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Judith Drake

Hello to all. I’ve been a subscriber and viewer for many years but first time on here. Hoping for some advice please.
I’m wanting to plant something to give me privacy from the council flats at the back of my house. The council have put up an open fence (badly) which doesn’t screen the gardens of the flats at all. And although when we moved in the gardens were lovingly tended, over the years new tenants have let them go and it’s just a wilderness that’s used to exercise dogs. 
I want something to give screening and height, but I don’t want a fence. The border is east facing and varies from about 1.5m to 2.5m wide. There are some shrubs, plants and bulbs (hellebores, daffy, crocuses, lavatera, buddleia, wallflowers, clematis etc in but I’m quite happy to dig up and start again, although I do want to still use the border for shrubs, plants etc. Unfortunately there is also a huge tree in the council garden which wasn’t there 30 years ago but has grown to a huge height, meaning the border doesn’t get much sun mid afternoon onwards. 
I’ve thought of various ideas recently - hornbeam, non-invasive bamboo, pencil cypress, palms, training the ivy through the fence, together with clematis, roses etc but really not sure what would work.
Any advice gladly received. 


  • LynLyn Posts: 22,838
    I know a lot of people hate laurels, but I planted these as 2’6” bare roots about 5 years ago,  cutting then down on planting to 2’ , if we hadn’t cut them twice a year, they would have been at least 10’ tall by now. We keep it at 6’, it shelters us from the lane, takes the north wind, doesn’t get sun, and keeps a good shelter for the birds in winter as it’s evergreen. 
    There’s not much that’s dense and evergreen, I’ve got a natural hedge of native trees but it’s useless at the moment as it’s completely bare right through the winter. 
    Now is the perfect time to plant these as we will get lots of rain I would think during the early spring.  Apart from cutting, these have had no maintenance/feed etc whatsoever, they really are bomb proof. 😀

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 17,228
    I would plant a hedge of mixed pricklies. Hawthorn, holly, (plain or variegated) berberis, can all be pruned to give a close hedge that would give privacy and cover for nesting birds.
  • PurplerainPurplerain Posts: 1,053
    Lovely hedge Lyn. Another option could be Photinia Red Robin. I noticed it being grown as a hedge in a front garden recently and thought it was attractive.
    SW Scotland
  • LynLyn Posts: 22,838
    Yes Red Robin is very nice, grows a bit straggly for me, I suppose I should prune it harder. Laurel seems to be so easily maintained, although a bit boring, but it will cover what the OP wanted. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • Jed7Jed7 Posts: 11
    Thank you very much for those ideas - all doable. I’m all for no maintenance apart from pruning once a year and also anything helping wildlife gets a thumbs up from me. Any thoughts on hornbeam?
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