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Non-invasive bamboo in a narrow border

I have a privacy issue in my garden. On one side the house next door is set back from ours and with only a 4 ft fence it feels like they are in our garden! I had a thought the other day about putting in some non-invasive bamboo so it doesn’t pop up on their side but could give us a big 4metres high or so screen, but the border our side of the fence is only 50cm. My worry is it will pop up their side or spread and break the fence. There’s fence, 50cm border and then a concrete path before our grass lawn starts. Is this a possibility or do I need to start thinking about another option? We could potentially dog out the path but there’s a manhole and sewage pipe. I’m making it sound delightful aren’t I?!  Many thanks for your help in advance! 


  • FireFire Posts: 18,927
    Welcome to the forum. I would personally treat all bamboo as postential invasive, even the clump forming kind. Neighbours are having great problems with  clump forming bamboo, spreading all over, pushing through membrane and paving.
  • Ah ok. Thank you. I’m desperate for a solution to get some height and green and feel less overlooked. Is it possible to plant in containers perhaps? 
  • It could be done in containers but I'd recommend strong ones like galvanised steel, as the bamboo is pretty destructive of containers. Also, they would require a lot of water. 
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 12,365
    You could think about putting trellis on top of a 4ft fence - is it yours or theirs? If it's theirs, you would have to erect your own posts your side to put the trellis on or ask their permission to attach it to the existing fence. Then you could grow a climber or two in your narrow bed. I'd avoid bamboo if you can.
    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
  • Trellis just won’t cut it. It feels like their house is in our garden. Hence the bamboo idea. I was hoping we’d get a good 4 metres +! It’s a real conundrum but I will take the advice about bamboo. Thank you! 
  • MarlorenaMarlorena Posts: 8,618
    I'm not as anti-bamboo as a lot of people so here are some things you should consider..

    ..the only variety suitable for your purpose is Fargesia robusta 'Campbell'... I've seen this grown close to a boundary fence..
    ... this is usually sold, sometimes in a hedging bundle, at around 25 or 30 pounds, for a 5 litr pot.. the plant will be about 3 feet tall... it takes around 5 years to reach 4 mtres.. can you wait that long?  you may have moved by then..?  it sounds as though you expect something to be instantly 4 mtres... that's not going to happen, unless you spend an absolute fortune on large plants.. will have to maintain it, by slicing off any culms growing towards the boundary each Spring.. very easy to do as they are just under the surface and you will see them popping up... some have to remain to renew the plant.. 

    ... my 'go to' advice for bamboos is Paul Whittaker... here are a couple of links if you want to read what he has to say... these are short and concise, and make interesting reading I think.. even if not recent... his nursery was taken over by Bowden's, hence the name appearing there.. attention to the last paragraph here..

    several further links to short articles that should be of interest, that appeared in newspapers....

    East Anglia, England
  • K67K67 Posts: 2,507
    Have you spoken to the neighbours as to whether they feel the lack of privacy in their garden, maybe they would like a taller fence and you could offer to help with the costs though you haven't answered whose fence it is at that makes a huge difference as to what you can do.
    Putting up your own posts as Lizzie suggested if it's not yours is the answer, then you can attach that bamboo screening you buy on a roll or use roofing lathes horizontally between the posts for a more permanent solution, then you could grow some climbers on it planted  in large pots or tall grasses.

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