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ornamental grasses or bamboo for shaded screening

Hi everyone,

I am creating some new raised beds at the back of my small south-facing garden. I would like to plant some tall grasses or bamboo to screen our garden slightly from our neighbours houses and gardens behind. The back border has a north-facing aspect and is the shadiest part of the garden. I'm looking for an evergreen option that doesn't mind the shade. Ideally it would be something that grows not too much in depth so I can plant other things in the front of the bed. Any planting suggestions would be much appreciated!

Thanks :smile:

Posts

  • KiliKili Posts: 855
    edited May 2020
    Bamboo will do what you want but, if you do plant bamboo make sure its the clumping type else, it will run rampant all over the place and you'll be forever chopping the damn roots to stop its spread. The roots will spread out from the bottom of your raised bed unless its concrete base.

    Clumping make sure its clumping :D

    'The power of accurate observation .... is commonly called cynicism by those that have not got it.

    George Bernard Shaw'

  • Thanks for the advice Kili :smiley:

    I've got concrete bases on the raised beds but I think I'll still stick with the clumping type to save having a bamboo jungle and nothing else in the beds!
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,047
    If they have concrete bases, you'll need to make drainage holes somewhere.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Hi Fairygirl,

    Thanks for pointing this out :smile: We've got a drainage hole once every 30cm, do you think that will be sufficient?
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,047
    Probably - but it largely depends on the volume, and type, of soil in the beds etc. 
    Bamboo roots will find their way out of them too, and probably block them, so be very careful.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Fairygirl said:
    Probably - but it largely depends on the volume, and type, of soil in the beds etc. 
    Bamboo roots will find their way out of them too, and probably block them, so be very careful.
    Sounds like the bamboo could be risky! Would you recommend something other than bamboo that could give a similar screening effect without taking up all the depth of the beds? (We're going for a reasonably modern style.)
  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 4,436
    edited May 2020
    If the raised beds are on concrete, I would go for Phyllostachys nigra or aurea because they are really perfect for your intended purpose. You could put a drainage layer of clean stone in the bottom of the beds, then line them out (bottom and sides) with a geotextile before adding soil, to help prevent the roots clogging up the holes. 

    Phyllostachys can spread if they're really happy, but I doubt they will escape your raised planters by the sound of it. I have P. aurea in 40x40x40cm containers, and they've done really well for the last three years without any special treatment. I do cut out canes periodically to stop the clumps getting too dense.
  • WillDB said:
    If the raised beds are on concrete, I would go for Phyllostachys nigra or aurea because they are really perfect for your intended purpose. You could put a drainage layer of clean stone in the bottom of the beds, then line them out (bottom and sides) with a geotextile before adding soil, to help prevent the roots clogging up the holes. 

    Phyllostachys can spread if they're really happy, but I doubt they will escape your raised planters by the sound of it. I have P. aurea in 40x40x40cm containers, and they've done really well for the last three years without any special treatment. I do cut out canes periodically to stop the clumps getting too dense.
    Thanks for the advice! I'll take a look at these options and see what we can do about protecting the drainage holes
  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 4,436
    edited May 2020
    You could plant them in very large plastic pots or tubs within the raised bed... after a few years the roots will be almost bursting the pots apart, but you can then fairly easily lift, split and replant to keep them healthy but well under control. The downside is you'd have to pay more attention to watering and feeding them individually.

    Mine let me know when I've been neglecting to water, by shedding leaves; but they're tough, luckily. They're in shade too which helps.
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