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Create privacy in garden


I'm after suggestions to create a solution that allows for more privacy in my garden.
As you can see from the below pics, it's quite small and very overlooked. What trees or plants would be good to create a screening effect that doesn't block out much light? Heard pleached trees could be an option but expensive?

I don't really want trellis and am after a 'green' solution. Any help most appreciated!

Many thanks



  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 20,461
    What about some smallish trees? Apple, crab apple for example, blossom in spring, fruit in autumn. Or pretty trees like Amalanchier, white flowers and good spring and autumn leaf colour?
    Dordogne and Norfolk
  • PlantmindedPlantminded Wirral (free draining sandy soil)Posts: 1,760
    Pleached trees or shrubs would give you that immediate screening, but you are right, they are expensive.  They can also be problematic if your garden is not sheltered - the attached trellis-like structure can act like a sail and cause the main trunk to break in severe winds.  A selection of small lightly leaved trees would be a good option as suggested above.

    If you want all year privacy, consider small evergreen trees or tree-like shrubs such as Arbutus unedo, Portuguese laurel, Holly, Red Cedar (Thuja plicata), and Griselinia littoralis.
  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 4,297
    I suspect you may feel more overlooked than you actually are. Most of the windows aren't that close and your garden won't be the only thing for anyone to look at, even if they have nothing better to do.
    The closest windows appear to be the ones behind the play area, and a pretty tree with  spreading branches would help obscure the view from both sides. It wouldn't need to be evergreen unless you expect to spend a lot of time in the garden in winter :)
    You could add more trees, or some tall shrubs but you might risk losing a lot of your sunshine in such a small garden.
  • Thank you for your suggestions, much appreciated. 

    I would certainly look into planting some trees in order to provide some privacy - my only concern is I wouldn't want anything to bushy that will 'spread' and impeded too much on the garden it's limited already. Would be looking for something tall & fairly thin/narrow? 
    Any possible suggestions please?

    Many thanks
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,201
    The narrow Prunus - amanagowa, is the only one I can think of that's columnar and has flowers.
    Many of the Sorbus [rowans/mountain ash] have light canopies, but they need plenty of moisture to thrive and be at their best. Amelanchiers are also good, but they both have some spread, albeit light and airy, rather than dense.
    Bear in mind that anything you plant isn't going to be instant in terms of cover. It takes years for a tree to establish and look quite mature.
    If you have the bank balance to buy very mature specimens, you also need the knowledge and experience to get them happy and established.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • PlantmindedPlantminded Wirral (free draining sandy soil)Posts: 1,760
    There's a range of fastigiate or narrow, columnar trees that are suitable for small gardens.  Have a look at this link to see if there's anything you like, taking note of the estimated height and spread which can take up to 20 years.

    Columnar or Fastigiate All Ornamental Trees (

    Young trees will take time to establish and create the privacy you are looking for, more mature trees are expensive and need care to establish well as @Fairygirl has said above.

    Some of the evergreen shrubs mentioned in my earlier note can also be grown and pruned into tall columnar shapes to block out the view into your garden from some of those windows strategically!

    I've used Griselinia in my garden as a hedge to hide a fence and as a tall shrub to block out the view of my neighbour's garage.  The hedge I have grown is over 6 foot high but just a foot deep so it will not impede on your garden.  You could grow it in a series of blocks if you don't want a full hedge.  Here's some photos of how I've used it in my garden.  (Sorry about the sideways photos!)



  • philippasmith2philippasmith2 Posts: 2,446
    Whatever you decide to plant, you will obviously be losing some of your lawn.  Looking at your pics, I think @Buttercupdays has a point and it could be more your perception of being overlooked than is actually the case.  Agree tho that you want to get something in there to create some interest and make the garden seem more private.
    Why not consider growing some interesting climbers against the fence ( presume it is yours ? ) which you would see from your house windows ? 
    You don't mention the aspect so you would need to consider that and as it appears to be a new build, you will no doubt have to improve the soil too.
    I think you would certainly get away with a couple of carefully chosen and sited trees but perhaps think on that as they grow, they will shade the garden to a greater or lesser degree.
    Not an easy task so the very best of luck with your project :)  
  • I would look to add privacy to an area where you will be sitting/relaxing. It’s very hard to shield off your entire garden without losing a lot of space and natural light. You can focus on the areas you feel more overlooked using a pagoda or small trees/shrubs around a table or seating area. 
  • WhalehqWhalehq Posts: 10
    Some excellent suggestions about. I have similar issues. A tree that ticks a lot of your boxes is the Holly Nellie Stevens. It grows in all aspects from full sun to full shade, grows in a neat pyramidal shape, is evergreen, birds like it and its widely available. I bought 4 standards last year for £1200 and they are doing pretty well.

    I looked at pleached trees myself but you're talking c.£500.00 a tree and a standard does the same thing and the right tree can be clipped into a raised hedge if planted close enough together.
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