There are many reasons why homeowners and businesses resort to planting tall beautiful walls of bamboo.
BEFORE SPENDING TIME AND MONEY ON A PROJECT, IT’S GOOD TO KNOW WHAT IS ENTAILED.
WHY IS BAMBOO A GOOD IDEA?
Below is a sample of some common reasons folks have sought the expertise of Winter Park Bamboo:
Bamboo to hide an eyesore
We once received a request from a realtor that wanted to hide neighboring structure to one of their listings. This structure was in need of essential maintenance & repair.
We are constantly made aware of homes sitting on the market for long periods of time. When bamboo is installed properly it can be a game changer for any realtor stuck with a problem listing.
Bamboo for noise reduction
Living next to reasonable people is the best way to ensure a happy coexistence, but what if the neighbors have teenagers? Chances are the sweethearts next door like to play loud music. They may even throw an occasional party when mommy and daddy are gone. It’s nearly impossible to talk sense into most teenagers. As a result it might be easier to wall them off with a thick lush wall of green bamboo. This is especially true if when someone is looking to protect the ears of small children.
We had a call from someone needing to screen children from a neighbors unruly teenagers as well as their expletive-laden music. The tunes were constantly playing loudly outside. We could not completely drown all the sound out. However the good news is we were able to dramatically reduce the noise coming across the property line with a nice thick hedge of bamboo.
In more than one case we have used bamboo to reduce both the visual road traffic as well as the associated noise that goes along with it. While bamboo can not completely drown out noise from a busy street it can dramatically reduce it.
Bamboo for privacy
A customer called to get privacy in her pool and jacuzzi. She wanted to skinny dip on her property without the prying eyes of her neighbors. Let’s face it some things just can’t be unseen. We seem to get a lot of requests from folks that need privacy. Once we received a call about contractors peering in at a homeowners wife and kids.
Needless to say the balcony of that structure looked down into what used to be a private pool and residential sanctuary. Bamboo was the easy affordable solution to giving the privacy and peace to these homeowners. Bamboo offered what a tall wooden fence was unable to provide.
safety WITH BAMBOO
We do not make any claims or guarantees that bamboo can make a space 100% safe. The reality is few things can guarantee 100% safety all the time. We do get a lot of calls to hide or block commercial parking lots adjacent to residential areas. Because of this Bamboo is great for limiting unwanted trespassers into a yard or place of business. The reason is when planted properly, bamboo is very thick and near impossible to get through for most people.
A call came in one summer from a family that was constantly being harassed by a toxic neighbor. Luckily we were able to put up a beautiful wall of bamboo. The new wall blocked the neighbors prying eyes, insults, and bizarre array of video cameras.
Bamboo after a hurricane
We get frequent calls after hurricanes to place a wall of bamboo where an old tree or fence was recently knocked down. Yes, bamboo is a living wall. As a result, it does not need paint or repairs like a wooden fence might.
An occasional trim every 3, 6, or 12 months, along with good nutrients and water is all that is generally needed. Many find it less stressful riding out future storms knowing the only thing adjacent to their house is a tall species of grass rather than a massive overhanging oak tree!
Many folks also love the toughness and weather resistance of bamboo. A hurricane can easily break branches and knock down all but the most sturdy fences. What’s great is that bamboo is tough and flexible. It is true that bamboo leaves might get a little tattered in long sustained hurricane. Better than most old fences and mature trees it can remain upright and look better after a big storm.
Bamboo for beauty and aesthetic
The best reason and the one we most commonly get is to create a lush green bamboo backdrop for newly landscaped yards with pools and BBQ pits.
Bamboo has the ability to transform both indoor and outdoor spaces into peaceful private sanctuary’s. We love creating spaces where folks make lasting memories with friends and family.
WHAT ARE MY ALTERNATIVES TO BAMBOO?
Wooden Fencing vs. bamboo
Wooden fences are great for privacy but only effective up to a certain height. Many municipalities limit residents the overall height of a residential fence. As a result normal fence heights are generally not enough to create privacy from neighboring multi-story structures. In many cases the local jurisdiction limits fencing to 6 or even a 4-foot height.
Any structure creating blind corners at intersections should be approved by the appropriate permitting authorities. It’s a good idea to calculate the long term maintenance of any contracted structure. The cost to build a new fence can be much higher compared to planting a bamboo wall.
Vinyl Fencing vs. bamboo
Some folks opt to install vinyl fencing and it looks great in many neighborhoods. Inevitably vinyl can succumb to unsightly mold growth, and warping from heat. Vinyl fences are also prone to damage from annual hurricane winds that can completely blow out entire sections of pickets. As with any fence there are cost limitations on just how tall of a fence is needed in order to create privacy and security.
Let’s say a township has no limit fence heights which is great. Price a fence that’s 6’ or taller and compare that to the savings observed with a living wall of bamboo. Generally folks opt for bamboo most of the time because of its durability along with cost savings.
Shrubs and Trees vs. bamboo
Believe it or not bamboo is not a tree, it’s classified as a grass. While bamboo is not the only thing people can plant to create a screen, it is however one of the most common. Drive down any street and it’s easy to see many species of trees, shrubs, and bamboo. People use it all the time to create a privacy hedge. The reason many choose bamboo is because it offers a tall green living wall with minimal upkeep. At one point we sold shrubs like podocarpus but opted to shift to bamboo because of its toughness and ability to create privacy.
Bamboo is tough and requires minimal maintenance versus many types of hedges. Because of this bamboo is widely accepted by both commercial and residential landscape designers. Bamboo is an amazing plant used by waterparks, theme parks, luxury apartment complexes, and many single family neighborhoods. It is true that bamboo can elevate just about any space.
Bamboo is tough and beautiful, have questions? Contact us today, we can help!
WHAT ARE THE CONSIDERATIONS BEFORE BUYING BAMBOO?
We have shared the reasons to put up a living wall, now it’s important to consider a few more things:
APPROVAL – Am I allowed to plant bamboo in my place of business or in my yard?
Some HOA’s may limit or prohibit certain plants from being planted in certain green spaces or along hardscapes. HOA’s aim to create a consistent aesthetic in their neighborhood. HOA’s may limit bamboo because the lack of knowledge in regards to clumping bamboo. (Please read more about that here) It should be noted certain municipalities may limit the location and height of a bamboo wall. One should always check with the local city or municipality for questions about sitelines, utilities, etc.
PURPOSE – How tall should my living bamboo wall be?
It is always good to know the scope of a project before getting started. One must know the height they need to achieve. Its also good to think about the area one has to plant. The most important thing to know is the length of the area where the living wall will be planted. This helps come up with a cost for the project. (please use this handy bamboo calculator here)
GREEN THUMB – Do I need to have a green thumb in order to maintain my new plant or wall of bamboo?
Anyone able to water, fertilize, and occasionally trim their bamboo can become the envy of their neighborhood. Very few folks will ever need the help of a landscaper to maintain their bamboo. Busy folks can take solace knowing that clumping bamboo grows predictably and can be managed with minimal effort. We have seen cases where someone planted bamboo, and simply left it alone, without water, without trimming it, and without fertilizing it yet it looked great. Keep in mind each yard is different. Each plant species is different, so its important for one to consider the type of care that can be provided. Early planning is always recommended to ensure the health and success of any bamboo project.
Need help choosing low maintenance bamboo? Contact us today, we can help!
WATER – How do I know if I need irrigation for my bamboo?
Even when planting a wall of bamboo in Florida before the rainy season, its important to consider future irrigation. Newly planted bamboo needs ample irrigation for at least 6-8 weeks daily until it’s sufficiently rooted and established. The good news is, one does not need to spend much money to accommodate the basic needs of a new plant. Most sprinkler systems can be modified to affordably irrigate new bamboo. In many instances no modification of the planting bed is required, since that area is already covered in a heavily watered zone. If the area is particularly dry or has no irrigation a few cheap supplies can solve the issue. We have seen folks water bamboo with basic garden hoses and a cheap battery operated timer in order to get newly planted bamboo established.
EXPOSURES – Can I plant bamboo next to my house or fence?
If planting bamboo near a home, it’s always good to leave enough room so the bamboo is not touching the house. Its important to reduce and avoid permanent path for ants or bugs to reach windows or soffits. If planting near a fence, it’s a good to allow for some room so that the bamboo can grow fully. Its nice to let bamboo just grow without requiring any major trimming the first year or two, as this ensures thickness.
Most folks do not want bamboo growing into or through a fence. Generally a quick inspection every couple months is all that’s needed. So manage new growth, simply clip or move an errant shoot from the fence.
SUNLIGHT – What bamboo grows best in shade and which one do I need if planting in direct sunlight?
There is generally a tool for every job, as such there is a bamboo for every yard. There are more than 2,000 species of bamboo which makes it easy to accommodate most yards or greenspaces. If planting in shaded areas, its important to pick a bamboo that can handle that condition. Most bamboo performs well in direct sunlight and partial shade. It is important to understand the site conditions with consideration to the long term health of any plant being installed.
FERTILIZER – Is bamboo really a grass, …really?
Yes, bamboo is really a grass and because of this, it responds well and loves nitrogen rich fertilizer. Because we love the environment we always recommend natural, non-synthetic alternatives. Organic compost, manure, Alaska Fish Emulsion Fertilizer, Organic Miracle Grow, and Miloganite can be great as bamboo fertilizer. As with all fertilizers follow the directions and please be cautious when using them around pets, people, or wildlife. While bamboo is a heavy feeder and loves nutrients, folks should not need to fertilize any more than 2-3 times per year max to achieve lush healthy growth.
TEMPERATURE – What bamboo grows in Florida?
Florida is a great place to grow healthy bamboo with minimal effort. Our grow zones lend themselves to handling just about anything mother nature can throw at us. Grown outside the state, folks will want to familiarize themselves with their grow zone and the appropriate bamboo. We carry a nice variety of cold hardy bamboo. Even multiple cold freezes generally will not kill off a wall of established bamboo. While rare. it is possible for bamboo to perish in situations with major underlying issues. Neglectful care i.e. lack of water, sunlight, or fertilizer can all play a role in the health and success of a plant.
In our experience less than one plant in 3,000 die and when this happens it’s generally a plant dropped in saturated soil for weeks at a time, or placed in bone dry soil right after planting which prevents it from getting established. In all cases temperature for most bamboo is not an issue as long as one chooses the correct plant for their grow zone.
WHAT KIND OF BAMBOO IS BEST FOR A BAMBOO PRIVACY SCREEN OR LIVING WALL?
TYPES OF BAMBOO – What kind of bamboo should I use for my living wall or yard?
Since there are some 2,000 plus species of bamboo, its important to be familiar with the benefits of a few core varieties. Need bamboo that is tall, say greater than 20’ in height? Want something that is short, perhaps, 15’ or shorter? Want bamboo that has large massive canes? Looking for something that provides more privacy than aesthetic? In many cases our clients would like a couple different types of bamboo as one area of the yard might need privacy from a neighbors second story window, while another part of the yard is looking to screen pedestrians and they eyes of yippy dogs.
Oldhamii Bamboo – Oldham’s – Ryoku-Chiku – Giant Timber Bamboo – ‘Bambusa Oldhamii’
When not established Oldhamii can have gaps at the base which are not conducive to a privacy wall. We feel that due to a lack of plant density at the base, it does not make the best privacy screen. Graceful, tropical blue, emerald and others may be better suited for the task . Learn More
Golden Hawaiian – Bambusa Vulgaris “Vittata”
Just like Oldhamii, we feel that due to a lack of plant density at the base, this bamboo is not the top choice as a screen. Consider using this in conjunction by layering other bamboo to provide privacy at base heights. Learn More
MEDIUM HEIGHT Bamboo
GRACEFUL – ‘BAMBUSA TEXTILIS GRACILIS’ AKA THE RICH MAN’S BAMBOO
This bamboo is known as the rich mans bamboo or the “Slender Weaver”. Graceful bamboo is a non-invasive, tight-clumping bamboo. Graceful Bamboo as its name implies has a very graceful appearance with the culms of the bamboo upright and the peaks of the foliage slightly nodding or drooping over. This bamboo is an excellent choice for a living or green wall and is our top pick for many applications. Learn More
EMERALD – ‘TEXTILIS MUTABILIS’
Emerald, a relative of the ‘Bambusa Textilis Gracilis’ aka graceful, is known as a clumping or non-invasive bamboo that also grows well in central Florida. Think of this as a taller more upright alternative to graceful. One can observe the variety at many theme parks where height is needed as a screen without sacrificing fullness and the lush green backdrop it provides. Learn More
BLACK BAMBOO – ‘BAMBUSA LAKO’
Not as cold hardy as Asian Lemon, Graceful, Oldhamii, or Tropical Blue, Black bamboo is best known for its shiny black culms and feathery green leaves. In the best conditions Black Bamboo can grow to 35 feet in height with culms over 3 inches in diameter. 25 feet is its average height in most climates. but this bamboo can top out at a recorded 45 feet in height. Black Bamboo makes a very nice ornamental bamboo and can be used as a blind for equipment and pumps, it makes a great privacy screen in both commercial and residential applications. This bamboo variety adds elegance and provenance to any space. Because of its striking beauty and relative ease of care, Black Bamboo is appropriate for commercial, light industrial, and residential applications. Learn More
TROPICAL BLUE BAMBOO – ‘BAMBUSA CHUNGII’
Culms are bluish white with pronounced light green leaves. Strikingly handsome bamboo categorized by spectacular white wax on its nicely spaced culms. No low branching but a beautiful specimen indeed. Learn More
ASIAN LEMON BAMBOO – BAMBUSA EUTULDOIDES ‘VIRIDI-VITTATA’
Asian Lemon Bamboo will grow to heights in upwards of 25 feet. The Asian Lemon Bamboo is a great choice for privacy screening. When established this species is characterized by its striking color, yellow striped culms and beautiful dark green leaves. Learn More about Asian Lemon Bamboo
BONNIE BAMBOO ‘BAMBUSA BONIOPSIS’
Smaller leaf size with delicate appearance. Fine leaves the droop when young. Good privacy screen where height over 20′ is concern. Learn More About Bonnie Bamboo
MALAY DWARF BAMBOO – ‘BAMBUSA HETEROSTACHYA’
Cold Hardy & drought tolerant. Frost Tolerant once established and makes a very nice thick hedge. Can easily be trimmed to desired size and preference. Known to arch due to its thick heavy foliage. Learn More About Maylay Dwarf Bamboo
FERN LEAF BAMBOO – ‘BAMBUSA MULTIPLEX’
This bamboo can reach 20’ and is a top choice for those looking for a hedge-wall. The reason is, just like Boniopsis this bamboo is fairly easy to clip back and shape to fit both the couture and height requirements many homeowners have. Learn More About Fernleaf Bamboo
DWARF BUDDHA BELLY ‘BAMBUSA VULGARIS’ – ‘WAMIN’
Our opinion any bamboo can be a focal point, none fits this class of aesthetically interesting bamboo quite like the Dwarf Buddha Belly. The species is characterized by unique culms and striking green foliage. The lower half of the Dwarf Buddha Belly has few if any branches and is known by its pear shaped inflated internodes. Learn More About Dwarf Buddha Belly Bamboo
BAMBOO for building and construction
There is little to no work being done to build with bamboo in Florida at the moment, fuel shortages, gas prices, and the need for fast growing sustainable building materials is needed now more than ever. What was once thought of as a third-world solution as scaffolding and a building material, bamboo is getting greater attention. Innovative minds like John Hardy and his Daughter Elora Hardy of IBUKU: https://ibuku.com/ have built a highly respected reputation by designing and building amazing structures that are beautiful and time tested.
Here are a few bamboo species used as building materials abroad:
- Dendrocalamus Asper
- Gigantalochia Apus
- Guadua Agustifolia
Put our experts to the test, no project is too big or too small.