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We have some west-facing bathroom windows that start at 8' and go to the ceiling at 10'. I would like plant something to filter the light and stop the afternoon sun from streaming in to our bathroom and causing glare.

  • This is on the side of the house, so no real restrictions of making it fit in the rest of the landscaping.

  • Full sun except what the 1-story house will block in the morning.

  • We have 25' between the house and the property line, so anything from a bush to a tree would be acceptable as long as the roots don't damage the foundation.

  • Preferably the plant is fast growing so I won't have to wait 10 years for glare-free afternoon showers.

  • Dallas area.

  • I would consider something deciduous. That doesn't block light for a few months in the winter when the sun is coming more out of the south anyway.

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Crape myrtle grows fairly fast and does not require care. Plus it blooms heavily in summer so is desirable landscape plant. In a few years it may get taller than you want but it is very tolerant of pruning and depending on where you live, they may normally be pruned. Attractive mottled bark. I would stay with the standard types; white and a broad range of pinks to purple-reds. I have a few bicolor hybrids which are weak growers.

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Trees and shrubs which grow rapidly have a problem for the situation you describe; they are usually very large shrubs or trees and won't stop at 10 feet. Even the fastest grower will take a good five years to make a difference to your bathroom, and anything big enough would need to be the full 25 feet away to minimise the risk of damage to foundations - the recommended distance for trees and very large shrubs to avoid damage to foundations is 30-40 feet away, depending on the tree.

I just wonder whether blinds (venetian or strip) fitted inside the window might be a better option; these would break up the light if they were not fully closed, and could be pulled out of the way when not needed - and you wouldn't have to wait for them to grow.

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  • Hi Bamboo - the Arbor Day Foundation disagrees with your minimum distance a tree should be planted from a foundation: arborday.org/trees/righttreeandplace/size.cfm. I think the differences could be types of foundations. In the some parts of the US, we have basements (poured concrete or masonry blocks if new, fieldstone or dressed stone if older than 100 years). In other parts of the US there are either no basements or just crawlspaces. My 100 yr old Tilia americana is ~20 ft from my 125 yr old foundation, which matches the Arbor Day numbers, with absolutely no damage.
    – Jurp
    Nov 16, 2021 at 14:01
  • Good point, yes, foundation/structure will make a difference to planting distance
    – Bamboo
    Nov 16, 2021 at 14:18
  • Here in Texas 99.9% of homes built in the last half-century have a slab-on-grade foundation with no basement.
    – Philip
    Nov 16, 2021 at 14:52

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