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Which tree to screen view from neighbours window?

We would like to be able to sit in the garden without feeling overlooked from the windows in the extension opposite. We have been considering planting a pine tree (just in front of the shed on the right hand side) as we really like them, and we want something that grows fast enough to provide coverage within the next few years. The garden faces south east, and is clay soil. Any help would be much appreciated!
David.

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  • amancalledgeorgeamancalledgeorge South LondonPosts: 2,308
    Are the neighbours spending their days behind those windows? Always puzzles me how the same thought about "privacy" doesn't occur the other way round. If a conifer grows that fast to cover such a height, it's probably the wrong conifer. How about a sail that you can put on in the summer and have the little precious sun in the winter unimpeded? Or maybe some trellis with a nice clematis? 
    To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow
  • amancalledgeorgeamancalledgeorge South LondonPosts: 2,308
    And welcome to the forum, BTW. You can use the search function with the word privacy...a multitude of ruminations and solutions will come up!
    To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow
  • treehugger80treehugger80 Posts: 1,923
    edited January 2020
    pine trees don't grow particularly fast, unfortunately anything that grows fast enough to cover the view from that window is not going to stop at that height (unless you prune it) it'll keep going, thats how people end up with 100 foot tall leylandii in their gardens.

    you might want to think about planting a pleached tree in the bed in front of your shed

    these are pleached trees, think hedge on legs, but you can do a single tree if you need to, you can use all sorts of evergreen or deciduous trees
  • FoxiesFoxies Posts: 60
    edited January 2020
    Are the neighbours spending their days behind those windows? Always puzzles me how the same thought about "privacy" doesn't occur the other way round. If a conifer grows that fast to cover such a height, it's probably the wrong conifer. How about a sail that you can put on in the summer and have the little precious sun in the winter unimpeded? Or maybe some trellis with a nice clematis? 
    The difference being that whoever uses David's garden cannot directly see into any of the house windows. Not wanting to sound neurotic here, but I have a neighbour who regularly thinks he can't be seen at his back bedroom window having a good old nose into my back garden. Unfortunately even a 6 foot fence doesn't stop this kind of behaviour.
    Whoever uses David's garden can be seen from any of the house(s') windows and I too would want a little privacy.
    Pleached trees is a lovely idea.

  • AnniDAnniD South West UKPosts: 11,021
    The pleached tree suggestion is a good one, as it will help with the privacy without forming a too solid barrier. I think that due to the angle it would be almost impossible to block the view entirely (short of the old 100 feet leylandii option).
    I am assuming that you want to sit on a patio at the back of the house (where the photo was taken), so you could maybe sub divide the garden with the bleached hedge to block out the windows when you're sitting outside,  if that makes sense. 
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,587
    You don't need a great tall tree because of the rules of perspective.    If you sit in your garden and then look up to those top windows you will see that you don't need a giant to give you some privacy form being over-looked.   Bear in mind also that those windows are probably bedrooms and not much used or visited in the daytime. 

    I would think, instead, of planting a well shaped, deciduous tree which, if chosen well, will give you lovely spring blossom and fresh foliage colour followed by a good canopy in summer when you are most likely to be outside in your garden and then attractive autumn leaf colour and maybe berries.   The bare bones of the tree after leaf fall will provide an attractive view without cutting all the light to your garden or your neighbours. 

    The pleached tree idea is a lovely way to get height and colour and form but can be expensive and requires good maintenance for which you may not have the time, budget or skills while you have young children about.

    Have a look at amelanchier, sorbus, prunus (ornamental cherries rather than plums), acer griseum (gorgeous bark) and so on.  Have a look at these links for other ideas and things to consider.

    https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=117
    https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=636
    http://www.majestictrees.co.uk/garden-screening-trees/privacy-a-guide-to-evergreen-screening-trees.html 
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • TopbirdTopbird Mid SuffolkPosts: 7,592
    I also treasure seclusion in my garden but the size and orientation of neighbouring houses means total privacy is impossible. I have concentrated on making several smaller areas (where we like to sit or sunbathe) totally private.

    Obelixx is quite right - perspective is everything and you don't need very tall planting to conceal a seating or play area. Large shrubs, trellis, a pergola and, of course, trees can all be used. Decide where you need privacy most and then work out the strategic planting position of your chosen tree or shrubs. The closer it is to the area the more screening it will provide.

    If you opt for a tree then Obxx has made some good suggestions. I would definitely add a crab apple to the list to look at. I planted a crab apple called Evereste as part of a screening scheme. After 4 years it is over 3m tall and 2m wide and provides excellent screening through the summer to about 8m away. It is covered in white blossom in spring and the lovely orange cherry-sized fruits usually last well into winter.
    Heaven is ... sitting in the garden with a G&T and a cat while watching the sun go down
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 21,267
    Yes, as you can perhaps see from the diagram below, the nearer you are to the screen/tree the lower it can be. The nearer the screen/tree is to the other house, the taller it will need to be.

    So maybe the idea of garden rooms with smaller, shorter screening plants would work better.


    Incidentally, the author can’t spell “storey”, but maybe they are American and can’t help it.😁



    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • KT53KT53 GloucestershirePosts: 7,564
    We are fortunate in having a long garden so the houses behind us are over 200 feet away.  Nonetheless I value the flowering crab we have about 1/3rd of the way down the garden as it completely obscures any view they might have of our patio and the rear of our house in the summer months. 
  • Papi JoPapi Jo Brittany, France Posts: 3,709
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