Desperately need ideas and suggestions for hedge/fence line
Morning, I really need some help with trying to figure out what to do with my fence line.
At the moment it's been planted with a mix of living willow and leylandii, both of which I really dislike. It was planted by the previous owners, and we've been here now for 9 months.
The leylandii I hate, and it will be coming out. It is too oppressive, thankfully not too huge yet (compared to what it could get to), and grows way too quickly. I also hate the look of most conifer types.
Likewise the willow - lovely idea, but grows like a bugger, is too hard to stay on top of, is waaaay too big, and is a magnet for swarms of wasps making it untouchable.
So...the technical bits. Behind the garden is a steep drop to a stream/ditch (delete as necessary!) about 2m down. Both the leylandii and willow have been planted just the other side of our fence line at the top of the ditch-bank, just before the drop. The other side of the stream/ditch is a small copse of trees, which don't belong to us. We've got riparian ownership of our side, although is not technically part of our garden boundary. But it means that we've only got glimpses of the houses beyond, so is still fairly private. Our fenceline is east facing, the soil is clay, ph is on the acidic side.
I am completely stumped by what I can replace this whole boundary with.
I don't want high solid fencing as it would be too severe, but would maybe consider things like willow/hazel hurdles. I don't know much about other fencing options, so any suggestions welcome.
OR, the other option is to plant another hedge, but I have absolutely no idea about what I could plant or what works. I don't want anything that would grow too tall (eg leylandii!) or wide, and it has to be something that is fairly easy to maintain as access to the other side isn't great.
The bonus would be if whatever goes in is also wildlife friendly, as there are loads of birds and other wildlife round here, which I love.
Will post the series of photos on the next post!
Edited to add: we don't have a huge budget for this at all, so whilst there are probably loads of super fancy ways to deal with this, we can't afford most of them...!