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Help me brainstorm this barrel idea.....

 
 
Reply Tue 1 May, 2012 11:37 am
I want to get some privacy from my neighbor's new home addition which hovers over my backyard. Mr. B and I have been thinking about this for about two years now and we haven't made any progress because all off the options are so expensive or would take years to give us any privacy.

To get some immediate height we'd need very tall planters -- at least 3' high. The planters I've seen in that size start at about $100 (small diameter) and go up to about $500 (large diameter).

So today I was poking around craigslist and came across a lot of barrels being sold as "burn barrels". These are metal 55 gallon drums, they stand about 3' tall. They're so cheap I could afford the 10-15 I need to span the distance I want to cover.

They're metal so I'm assuming I could paint them. Perhaps even affix things to the exterior or camouflage their original purpose, or disguise them in some way. But they might look okay on their own so that might not be a real problem.

I'm not sure they'd even work and I do worry a bit about their longevity in our damp climate.

I intend to plant them with bamboo.

What do you think?

Would it work?

Can you think of any other kind of tall, hollow, shaped thing that exists and doesn't cost a fortune that could be made to work better? (I have tried every possible Google combination that my brain could manufacture without really hitting on anything.)

Throw some ideas at me!
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 May, 2012 11:43 am
@boomerang,
What's wrong with a privacy fence? (Cedar resists rot)
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 May, 2012 11:43 am
@DrewDad,
I would need to be about 25 feet high.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Tue 1 May, 2012 11:46 am
Are there no arsonists for hire in your town?
roger
 
  2  
Reply Tue 1 May, 2012 11:47 am
@boomerang,
My first and only thought is, "She wouldn't really have something so ugly in her back yard!"
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 May, 2012 11:48 am
@boomerang,
most barrels used to contain stuff that would kill plants. oil, solvent, etc. you might ask him what kinda barrels they were...

mr vw uses bamboo as a screen. in the summer it gets 20+ feet high.

but it's invasive. it would be good in barrels, though, because then it could not spread through your yard...
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 May, 2012 11:54 am
@roger,
I know. It doesn't sound very attractive but price is an issue and I don't like using my backyard because I feel like I'm in a fishbowl.

We could maybe build a wall in front of it to hide the cans. Maybe a lattice type thing that we could grow a vine along.

I'm just stumped.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 May, 2012 11:56 am
I like Rocky's bamboo idea, but he's right about the 55 gal. drums--probably not a good idea because of what they may once have contained.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 May, 2012 11:58 am
@Setanta,
That's a great solution!

If I got caught I think I'd have even less privacy than I have now.
Setanta
 
  3  
Reply Tue 1 May, 2012 12:01 pm
@boomerang,
I modestly try to help . . . if you get a shiv, you might get solitary, and all the privacy you can stand . . .
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 May, 2012 12:01 pm
@Rockhead,
That's a good point. I know a few that I looked at said "food grade" so I'm guessing that would be okay.

There is a bamboo nursery here that sells about 100 types of bamboo so I'm sure I could find a clumping variety that would fit the bill. I just want to get some immediate height so I don't spend another summer avoiding the yard.

Do you think that if the barrels are clean enough to use that rust would eventually be a problem or do you think they'd hold up for a few years?
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 May, 2012 12:05 pm
@boomerang,
food grade is ok.

I would drill some 1/2 inch holes in the bottom for drainage, and add about 2 inches of river rock in the bottom.

they should last more than 5 years before the bottoms rust outta them...
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 May, 2012 12:06 pm
@boomerang,
Vine covered lattice would be infinitely better, visually. You will have to consider wind forces, especially if you are thinking of a height of twenty-five feet.

I'll let you know if something else comes to mind.
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 May, 2012 12:08 pm
@roger,
she could sink some poles and plant trumpet creeper.

I'm making a trumpet tree next to my chicken coop to mask it a bit from the pond garden. it will attract hummers before long with it's bright orange flowers.

but it's very invasive as well...
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 May, 2012 12:10 pm
Here's the problem area:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v667/boomerangagain/DSC_0393.jpg

Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 May, 2012 12:12 pm
@boomerang,
if it were me, I would take out the big tree and plant a row of semi-dwarf peach trees.

or some other ornamental type small trees...

(of course you would not have to remove the big one)

bamboo wants lotsa sun to get large.
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Tue 1 May, 2012 12:21 pm
You could paint the bottoms off the barrels with boat paint before you drilled holes in them, to help prevent rust. Boat paint ain't cheap, though. If they are bright metal inside, or even painted, the standard drill would chrome oxide paint (a sickly yellow-green color), after which you put red oxide paint on it. Red oxide used to be made with red lead, but that's been banned for more than 40 years. If it's already rusted, you can clean it down to bright metal and use a couple of coats of red oxide. If it's rusted and the rusted metal is flaking, you got screwed when you bought it. Chrome oxide and red oxide are relative inexpensive, and also come in spray cans. But enough spray cans for all the barrels you'd want for that length of fence would likely cost too much.
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 May, 2012 12:24 pm
@boomerang,
are there any bylaws about how tall/close together shrubs/trees can be?
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 May, 2012 12:25 pm
@Rockhead,
That birch is one of the smaller trees in my yard!

It stays. It helps keep the house cool in the summer.

I really want something more hedge-like along the fence but I don't want it to take up a lot of space.

Our local bamboo nursery has a lot of different kinds of bamboo for all different types of environments: http://www.bamboogarden.com/Bamboo%20categories.htm

boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 May, 2012 12:28 pm
@Setanta,
Thanks. This is good to know. Definitely something I'll want to keep in mind.

0 Replies
 
 

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