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Screening my garden from the overlooking flats (and train station!)

rtn8rtn8 Posts: 10


I’m looking for some ideas/advice, please, regarding how to block my garden from being overlooked by some neighbouring 3-storey flats and also to, as far as possible, reduce the noise/intrusion of passing trains. I am thinking that some form of fast-growing evergreen tree some species of conifer, perhaps) would probably be the best bet.

As you can see in the attached photos, my garden backs directly onto the train line (well, actually, onto a provincial train station). There is about a 1 metre gap between my back fence and the metal railings that form the boundary of the train platform.

I would like to plant something in the gap between my fence and the metal railings that will grow tall enough to obscure the view of the flats and the train platform.

In order to block the view to/from the flats from my upstairs window (from which photos 01 and 05 were taken) the trees (or whatever I plant/erect) would have to reach a height of about 5 metres (and preferably no more – I don’t want anything that will grow to the height of the conifers my neighbour to the right has!)

Photo 01 was taken from a first floor window and shows the full length of my garden plus the flats that overlook it.

Photos 02 and 03 show the patch of land between my back fence and the iron railings of the train station platform. As you can see, the ground is pretty poor quality (full of stones and weeds, etc.)

Photo 04 shows my garden from ground level as a train passes behind it.

Photo 05 is like photo 01 except that it includes a train as it passes through. As you can see, the train is quite intrusive to the view.

Thank you.



  • Buzzy2Buzzy2 Posts: 135
    You could move the shed into the other corner. for a start!
  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 7,658
    I think your neighbours have the right idea, having their seating area down by the fence where people in the flats probably can't see them, and an umbrella/parasol for extra screening
  • Liz.SprLiz.Spr Posts: 31
    edited May 2021
    You're not allowed to plant in that gap if the land belongs to the railway.
    I have green thumbs and no aphids on my roses.
  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 7,658
    For planting in the gap, the first thing to be sure of is that it's actually your land. If it belongs to someone else (maybe Network Rail?) they might chop down or spray anything that grows there. The second thing is can you access it safely to plant and maintain anything that you put there? Is the barbed wire yours (that you can remove) or someone else's?
  • rtn8rtn8 Posts: 10
    To be honest, I'm not sure who owns that strip of land between my fence and the iron railing of the railway station but, if I had to guess, I would imagine that it is Network Rail. That said, there are, to the left and right, a lot of trees planted in this strip of land - including those huge conifers my neighbour to the right has. So, that being understood, I am willing to bring my shed, etc. forward and plant ... something in front of my back fence panels in order to obscure the view. The view from upstairs of my back garden is from what I now call my "study" and the place I work from home, full time, now (so it does play a much bigger part in my life these days and for the foreseeable future).
  • rtn8rtn8 Posts: 10
    Hi Songbird-1. Thank you so much for your response and encouragement. I am a complete novice at this gardening lark – this being the first house I have owned – and I barely know a camellia from a cucumber. I will look in to a Hoheria.

    On the advice of a garden centre (based on the criteria set out in my original question, above) I got a rowan tree last year and planted it in a very large pot next to the fence. Unfortunately, it became clear, almost immediately, that it was dying and I had to move it. It wouldn’t have been any good for the purpose of obscuring the flats/train line anyway as it lost all its leaves in the winter! Clearly, for year-round privacy I need some type of evergreen.

  • AngelicantAngelicant CheshirePosts: 128
    You could look at Photinia Red Robin, they are a large shrub/small tree and grow 30-40cm a year up to 7m and 3m wide, but would probably need to be in the ground to reach that sort of height, not in a pot. Evergreen with red new foliage and quite dense and very easy to trim to shape 
  • AstraeusAstraeus SheffieldPosts: 313
    If it just so happened that buddleia or something else typically railway-side started to grow in the gap, do you think NR (who will own the land) would notice/care/act? There is already a tree in the spot.

    Other than that, shed to the other side, seating area with pergola and climbers up it!
  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 7,658
    Network rail probably wouldn't bother with trees in the gap as long as they didn't shed leaves onto the platform (slip hazard when they get wet, people could sue them) or on the lines (apparently makes train brakes less effective so causes delays and they have to compensate the train operators). The point is that they could if they wanted to, so I wouldn't spend a huge amount of money on it.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 82,102
    They might also be in the habit of annual weedkillering that strip ... otherwise I'd expect weeds to be growing there already ... so anything that's planted there will be sprayed anyway.
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

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