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Plant/ Hedge ideas


Our garden has a 20m retaining wall at one side. The wall is only around 4 foot high at our side with a c12 foot drop at the neighbours side. We have a small child and want to put something in place to discourage him from climbing this. Initial thought was putting in a hedge as an additional barrier. I am a bit worried about the impact moving forward on the wall if this was put in place (roots/ additional weight), and additionally, the wall is a nice feature for the garden.

As an alternative I was thinking of putting in a plant that is prickly to keep him away. I was looking for ideas of plants that grow to 3-4 feet and are not particularly poisonous. Initially thoughts were holly or Hawthorn.

Also keen to hear thoughts on the best hedge for this situation if we down go down this route, letting it grow to around 5-6 feet. I was thinking Common Laurel as the Garden already has this and it grows very well but open to other thoughts. 



  • Make sure it's something that can be kept relatively narrow as you need to be able to lean over to trim the top 2ft above the wall from your side, to avoid getting an uneven and unbalanced hedge one day. So I wouldn't go for laurel as it tends to wants to grow as wide as it does high. 

    Holly would be good as it's not dangerous for kids, but it is a slow grower so would turn out to be quite expensive to get good sized plants.

    Hawthorn can be horrible if a spike gets you so I would rule that out, both from  my own safety having to trim it and kids that may jump on it or get their eyes scratched. 

    A dense conifer hedge would work and be easy to keep a nice shape. If the wall is particularly pleasing on the eye you can trim lower branches to give a clear main lower stem. PLants on their own would leave a lot of gaps, so definitely a hedge in my books. 

  • Paul B3Paul B3 Posts: 3,010

    glasgowdan is right about Laurel ; can be a bit 'bullish' and dominate the average sized garden . Established plants left unpruned bear toxic berries also ; just thinking of your son there (!) .

    Have you considered Privet ? Wrongly underrated nowadays , it's a rapid grower , makes a good barrier without being dangerous to anyone and pleasing on the eye too . Can be pruned easily as well .

    Available in green , golden-forms and variegated too I believe .

  • PosyPosy Posts: 3,601

    My experience of children is that a few prickles will not be enough to discourage him. I would attach a fence or trellis to the wall and grow climbers over it until he is old enough to be trusted, then remove them to enjoy the wall again.

  •  I too own children, kids climbing walls has been a thing since walls were invented, no bush, hedge or tree will discourage a inquisitive 7 year old, in fact it will add to the challenge. With it being such a short wall with such a steep drop fencing  is your only real option here I’m afraid. 

  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,114

    Remember that any child will not be a small child for very long so don't put anything too permanent in your garden.

  • They grow up virtually overnight ....................... whoosh!!! image

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

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