General Discussion:

Disguising Hydro Boxes

Messages posted to thread:

Carol05-Feb-04 12:12 PM EST 5a   
Susan05-Feb-04 01:51 PM EST 6   
Sylvia05-Feb-04 05:25 PM EST 3a   
Carol06-Feb-04 12:26 PM EST 5a   

Subject: Disguising Hydro Boxes
From: Carol
Zone: 5a
Date: 05-Feb-04 12:12 PM EST

We have a large green hydro box and a cable post on our front lawn between our property and our neighbour's. I'd rather see something else as I drive up the street, so I want to plant a bed in front of them. Considering shrubs and perennials - maybe a dwarf lilac and a couple of roses?? This area gets full sun and full exposure to the elements. Any suggestions?

Subject: RE: Disguising Hydro Boxes
From: Susan
Zone: 6
Date: 05-Feb-04 01:51 PM EST

Try a Pink Beauty potentilla shrub or two. They form low mounds of about 30" or so, bloom from June to October and are drought tolerant and pretty much disease free. They are late to leaf out in the spring so don't assume they're dead - mine usually don't leaf out until mid-late May but they start blooming shortly after and keep going until late fall. Prune about 1/3 of the oldest stems out each year at ground level in spring to keep the shrub's shape renewed and keep it blooming nicely. I have lots of these shrubs in my yard because I really like their staying power and they fit in well with a perennial border because they never get too big.

For a picture of one of mine, go to:

Subject: RE: Disguising Hydro Boxes
From: Sylvia (
Zone: 3a
Date: 05-Feb-04 05:25 PM EST

Hi Carol: I would check with your local municipality before planting anything permanent (e.g. perennials) and expensive. Many municipalities let you plant around these utility boxes, but if they have to service it, they have the right to rip everything out in order to get to the box. And because they have the 'right of way' they will not replace anything that they destroy.

That being said, how about some wild flowers that self seed? If you do end up losing the plants, chances are that seeds will come up the next year to replace the ones you lost.

If you are intent on color and perennials - I think that Barberry is tremendous, especially Rosy Glow. They never need pruning and grow to about 30 inches. And with those thorns, you can be assured that not even the local male dogs will want to visit that site! Good luck and good gardening!

Subject: RE: Disguising Hydro Boxes
From: Carol
Zone: 5a
Date: 06-Feb-04 12:26 PM EST

Thanks, Susan and Sylvia for your suggestions. I'll definitely check out the Pink Potentilla and the Barbary. That's good advice, Sylvia, about planting around the utilities. I guess I'll have to take my chances, but it will be worth it not to have to look at those eyesores as I drive up the street.

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