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Tall evergreen screening

Hi everyone,

My neighbour is in the process of having a rather large extension built which now overlooks our once private garden.

To try and regain some privacy im looking for tall (2.5m/3.5m) evergreen hedge/screening, this needs to be reasonably instant as we cant really wait 3/5 years for it to grow to the required height.

The length of the hedge is minimum 9m, possibly extending to 14m depending how close to the house i plant and whether to go all the way to the end of the garden.

As far as i can see my 2 options are Thuja (Atrovirens/Smaragd) or Cherry Laurel.

Budget would be max £800 and im looking to get rootballs planted in the next few weeks.

any thoughts greatly welcome


  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,065
    edited October 2021
    I would avoid cherry laurel tbh, too large leaved, kind of looks a mess when trimmed with hedge shears. I would go with pleached beech or hornbeam, e.g. here for £840 you can get 5 ready trained pleached beech already 2.7m high, as per the picture below. You can probably shop around for something cheaper. The leaves tend to stay on beech all winter and create a dense screen. You can get evergreen pleached hedging but they tend to cost a lot more. You'll need to either negotiate with your neighbour how you'll trim the reverse side of the hedge, or allow an access strip.

  • PlantmindedPlantminded Posts: 1,986
    Hi @jarrv, by the look of your neighbour's extension and the quality of your fence, @Loxley's suggestion is perfect for your situation.  It will create an instant, subtle, barrier, without having to fight battles and suffer fence damage caused by cherry laurel.  Thuja is another possibilty though, if you prefer evergreen.  It can be trimmed into a slim, well controlled screen and does not suffer from the dead wood look of another notorious conifer when drastic action is taken to control it!
    Wirral. Sandy, free draining soil.
  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,065
    The alternative is to place just ONE larger shrub or tree between the windows and each particular place you tend to occupy the most, on the basis you don't need screening to areas of the garden you don't use that much.
  • jarrvjarrv Posts: 11
    Thanks @Loxley & @Plantminded i hadnt really considered Pleached trees as ive only seen them in isolation at a few garden centres and they all looked rather odd and a little bare on their own.
    Whilst the beech looks great in summer im not a massive fan of the brown leaves over winter, but the red robin may be an option.
    My concern would be how long they take to fill out, if planted now would they have much more foliage by late spring?
    For example this is the 3m tree, which looks a little bare at the moment.

    Part of the reasoning behind the Thuja/Laurel was to block noise and low level visuals where they can peer through the gaps in the fence.
    I agree the laurel may need a little too much room eventually.

  • PlantmindedPlantminded Posts: 1,986
    Hmmm, those kind of neighbours, noise and peering through the fence!  Go for the Thuja, double planted for softening the acoustics and visual blocking!  It's a much nicer choice than cherry laurel and has a nice scent when bruised or trimmed.
    Wirral. Sandy, free draining soil.
  • Doghouse RileyDoghouse Riley Posts: 347
    edited October 2021
    There's some good advice above given here.

    Digressing a bit, this may be of interest. (If not scroll down!)

    Fences can be problem, particularly those of concrete post and waneylap panels. The panels these days don't last that long.
    We have them. I strung strong garden wire laterally between eyes screwed to the posts at a foot apart and tied "stuff" like wisteria, quince, a big euonymus and roses to the wire and nothing to the panels. This means when they need chaging they are easy enough to slide out without disturbing anything. You have to get your neighbour to do the same if you live in a semi.
    The panels tend to rot from the top and it's downhill from there.
    But new boards, batons and caps are as cheap as chips, from a fence supplier. Around a pound for each item.
    I repaired the whole of the top of this fence of 13 panels  a few weeks ago for around forty quid.

  • jarrvjarrv Posts: 11
    Whilst they aren't awful neighbours they seem to be the kind of people who either dont care or are completely unaware that other people exist.
    For example they will happily let their visitors or builders/tradesmen park across our drive so we cant get out and to them it isnt a problem.
    However if i park my car anywhere near their house/drive they come around to complain within 2 minutes  :D 

    Thanks @Doghouse Riley, i need to inspect the fence before planting to make sure its in good enough condition and give it another coat of creocote. 
    I had thought about a raised bed around the base of the pleached trees might be nice.

    Will the thuja grow that close to the fence, what distance should i allow them?
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 50,366
    If you do raised beds @jarrv, you can have more options, because you can use shrubs which will get to a reasonable height fairly quickly [depending on the choice] but will be easier to maintain, as they'll stay in situ a little more easily. Loads of suitable ones from Viburnum and Eleagnus to Elder and Cotinus. Or - you can use some of the many hedging plants - hornbeam, beech etc. 
    The only problem is that you then have the beds to look after, again depending on how they're constructed, and that can mean extra work which you might not want.

    Thuja will be perfectly happy planted quite near the fence.  :)

    Another alternative is to put another simple screen to the inside of the fence [a foot or so away from it]  and grow climbers on it. That means you can have more height. Fences have height limitations, and even when the fence is yours [I'm not sure if that's the case] you have the problem of the neighbours getting snotty if there's a problem, or when plants spill over to their side. A separate screen can be any height, within reason, but would allow a quick-ish fix without too much depth. 
    I've never understood how people can be so rude about parking. It's pathetic. We have a similar situation with a few folk round here. You have my sympathy. The neighbour across the road got so fed up with it, she now has a notice on the fence. Needless to say - it still hasn't stopped them  :|
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • My first thought would be to check with your local council to see if your neighbour actually had planning permission for such a large building in their garden and if so, whether the appropriate regs were adhered to.
    Difficult to tell from your pic whether it is truly an extension as such or whether it would be classed as a separate building. I believe there is a limit on the square footage relative to the original house that can be used for a building in a garden.  There are also restrictions on windows overlooking  a neighbouring property but Councils tend to vary  and I suppose you may have missed the chance to query what appears to be a bit of a monstrosity. 
    The planting suggestions above will hopefully give you an idea as how best you can disguise the building :)
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