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2013 Top design winner explains how you can successfully incorporate bamboo into your residential property. Cipriano Landscape Design-Bergen County NJ


Have you ever considered the usefulness of bamboo into a landscape design? Many homeowners and designers are wary of using bamboo because of its highly invasive nature and how quickly it can spread and overtake a landscape. But if used with care bamboo can be incredibly useful in a difficult landscape.

Bamboo can be classified by two different types based on how it grows, clumpers and runners. Clumpers will expand like any normal perennial plant but their growth is limited because the root structure only expands a couple inches every year. Runners are the type of bamboo that everyone is afraid of. Runners send out rhizomes that rapidly grow horizontally 5’-10’ per year. The plant then grows upwards from these rhizomes creating one ever-growing interconnected plant, making it very hard to kill and control.  Creating root barriers is the only way to prevent the bamboo runners from spreading beyond the desired planting area.

From a design standpoint, bamboo itself is most commonly used as a screen plant on the edge of a property. With how thick bamboo grows in, and the height it can grow to, the bamboo can create a better screen than most plants. If you are willing to explore the idea of creating a usable space among the bamboo instead of on the edge of it, you can create some really interesting usable spaces that would receive plenty of shade. Using bamboo in conjunction with a patio area that has a concrete footing could be one way to utilize the plant where you would be able to easily control the rhizomes. If you have a large area with some solid edges around it you could create a little bamboo seating area for some relaxation in your property.

Useful Applications

  1. Bamboo grows in the full sun and shaded areas
  2. Bamboo can provide a 30’ screen in a very short time period
  3. Bamboo can provide privacy screening in extremely narrow areas
  4. Bamboo is essentially an evergreen even in the northeast
  5. Bamboo is great for erosion control on steep banks and slopes

Bamboo is a tricky plant to work with, but if you have a landscape designer who has experience using it, you can greatly improve your property. The way the plant grows and sways in the wind is remarkable and there’s a great wondrous feeling about being inside a bamboo grove if you know how to use it. Many are afraid of it, but if you install it correctly, it can really transform a property.