Okey
Dokey you CAN do this! The calculation is a multistep process,
but can be handled with a calculator. There's one on most
computers!
The height of the screen D equals the ratio of C to
B, applied to the length of E. This is the old "hypotenuse is
equal to the square root of the sum of the squares of the two other
sides of the triangle" stuff from high school geometry.
Figuring out the screen height is like working with a set of
triangles. If you know 2 of the 3 dimensions of the triangle, you
can calculate the third one.
Step one:
A^{2} plus B^{2} = E^{2
} Where A is the height of the eyesore, B is the distance to
the eyesore, and E is the required height to effectively screen out the
eyesore  if it was to be planted right in front of it.
Let's say the eyesore you want to screen
is 30 feet high (A), and its distance from your patio table is 100 feet
(B).
Now use your calculator to
find the square root of 10,900 (104.4 feet for this example) and that
equals E  the height required to screen out the eyesore IF you could
plant the tree right in front of it.
Step Two
Since
you probably can't plant a 104 foot tree in front of an eyesore on your
neighbor's property, you'll have to determine where on your property you
can plant your screening tree or shrub. So now, find the ratio of
C (the distance between where you will be standing or sitting when
viewing the eyesore and the location at which you will be planting the
screen  let's say it's 50 feet apart) to B (100 feet  the total
distance to the eyesore for our example).

the eyesore is 100 feet away from
your patio table which is the spot from which you DON'T want to
see that eyesore (B)

the area you will plant the screen
in is 50 feet away (C)

the ratio is 100:50  or 2:1

round up or down to the nearest
foot or meter when you don't get an even figure
Now apply the ratio to the length of E 
that's one of the hypotenuses (or is that hypotenusi?) in our example.
Step Three:
To determine how high the screen D must
be, you have to go back to the triangle business again. This time,
we know what the hypotenuse is  E=57.4 feet. We know what the
distance to the screen is  C=50 feet. So lets plug the new
figures into the revised formula from step one and calculate this new
smaller triangle's missing dimension.
C^{2}
(50^{2}) + D^{2} = E^{2} (57.2^{2})
Now let's get D over by itself. If
we Subtract C^{2} from both sides of the equal sign, that will
do it.
Now, get out the calculator again to find
the square root of 771.84 (27.78) and that equals D  the height of the
screen. Now you can go search out shrubs or trees that will grow
to that height.
There! You did it! Sweat with pride!
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