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Advice on covering a northwest facing bare fence please

Hello, I am very new to gardening and would really appreciate some advice please on plant choice for covering a bare fence. The fence is  at the back of our garden, shared with the neighbours, the rear side of the fence faces us and it is quite tall so it's a bit of an eyesore. I would like to grow some ideally fast growing climbing plants that are not likely to easily damage the fence. The fence is about 8 metres long and 2.5 metres tall with a trellis section on the top. It faces northwest so it gets afternoon sun in the summer but it is fully in the shade in winter. It is quite exposed to northeast winds that come through from the neighbouring gardens. Our soil is clay.
So far I have considered honeysuckle, but I am unsure whether it would get too heavy for the fence. I would also be keen on ivy as it's good for wildlife but I am worried it will damage the fence. Other options I considered are clematis, but a bit baffled by the wide choice, or possibly a climbing rose. I would love at least one or two evergreen plants to provide colour in winter. Over time I will plant lower shrubs and plants in the front of the border but want to work on covering the fence initially. 
Apologies for the long post and thanks for your time and advice!


  • Pete.8Pete.8 Posts: 10,313
    One suggestion is Clematis Hagley Hybrid  - it would probably be happy there.
    I had one in a north-facing position and it flowered for months during the summer.

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • zugeniezugenie Posts: 801
    Maybe a honeysuckle?
  • bertrand-mabelbertrand-mabel Posts: 2,198
    Chocolate vine Akebia quinata. This grows on the north face of our polytunnel.
    Can be pruned back.

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,152
    edited May 2021
    Just having a bit of trellis at the top means you'll need to add supports for climbers such as clematis, honeysuckle, roses.   Th evergreen clematis won't like the exposure to wind and also, when happy, get very heavy.

    I suggest you look at pyracantha which can be trained as a wall shrub.  It is evergreen, and provides shelter to small mammals, invertebrates and, when mature, birds too.  It has spring blossom which provides nectar for pollinators and berries which feed the birds.   It is thorny too but pruning and training can be achieved with a pir of gloves for protection.

    If you prepare the soil - clearing weeds and rubble then improving with plenty of well-rotted manure the plants will romp away.  You'll need to water them well, tease out the roots so they are encouraged to head off into the soil and then keep them watered all thru their first growing season.   You may need to protect them with fleece in their first winter till they get established and can cope with those winds. for the best varieties.

    Later on you can expand the border in front of them and grow other shrubs, roses, perennials and bulb as time, taste, budget and experience allow.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
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  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 4,409
    Do you actually share ownership of the fence with the neighbour, or just mean it separates your gardens? The answer will affect what you are legally allowed to do...
  • Thank you for all the suggestions. We have checked with the neighbour and they have said it is a shared fence (not sure how this gets defined legally - there was no mention of it in our house buying paperwork) and they are happy for us to grow climbers on it. I do however have doubts whether the fence is strong enough to hold some of the more woody climbers. Would something like honeysuckle and the chocolate vine grow on a stand alone frame built in front of the fence? I have seen a wisteria grown like this in a neighbouring garden and the frame seems to just have 2 horizontal beams at the top about a foot or two apart and the rest is just vertical supports.
  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 8,436
    We have a lot of different honey suckle they aren't heavy,nice smelling flowers,they are on wires,same aspect as yours, hydrangea, just beginning to grow clematis  as well
  • We have a lot of different honey suckle they aren't heavy,nice smelling flowers,they are on wires,same aspect as yours, hydrangea, just beginning to grow clematis  as well
    Are you able to suggest some specific varieties of the above please?
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