Good Neighbor Landscaping: Ideas For Lawn Borders That Look Good

Two Ladies Talking Infront Of Beautiful Flower Gardens
(Image credit: Horsche)

There are plenty of good reasons for landscaping between neighbors. Your neighbor’s property may have become an eyesore, or you’re simply just looking for a little more privacy. Sometimes, it’s important to clearly define the borders of your property. Regardless of the reason, there are ways to create an attractive landscape boundary without creating problems with your neighbors. Read on for a few ideas for good neighbor landscaping.

Creating an Attractive Landscape Boundary

Fencing: A solid fence can block an unsightly view and offer complete privacy. A more open fence, like chain link, clearly defines the borders of your yard but allows you to see out. The downside is that a good fence will be expensive. Before you invest any money, be sure the fence is legal in your area, and that you have any required building permits. 

Trees and shrubs: These can serve many purposes when it comes to creating neighborly borders. Evergreens like arborvitae, mugo pine, or blue spruce can block a view and they also remain green and attractive year-round. Deciduous trees are good if you have a large property, but they may overwhelm a small area.

Dense plantings of thorny shrubs, like holly, will discourage most trespassers from entering your yard. Plants such as privet or boxwood make lovely living fences, but require regular maintenance, especially if you want a neatly trimmed hedge with a more formal appearance. Consider blooming shrubs like rhododendron or azalea for an attractive, blooming landscape boundary.

Vines: Vines can be an attractive form of good neighborly landscaping. They can “pretty up” an unsightly fence or offer more privacy when allowed to crawl over chain link or wire. Vines such as wintercreeper or Carolina jessamine are pretty year-round. Keep in mind, though, vines can become a tangled mess if they aren’t maintained. Also, vines such as Japanese honeysuckle, are extremely aggressive. English ivy is well-behaved in some areas but is an invasive nuisance in others, like the Pacific Northwest. 

Trellises and Latticework: Train the vines to grow over a trellis, latticework, or other structure for a feeling of privacy that doesn’t completely block the view.

Other plant type border ideas: Ornamental grasses are low-maintenance plants that provide color and texture all year. Some types of ornamental grass, like plume ravenna grass, for example, can reach heights of up to 12 feet (3-4 m.). Other smaller grasses are great for creating lawn borders that look good.

Bamboo is a towering, fast-growing plant that creates a natural fence with an exotic, tropical appearance. Choose the variety carefully and be sure to select a non-invasive cultivar.

Tips on Creating Neighborly Borders

Be sure your attractive landscape boundary is completely within limits of your property and doesn’t intrude on your neighbor’s lawn. Remember that shrubs and trees expand in time and should be planted safely back from the property line.

Trees and shrubs may drop leaves onto the lawn, prevent grass from growing, or create shade where your neighbor may need sunlight (like a vegetable garden). Be sure to keep these things in mind as well when you do your landscape planning.

Mary H. Dyer

A Credentialed Garden Writer, Mary H. Dyer was with Gardening Know How in the very beginning, publishing articles as early as 2007.