Cutting back conifers
I was wondering if any of you fine ladies and gentlemen could offer me some thoughts and advice on a situation I have with rather large conifers please.
My neighbour planted conifer trees on the border of her property and mine many years ago. For years before I moved in, the conifers have been allowed to grow and there was very little evidence of pruning. As a result, the trees look stunning, but when I moved in the branches were so far onto my property that a large part of my garden was taken up by it.
Above head-height this is not really an issue, as it provides a nice little rain shelter, but I did want to utilise the space in my garden, so I decided to cut the bottom 7 foot or so back and reclaim some garden.
I had read that you should not cut back further than the green, so I left a few inches of green and cut the rest.
The result was rather disappointing. Because I have cut it back as far as I could, it doesn't look as good (you can obviously see the brown bits), and because they had been growing for so long before I cut them back, they are still taking up a good five feet of garden I could use for something that does look good.
The option of letting it grow out again until it looks good is not appealing, as I would like the space. And as it doesn't look good as it does, I am tempted to cut the branches right back to the trunk up to a height of about 7 feet, and modestly trim higher up every year to keep it as it is.
My question is whether this would be bad for the tree, or whether the tree would start with fresh branches, or whether indeed the tree would not be able to cope with such trimming.
Does anybody have any ideas or suggestions please?
Thank you very much.