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Tall(ish) screening plants for a smaller garden?

Hello ???? 

Can anybody help me please? 

I have a small garden (approximately 30 ft by 20ft) that backs on to a very busy main road. There is an 8/9 ft wall at the back of the garden that is in excellent condition.

Until recently there were some large buddleias behind the wall that gave us privacy, extra security, and blocked out a fair bit of the traffic noise, but the council has had all the plants brutally chopped back to as low as possible. I know there's nothing I can do to stop them from doing it again next year, so I'm looking into planting something at the end of my garden that will provide a permanent screen. Problem is, I haven't a clue what to plant. 

I'd like something that grows to around 12-15ft, but doesn't take up much space for the first 8-9ft (imagine a 15ft silver birch with a clean trunk). I absolutely love silver birch so this was my first choice. Then I found out that silver birch can grow to 50ft and shouldn't be topped off, so that's a no go. 

With 2 young children we need to maximise the usable space in the garden, and something that's foliage starts just below the top of the wall would be perfect. I don't have much time for gardening, so it would need to be something that needs minimal attention / maintenance. It would be nice if it was attractive too. 

Does such a plant exist? And where would I look to find it? I've looked online and can't seem to find anything suitable. 




  • raisingirlraisingirl Posts: 7,083

    A small tree like a rowan (sorbus) can be pruned to have a single trunk and you can decide where the lower branches will be. It's pretty low maintenance and tough if you have suitable soil and aspect (and they aren't terribly fussy on either) but you would have to do a bit of work to get it to the shape you want (i.e. prune the lower branches as it grows).

    An amelanchier laevis could work, if you have fairly fertile soil (they don't like it too dry) and again, if you do a little work to prune it to the right shape. It will naturally spread more than the rowan, but you can prune the branches that grow forwards, into the garden, so it fans out along the line of the wall. They look good as multi-stemmed small trees.

    Both flower in spring, have light canopies and good autumn colour and berries. Neither is evergreen.

    Gardening on the edge of Exmoor, in Devon

    “It's still magic even if you know how it's done.” 
  • Thanks for the suggestions. I had a look at them both, and the amelanchier is gorgeous. 

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