Re-Planting Privacy: Getting the Look you Want with Mature Trees

Bill Lindley

A 7′ fence isn’t tall enough to offer the privacy that homeowner and avid bird watcher Bill Lindley wanted to enjoy his backyard

Losing a tree can be heartbreaking for any homeowner, but when you lose more than one it’s devastating. Even worse, it can change the look and feel of your home, as well as your enjoyment of it.

So when Bill and Colleen Lindley discovered a fungus in the spruce and pine trees at the back of their yard, trees they had planted themselves 35 years earlier, they didn’t know what to do. And unfortunately, Calvin McCallum and CLC Tree Services couldn’t save the trees. They needed to be cut down and the hole left at the back of the property was glaringly obvious. All of a sudden, their neighbours had full view of their yard and their privacy was gone.

“We don’t have time for new trees to grow and give us back our privacy,” declared Colleen.

“And we’re not willing to chance new trees getting infected,” added Bill.

The hole left by the loss of 10 hand-planted trees in the Lindley's back yard

The hole left by the loss of 10 hand-planted trees in the Lindley’s back yard

Calvin straightening a birch tree

Putting a River Birch into place

Calvin had a suggestion. Not only could they replant new trees in the empty swathe left by the old trees, but they could select the largest, mature trees possible from different species to reduce the risk of reinfection. It was time to go shopping.

Calvin was early the day they went to Stam Nursery to select replacement trees to plant on the Lindley’s 1/3 of an acre property. While Colleen wanted something ‘pretty’, Calvin made sure to point out native species that would complement the other trees in their yard, offer them the privacy they were seeking, and have the trees’ own requirements met; sufficient light, water and soil type. His attention to detail impressed them and let them know they had the right company for the big job ahead.

Aerial lift

The Dawn Redwood was the first tree over the house

For choosing 10 replacement trees to add into the Lindley’s park-like setting was one thing, but getting them into place was another. They live in north London, surrounded by neighbours on all sides, with only a gate to access the backyard. The Dawn Redwood that Calvin suggested would “make it”—be the focal point of the new view—was 28 feet tall and 6,300 lb. CLC’s bucket truck couldn’t get anywhere near the backyard and a hand cart wouldn’t cut it to transport the new tree into place, let alone the other 9 trees. So a call went into Cameron Crane to assist with the job.

The hemlock and a river birch get gently delivered

Scott Campbell from Cameron Crane gives walkie-talkie instructions to the crane operator in the front yard, who gently maneuvers trees into place

Over the course of the day, the 200′ crane lifted the redwood, 7 river birches, a 16′ Northern Hemlock and a red oak over the Lindley’s Tudor house. It was no easy task, as 154,000 lbs of counterweight had to be added to the crane before the job even began. Once the crane was assembled, trees were maneuvered into place via walkie-talkie instructions from the backyard.

Trees in crane's bucket

Carefully swinging trees into the backyard

Getting the trees into the backyard was only the first task though. Once the trees were removed from the bucket, they were hooked up to chains and swung into pre-dug holes around the backyard. Due to the weight alone, especially of the redwood, minute adjustments were painstakingly made to ensure the trees were straight and to the homeowner’s approval. Once the trees were in place and cables removed, minor adjustments were made with the bobcat with small carpet sections put in place to reduce damage during the adjustment process.

Homeowners watch

Colleen and Bill Lindley watch the activities unfold in their backyard, close enough to make comments and suggestions, but far enough to be out of harm’s way

Making sure a tree is straight is a team effort

Kyle Edwards, from Kyle’s Lawn Service, helps to make minor adjustments with the bobcat

The homeowners noted Calvin’s consideration and approved. He consulted them every step of the way, and as Colleen noted “You don’t always get that”. Even a small bed of lily of the valley with sentimental value was protected throughout the tree removal, 3-days of hole digging, and full-day of tree planting.

Kyle & Calvin load a birch tree onto the cart

For the relatively smaller river birches, a sturdy handcart, with the help of several strong backs, was enough to get the trees to their new homes

By the end of the day, they were thrilled at the transformation. It wasn’t an easy process, between the loss of their beloved trees, the stark disappearance of their privacy, and the process it took to regain a measure of both, but it was well worth it.

Privacy restored

Putting the finishing touches on the Lindley’s new yard

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