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Raised bed and pleached trees for privacy

We have recently moved into a new build with a plot that slopes down from the house and is of course overlooked at the bottom. We are having the garden landscaped and levelled with good sized raised beds so we can plant for privacy. Pleached trees such as hornbeam or photinia have been suggested. Would these do OK in a raised bed or would the roots become too confined in due course? Would we do better with clumping bamboo? Does anyone have any experience of this? Many thanks


  • Beds are 1.2m deep, 0.6m high and length is 9m going round perimeter of garden in an L shape
  • welshcakewelshcake Posts: 118
    I can't give any specific help on this I'm sorry but I am going to follow your post as I am also planning an area that will need some privacy and was wondering about the option of pleached trees or bamboo in raised beds.  I'm sure I read that pleached trees also need to be trimmed from the back as well as the front so if you go with that option, they would need to be far enough into your garden to reach the back of them
  • Yes have read that too, so definitely another consideration. Plan to space out the trees a little to just block those windows which are overlooking and not make the overall effect too overpowering so may be able to reach the backs a bit from the sides
  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Posts: 8,299
    If the raised beds are "bottomless", ie on soil, not on concrete etc, the tree roots will be able to grow downwards.  If they have an impermeable base, or are lined with landscape material at the bottom, I think hornbeam in particular might struggle, particularly in a dry summer.  Shrubs like photinia might be ok, but I have no personal experience of this.  

    The Alnwick Garden in Northumberland has pleached crab apple trees in the formal garden, and they look wonderful; they are less vigorous than hornbeam, but of course don't retain any leaves in winter...
    Since 2019 I've lived in east Clare, in the west of Ireland.
  • That is definitely a question for me to ask the landscaper while he is drawing up the design. May make the decision for me. Yes, was a bit concerned that hornbeam is a little plain year round . Crab apple trees would indeed look lovely, so another consideration to bear in mind. Thanks
  • Hi there, just wondering how your project went in the end? We’re also thinking of pleached trees in raised beds too
  • Hello. Yes, garden is all finished now and looking great. After much deliberation, with unlined bases to the raised beds, we went with several fruit trees instead. We chose established amanogawa trees as they are tall and upright, together with a compact crab apple tree. They will give us privacy without encroaching on neighbours at all. Whilst tempted with the pleached trees I was not personally too keen on their appearance during winter when the frame shows more. Obviously the privacy during winter is greater with the pleached trees though. All comes down to personal preference I guess. Good luck with your project.
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