We want our backyard to be completely private. All of our neighbors also have sizable yards, so no houses are too close, which is nice, but we still love to not even see a roof top.
We started with building a new fence along the back. We then got decided that bamboo would be a great solution to not only eventually block the fence, but also grow quickly and create a nice height privacy screen as well. We also like the sound bamboo makes when the wind blows.
Many people shy away from bamboo, but we had it our other house and if planted correctly, it works really nice as a privacy screen. The trick is to plant it correctly with the proper barrier, and also know how to care for it in the future to keep it under control.
We already were amending soil throughout the yard with a some heavy equipment, so it was an opportune time to also dig the holes for the barriers we would be putting in. If you are planting bamboo amending the soil is a key component of the process. Bamboo can spread quite easily, so you need to contain is somehow in your own yard. We dug some very large holes and buried a thick 60-mil polypropylene on three sides to accomplish this. We also put sand in the front of the barrier, so if any rhizomes try to come out there we could easy cut them off at the roots, with a special tool. We will monitor this area for escaping shoots during the peak growing season.
We are fortunate to have many places to select bamboo from in our area. The Bamboo Garden, is one of our favorite spots. They have an excellent selection.
We decided upon two running varieties. We have a sunny area and a more shaded area. For the sunny area we picked Phyllostachys aurea ‘Koi’, as we like the interesting color variations, and the very unique looking canes. This bamboo will give our screen a splash of color. The culms are yellow with a green stripe in the sulcus groove. The yellow parts of the culm are sometimes tinted with a rose highlight in bright sun.
For the more shady area we picked Chinese Walking Stick. Its unique shape is used to make canes and walking sticks. Hence giving it the name ‘Chinese Walking Stick’.
Bamboo grows very quickly, so it’s very gratifying. You need to ensure it gets plenty of water when its first put in while it gets established. We planted it last September, so it had our nice wet winter in Oregon to help with that aspect. Since spring we go out every day and count the new shoots coming up. Now we watch them as they sometimes grow inches in a day. It’s quite fun to witness.
Within probably two years we will have the fence completely covered. You can see in not even a year, how it’s really filled out the fence line since it was planted.