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kitchen window view--not so pretty!!!
susandawn
November 6, 2012 in Design Dilemma
My beautiful sod has gone to the dogs! Literally. When I look out over my sink, I see a path of destruction (not to mention an ugly chain link fence and dead tree). The tree is going to come out and we have plans for a bamboo hedge to hide the fence.

I'm stuck on what to do for the "lawn" area. I don't like artificial grass. Our Doberman and Golden Retriever stay in the back yard while we are at work. I can't really keep them off the grass. It's been suggested to put down gravel, but I want something pretty to gaze upon (pebbles just don't do it for me).

P.S. We are in Southern CA--if you have suggestions for plants (USDA Zone 9B)
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John Roberts
I would plant bougainvillea along the chainlink fence, put down a off white color gravel, and add four versaille planters with fruit trees in them. Fruit trees that grow well in your area are Orange, Grapefruit, and Avocado trees. Hope this helps!
11 Likes   November 6, 2012 at 9:08AM
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susandawn
We've tried bougainvillea along the fence and it's not amounted to much. I have bougainvillea envy as I drive through my neighborhood or see photos like the one you chose. Maybe we'll give it another shot. I do love the pictures you've shown with the gorgeous planters! Thank you!!!!
0 Likes   November 6, 2012 at 9:11AM
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John Roberts
You could try Common Jasmine along the fence. Its very easy to grow and produces beautiful white fragrant flowers.
5 Likes   November 6, 2012 at 9:19AM
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trebinje
Consider decomposed granite for the hardscape (not the ugly grey gravel) in a warm tone, and then taking John's suggestion above, add some planters and other elements to create a pleasing - yet hard-working - yardscape that requires little maintenance and also works for the dogs. Add bougainvillea, oleander, Italian cypress and lemon trees in box planters ... and you'll think you're on the Amalfi Coast in Italy!
0 Likes   November 6, 2012 at 9:22AM
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PRO
BeautifulRemodel.com
Hi Susan,

I have dogs and I keep them off my lawn (with a fence) because they will destroy it. A good landscape designer can make a hardscape look beautiful, and it will last too. So much easier to clean up after the dogs too! Here are a couple of nice examples from Houzz

Steve
Sunol Landscape
Spokane Midcentury - Mary Jean & Joel E. Ferris, II House
2 Likes   November 6, 2012 at 9:27AM
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molliesfollies
Do you have irrigation or are you willing to install it? Or are you looking for suggestions that don't need irrigation? How much sun does the area get and what time of day? What direction were you facing when the photo was taken?
0 Likes   November 6, 2012 at 9:32AM
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decoenthusiaste
If the fence is yours, replace it. Chain link is the primary yard item that reduces the value of a home. If not yours, discuss with the neighbor sharing expense on replacement. They might be influenced by stats on home values. If they won't share, sacrifice a bit of your lawn to install your own quality fence. Also consider building a small kennel area for your dogs; washable concrete pad, fence, sun shelter and food/water system at a far end of the yard, away from your view.
2 Likes   November 6, 2012 at 9:40AM
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dcer
I would suggest making a flagstone pathway, planting some ferns in planters, and interspersing them with patches of grass.
0 Likes   November 6, 2012 at 9:43AM
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susandawn
Yes, we have irrigation already installed.
0 Likes   November 6, 2012 at 10:01AM
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Patty E.
Bamboo is quite invasive and is hard to get rid of. Maybe instead, go for a slower growing hedge that is a good bird sanctuary...
4 Likes   November 6, 2012 at 10:01AM
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susandawn
@ decoenthusiaste
To be honest, I'm not sure if we own the fence or if it's the county's. There is a wash behind our property. All of the neighbors along the wash have the same fencing as us. But I guess we could install our own fence in front of the chain link.. I like your suggestion about the kennel area. Do you have any ideas on where to research that?

@molliesfollies
The area is already irrigated and it faces west. It is full sun (and especially intense afternoon sun).
0 Likes   November 6, 2012 at 10:36AM
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greenthumb2
My friends use shredded bark for the dogs, poured concrete and aggregate planter areas for greenery. For color, she uses containers with flowers spilling out the top. WIne barrels work well, but for longevity use something with a liner to protect the vessel from deteriorating. Can change out the flowers seasonally, or plant perennials. Some of the exotic grasses are lovely if you want something to soften your raised bed/planter ideas. A raised bed at the proper height would "block the dog area" and provide you with an area to grow herbs. Just thought of this idea. Too tall for them to be bothered, perfect height for you to trim...basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme. :=)
1 Like   November 6, 2012 at 10:50AM
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susandawn
I have herbs right below my kitchen window along the house. They are thriving except one dog likes to chew on them and the other one likes to lie down on them. A tall planter would be very convenient.
0 Likes   November 6, 2012 at 11:40AM
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kazt
I would make a rock garden,add a birdbath or something that will make you smile like a dog statue! You could add a hardy shrub or vine. Maybe a kid's sunken pool for the dogs.
0 Likes   November 7, 2012 at 4:12AM
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janishill
When the dead tree is gone the large tree can be limbed up. It looks like there are a couple of smaller trees back there as well. They will need to come out.

Bougainvillea would be beautiful on that nasty back fence, but putting your fencing in front of it is the best solution.

Divide and conquer. Why not add a water feature? Perhaps a feature fountain with stone paving around it. Something the dogs can drink from, but that doesn't have a pool! The back side of the stone paving would be edged in brick forming a raised edge just a few inches high. On the far side (closest to the fence) leave an area 2 -2 1/2 feet wide as a running track for the pups. Cover it with a natural material; cedar chips, pine needles, coffee bean shells, etc. If the natural material is too much work (needs to be replenished every so often) use crushed stone.

If you have male dogs use a large piece of driftwood (it has a sculptural look) for them to mark on. Or if you have a sense of humor purchase a fake fire hydrant!
0 Likes   November 7, 2012 at 5:21AM
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jagarrou
I agree about not using the bamboo along the fence. It grows like crazy, spreads like wildfire, and has to be practically dynamited out to be removed. I wouldn't plant it.
2 Likes   November 7, 2012 at 5:33AM
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warmwatersglass
How about a beautiful raised vegetable planters. You could do them in concrete bricks with a stone cap for seating, raise some vegies, add a pretty stone gravel instead of lawn and then plant some taller grasses and succulents like agave across the back fence
0 Likes   November 7, 2012 at 6:00AM
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apple_pie_order
Would you rather see the dogs out the kitchen window or the landscaping? If you really, really want dog-destroyable landscaping, you can build a fence that will keep this small part of the yard dog-free and let the dogs have the run of the rest of the yard. Divide and conquer. If you want to see the dogs, then pavers or decomposed granite are good choices.

Bougainvillea takes years to get going and often dies on transplanting it. Jasmine is faster and also drought resistant once established. You'll need to protect young plants from the dogs.
0 Likes   November 7, 2012 at 6:08AM
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jelizabeth2005
I used to have a fenced, grassed area around the back of our house that our two dachshunds would use as their yard. But then we added two great danes to the mix and the grass was soon dug up. When it rained, the yard would just become one big mud pit and it would take me about 1/2 hour to clean up all the dogs before they were allowed in the house. We solved the problem by installing a 3-tier deck, covering up the mud, but leaving about 1/3 of the yard with gravel for their toilet area. Laying a deck makes the area look enormous and you can add planters, umbrellas, dog beds to make it look great and comfortable for your dogs (and yourself!).
3 Likes   November 7, 2012 at 6:18AM
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kittdee
We have a chain link fence common to yards on both sides or on the property line. We tore down the old privacy fence and our yard was so much larger because the posts make you lose footage. We purchased pre made fence panels and used a bracket from the chain link fence to hang the panel at the top and then used a small piece of 1x2 and connected 2 panels together at the bottom through the chain link to prevent sway. It's been up about 2 years now. As far as ground cover with the dogs we just let the thyme, coriander, penny royal and other mints have the run of the yard. The dogs smell so good.
3 Likes   November 7, 2012 at 6:18AM
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tnews
The woman's stress point is the kitchen, therefore you are on the right track to make that focal point serene. You want this area to be always looking nice without thinking "I need to go deadhead flowers, weed, etc." Something easy to keep tidy. A mound with tree and shrubs would be lovely as I have and then have a big wind chime in the tree. However, if you need to keep the are flat, a fountain in the center or just a little closer toward your window would be lovely. If it is tiered, you could plant it with succulents so no need to keep it algae free or filled with water. Some pretty gravel below and perhaps four columnar plants arranged to box the area in and make it feel like it's own room. Add a low wall away from fence with some big shrubs on either side. I like the bougainvillaea idea from John Roberts above. A great dog run idea is to put another fence within the fence you have and have gravel and then plant in front so the dogs have freedom to run around and you don't have to see them or their droppings.
4 Likes   November 7, 2012 at 7:40AM
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susandawn
Regarding bamboo. . . it seems the consensus is that it's a menace. However, there are many varieties of bamboo. I can't remember off the top of my head the one that was a recommendation to us. Does anyone know of a fast-growing, non-invasive bamboo?

@tnews--Love that picture with the fountain!

@apple-pie-order. . . Regarding jasmine. . . will the jasmine only grow as tall as the chain link fence or would it be able to grow up a little higher? There is a big cement that I don't care to see. If it only grows the height of the fence, it might not be the best solution.

:)
0 Likes   November 7, 2012 at 7:58AM
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PRO
K.O.H. Construction Corporation
my dogs love this
2 Likes   November 7, 2012 at 8:02AM
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Vicky
I once read some advice that I think makes sense. The article said not to plant along the fence if you have dogs - they are driven to pace around the perimeter, so give them a clear path alongside the fence. Then you can plant inside that area, and they won't trample it as much. So, try leaving a few feet clear along the fence, and if you plant inside of that, you can look at those plants and screen out the fence.
4 Likes   November 7, 2012 at 8:05AM
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PRO
Ross NW Watergardens
Bamboo is not scary- it just has to be contained properly. For screening in a relatively narrow area nothing is better. I also second the idea of decomposed granite- it is a beautiful material. However, your dogs may track it in the house, or dig in it.

If you want a lawn that can withstand the dogs, perhaps install permeable pavers with grass in the openings. Make sure you seed with the most hardy grass that is common in your area.
1 Like   November 7, 2012 at 8:15AM
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greenthumb2
exactly Vicky. well stated.
0 Likes   November 7, 2012 at 8:15AM
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tnews
Where in SoCal are you? There is a bamboo grower in San Marcos who can steer you to the right ones.We have a few and they are fine. Stick with clumping. They do need more water as do the bougainvillea to stay looking nice.
0 Likes   November 7, 2012 at 10:26AM
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apple_pie_order
Jasmine is a climber. It will grow up and cover a chain link fence, but it will not grow much higher because the vines need support. I refer to white star jasmine.
0 Likes   November 7, 2012 at 11:19AM
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susandawn
I'm in Orange County--Tustin area. Where is the San Marcos grower? Isn't that Santa Barbara?
0 Likes   November 7, 2012 at 11:19AM
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kiwikaryn
The pads on a dogs feet are quite sensitive, so being on a hard surface like paving or gravel all day will wear them down and place stress on their joints (a problem if your dogs get arthritis as they age). It will also be uncomfortable for them to lie down on (my sister has a paved dog run and lying on concrete has ruined the dogs coat by causing bald pressure patches). If this is your only area for the dogs to run and sunbake on, then maybe reconsider the artificial turf. The modern versions look extremely realistic, but need to be laid properly to ensure good drainage.
2 Likes   November 7, 2012 at 12:18PM
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susandawn
Interesting. I didn't know there were realistic versions of the artificial turf. Something to consider. There are also several other areas for the
0 Likes   November 7, 2012 at 12:45PM
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susandawn
dogs to be dogs and run on grass and lie down, etc. . .
0 Likes   November 7, 2012 at 12:58PM
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PRO
Barnhart Gallery
Please make sure that shade is available in the intense sun after you remove the tree. I agree about giving their tender paws a soft surface on which to romp. Can someone chime in with some of the great turfs I know are available for applications in your region?
0 Likes   November 7, 2012 at 1:28PM
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littlemissk
You can check with Bamboo Headquarters in Vista, CA (I live in Escondido, CA where it gets 100+) and they can recommend a variety of bambusa that is right for where it is you live and/or recommend where to go depending on your locale. There are two types of bamboo. One is running which you DO NOT WANT. The other is clumping. Clumping expands in diameter and can be controlled. Some varieties grow fast, some slow and there are many varieties at many heights. They are all beautiful depending on what look you wish to achieve and with some strategically placed lighting can be stunning in the evenings for parties and homeowner enjoyment. However, they do shed and require clean-up and maintenance (thinning) and contrary to what most people think, they do not require tons of water. If you install a polyethylene barrier (available at places that deal with bamboo) nearest your home and plant the bamboo on the opposite side, it will expand in the opposite direction. I've bambusa textilis gracilis in my back yard inside a retaining wall and it's lovely.

There are many types of artificial turf that look extremely real. I've turf installed on the north side of my home because it is too shady and moist for any lawn (well ... it would require way too much attention) and everyone who visits thinks it is real (it's called Pebble Beach and varies in length like a real lawn and actually has thatch). The one thing you need to consider, however, is whether your dogs like to bury their noses in it and pick at it because it can be pulled up with teeth (my little Bichon likes to nit-pick it). If they simply like to run back and forth, this will be great for them. If the sun hits it much of the day, however, it does heat up. Just needs broomed occasionally and hosed down to keep it clean. There are also deodorizing granules you can purchase to work into it on a regular basis so that it doesn't smell due to the dogs (I use them). Look on BBB and find some highly rated companies who can come out for discussion and give you a bid. The fewer seams, the cheaper it should be. The turf typically comes in 15' widths and is rolled out like wall to wall carpet. If seams are required each piece should all be facing the same way as it does have a nap (has a pile and will look different shades from different angles and the cheaper companies don't care and installation can look pretty tacky). Based on your photo above it looks like you may be able to have a 15' width installed from one side of your yard to the other with a planting bed on the fenced side. I'd do a low retaining wall on that side to keep the dogs out and so that you could maintain something that would continue to look lovely: high in the back, low in the front.

If you would like more recommendations, provide photos of each of the four sides (looking back at the house, towards each side and a photo which shows the entire length of the fence line), measurements of the area which you want landscaped, the direction you face when you're looking towards the fence and where exactly you live (city) and I'd be happy to give you some ideas and recommendations. ;o)

In any event, good luck!
1 Like   November 7, 2012 at 1:44PM
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susandawn
In case anyone wonders whether or not the dogs will be comfortable and have a place to go once I change up the yard in front of my kitchen window. Attached is a picture of what they were doing when I was at work one day and my husband was home (day off). This is just one of their favorite hangouts on the other side of the house. They also have a doggie door which will let them into our house into an XL crate.
4 Likes   November 7, 2012 at 2:09PM
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susandawn
@ Vicky--good point. Especially our Doberman. She is a perimeter dog. She patrols the edges of our property.
0 Likes   November 7, 2012 at 2:12PM
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Vicky
smart doggies! I am sure mine couldn't figure out how to drape herself on the chaise without sliding off..
0 Likes   November 7, 2012 at 2:53PM
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PRO
D John Design
You need to think inside the box. Plantings outside take a bit of time. You can do some nice things to your window to help from the inside. You can add sheers to the windows to help buffer the view, or an inside flower box on the window sill interior with seasonal herbs or plantings, or you can do a "sketching" with a stencil onto the windows with stencil paint. This takes away from the emptiness you see right now.
0 Likes   November 7, 2012 at 7:00PM
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tnews
Yes, San Marcos grower is in SB, but I meant San Marcos, CA...near Oceanside and Vista.
0 Likes   November 7, 2012 at 9:15PM
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victorianbungalowranch
I have chain link and a not so pretty view of the neighbor's wood and junk pile. I just got some panels of white plastic lattice with the squares, not diamonds, and zip tied them to be centered between the poles. Not that expensive and looks pretty terrific with some planting in front, and makes the fence a little higher.. Used some to protect my side garage windows from flying balls too.

I have a nice flower bush under my kitchen window and it is so pretty to look at when it is blooming, Maybe that could be a nice place for the bougianvilla. if you have a little fence or trellis or pergola there.
0 Likes   November 7, 2012 at 10:18PM
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PRO
Donna Lynn - Landscape Designer
Hi,
I'd like to let you know about an affordable online service that I offer called Landscape Photo Design where we are able to explore various options by dropping and dragging plants and garden features on a photo of your yard. I am a California designer and work for homeowners throughout the state of California. If you feel that you are in need of a more in depth exploration of ideas, you might consider this service. My website is http://virtualhomeandgarden.com.
0 Likes   November 8, 2012 at 9:37AM
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kiwikaryn
Lattice is good to cover up a crappy fence - you can run LED fairy lights though or behind the lattice (solar ones if you want them on all the time) and then add a flowering climbing plant all along it. At night, you will get pretty flowers lit up by the sparkly fairy lights - that should look pretty enchanting from kitchen window :-)

As for the artificial grass, they come in different lengths and looks, depending on which type of "grass" you prefer. Most of them you can't tell they are fake until you get up close and touch it. There are some examples here: http://www.easyturf.com.au/index.php?mode=gallery
0 Likes   November 8, 2012 at 6:45PM
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Laura Stronach
Avocados are highly toxic to dogs be mindful of what you plant based on your pets personalities. Retrievers of any sort tend to like to chew. A note from a friendly vet.
0 Likes   November 8, 2012 at 8:03PM
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susandawn
Thanks, Laura. I hadn't heard that before about avocados. Is it a certain part of the tree or fruit that is poisonous?
0 Likes   November 8, 2012 at 8:35PM
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M H
Oleander is toxic to dogs too. Make sure you know what might harm your dogs before planting. Also thorns are an issue. Can have an eye injury very easily. They will be fine on small gravel, especially a mixtures of footings. Grass, concrete, gravel,artificial turf, etc. saw artificial turf at Home Depot the other day and it is gorgeous. Be careful they won't eat it.
0 Likes   November 10, 2012 at 2:36PM
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Deb Reinhart
Zone the back yard with teak tiles or a deck in one a area and plants in another..perhaps divided with a small path.
The dogs can use the hardscapes , edged with rocks or shrubbery. To me the key is diversity, with low maintenance beds as well as hard surfaces for lounging ..dogs and people.;-)
0 Likes   November 10, 2012 at 10:19PM
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benniebonita
A brick flower bed to give garden depth just repair lawn :) chain link perfect for climbers nice little space hope pic helps
0 Likes   November 11, 2012 at 4:51AM
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benniebonita
Raised flower bed for sink view possible water and feed for birds :) climbers for chain link fence repair lawn I would think aerating lawn would help lawn from tree don't blame dogs :)just rake lawn pryer spreading new seed flowers in beds a nice little haven : )
0 Likes   November 11, 2012 at 5:05AM
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kathleenql
Hello! You have lots of comments so if I repeat something I'm sorry. We used rounded medium "river rock" no dirt in house, easy to pick up messes. We also installed small fences around planter areas ( get creative here) and I would do climbers all over chain link. Cheaper and more environmentally friendly than replacing fence. Plus soften view if you can only go upward.
0 Likes   November 11, 2012 at 5:10AM
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Ute Faber
Why not put a patio in with patio stones and a Cedar Pergola Kit. Nice seating area and it can be usuable. Outdoor Living Today.com manufactures Cedar Pergola Kits in all sizes http://www.outdoorlivingtoday.com/oltss/storefront/products.php?category=pergolas
0 Likes   November 23, 2012 at 2:28PM
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PRO
Gracethatch
How about adding some thatch decoration. Comparing with natural thatch, artificial thatch is long life span up to 20 years. It is highly authentic and free from maintenance and woodwarm.Price less than USD25 per squre meter, not square feet.Good quality,providing sample for checking(mail:eileen@gracethatch.com; skype: eieen.chen1234)
0 Likes   June 12, 2014 at 12:53AM
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