thought would be functional enough to hold vines like wisteria. I purchased the wood (5-6x6x12, 8-2x6x10, several 2x4s, 4-4x8) privacy lattice panels, hunter green oil stain and miscellaneous hardware, then began building. I notched all joints to make the arbor structurally stronger. Mr. Fix-it rented a power auger and dug the post holes and together we 'planted' them. I did the rest. It took a while but I was SO happy when it was done!
Initially I left the lattice panels white and chose to add various accouterments to decorate the glaring white. After a few years the glaring white turned a dirty black with dirt and mildew forming on both sides of the arbor. Since I now have new neighbors, I decided to make a few changes to the arbor. I washed the dirt off and used Fusion plastic spray paint to paint the lattice panels green. I think the new color makes the arbor blend in better with the landscape, but Mr. Fix-it liked it better white. I just couldn't see washing that big thing (35 feet long by about 9 feet tall) every few years. I hope the hunter green color will not show the inevitable dirt. I painted both sides even though I don't ever see the other side of the arbor.
I did have a huge woodpile here next to the chain link, then the junipers then the arbor. I removed the wood pile and planted a few silverberries and four white Crepe Myrtles. The buffer of the shrubs and the arbor should provide both a noise, physical and visual barrier should I ever get such neighbors again. I am truly enjoying my new neighbors. I have lived all over the world in several subdivisions and apartments and never had a problem with neighbors before, but I do realize all people are different and respect that. That is why in my own little way, I chose to build the barrier and block with the arbor in order to provide me my freedom to do my thing.
So that is the story of my wisteria arbor. There may have been better methods of handling this situation (a 20 foot tall electrified concrete wall comes to mind), but I did try to be practical in an extremely difficult situation.
I guess I should talk about the wisteria. I am not a fan of wisteria due to its tendency to take over. This arbor is on the north side of three oak trees. The arbor does get some morning and afternoon sun, but is mainly shaded. I planted a Chinese wisteria on each end of the arbor, and the Dropmore honeysuckle in the middle of the arbor. I am hopeful that someday the two wisterias will meet in the middle and the honeysuckle will hold its own amongst them. So far the honeysuckle is winning and is reaching toward some low hanging oak tree branches. That will have to be rectified soon. The wisterias provide even more height and are doing OK. Last year's freeze almost killed them both. Neither wisteria has ever bloomed and I don't expect them to since they are in shade. That is OK, the foliage is fine with me, especially since it is so full and tends to add height to the arbor. The picture above shows the wisteria on the east side of the arbor. It is tied up all neat and tidy-for now.
in the garden....