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Fence Row Planting - Suggestions Requested!

 
Posts: 10
Location: Michigan
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Hi everyone!

A few things to start: Husband and I have a 100 ft x 150 ft patch of ground in the midwest, US hardiness zone 6a, clay soil 1/3 of an acre in a neighborhood just outside the city limits. Yard slopes slightly from the front to the back, with a steeper drop to the northeast corner where a large pine grows. Some snow in the winter, hot muggy summers and voracious mosquitoes.

Husband and I are looking to fence our backyard this summer and I am looking into perennials to plant along it. I have many ideas for INSIDE the fence, but we cannot take the fence to the very back of the lot due to the buried utilities at the property line. Since I like our back neighbor and I loathe wasting my precious outdoor space, I need ideas for what to plant on the outside of the fence.

It'll be about a 4-5 foot wide and 100ft long, though it could be wider if needed. It runs north and south, with the north side ending at a large pine tree and the south butted with a utility box and power transformer. Pretty and perennial are important, low maintenance also high up the list. Nothing tree height or it would interfere with the view from the patio. Definite zone 3/4. Full sun for 80% of the day.

I am currently thinking a mix of lavender and dwarf french lilac as the focus, but I am still new to the permaculture thing and I want to make a smart decision for this space. Thanks in advance for any suggestions!
 
gardener & hugelmaster
Posts: 2020
Location: mountains of Tennessee
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Hi Lina. Welcome to permies. You are in or near the fruit belt so my first thought is blueberries & raspberries & any other edible berries that grow well there. I think asparagus might do well too.
 
steward & bricolagier
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Sunroots, also known as sunchokes, or Jerusalem Artichokes. They are edible, but if you don't dig them up (or if you leave some) they'll keep coming back forever. And they are pretty! Sunflowers!!
The great big thread of sunchoke info - growing, storing, eating/recipes, science facts




Mike Barkley is right, berries might be a lovely addition, and the neighbors you like might help pay for the plants and eat them with you! :) And your lilac blooms in the spring, lavender all summer, sunchokes mid summer to fall, asparagus is edible in spring, and grows to be a lovely airy filler in the summer.
 
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Hostas are beautiful and herb gardens are also beautiful.
 
gardener
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Have you considered anything that could be trained along the fence? I bought a miniature espaliered pear tree for south of my veggie garden - similar idea of not wanting to block light from the garden, but wanting something other than another 7 ft of grass!

You haven't specified, but I'm assuming the fence can be seen through, and that you've planned for a gate to access this strip of land?
 
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I grow day lillies in the narrow inhospitable border between my house and the neighbour's gravel parking.

This is very poor compacted clay, and they still manage to thrive and suppress weeds. I give them zero care or watering, and some get stepped/parked on each year, and yet they spring back to life the next spring.

Day lillies can be eaten as shoots, and they make abundant foliage and very nice flowers. They do spread though, so you will have to think about providing a barrier alongside your fence, or get varieties that are not too agressive.
 
gardener
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Lina,

I love natural hedges/fence lines!  I think you are on to a great idea.

Given your limitations, I might consider grasses as a hedge.  Specifically I was thinking of Big Bluestem.  It will grow over 6’ tall, has a pretty blue hue, and if for some reason it has to be dug up to access a buried line, the grass will grow right back.

Just a thought,

Eric
 
master steward
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Rosemary is also great shrub.  Mine is about 4 ft tall and 4 ft wide.

I like to recommend scarlet runner beans because they are so pretty.



Source


 
pollinator
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I have Gooseberries planted along my fence row.  They don't really flower but the do stay green basically from the time winter ends until fall really sets in.  They're really low maintenance and produce edible fruit for people and birds.  They're thorny and bush so they also make good habitat.
 
Eric Hanson
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Another thought,

For a more manicured yet natural hedge, blueberries might be nice.  They can eventually provide a nice, attractive hedge and provide food at the same time.

Eric
 
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I will add another vote for blueberries as well.

If you are considering using the fence as a trellis to grow things on, grapes, hardy kiwi, and maypop (purple passion flower, Passiflora incarnata) could be some options for vines that will grow on the fence and produce a tasty harvest.



Maypop (purple passion flower, Passiflora incarnata)
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