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Tall privacy hedge for a slope - is there a better option than Cherry Laurel?

We want to plant a hedge to give us some privacy from the building nextdoor (ASAP), but the garden is raised, the boundary being the bottom of a slope. We're thinking of planting a hedge along the mid-to-bottom of the slope, with something that gets tall, 4-5m minimum.
Cherry Laurel seems to tick most boxes, but I'm not keen on the appearance or potential upkeep once it's the size we want it. 
Is there another option for this situation? 
(Excuse the lawn, it was unattended for a year and completely overgrown with moss, it's being scarified). 


  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 6,049
    A selection of shrubs planted in a border along the edge of the level part at the top of the slope? They could then be less tall, and needn't be a clipped hedge, you could have a mix of deciduous flowering shrubs and evergreens. Maybe a strategically-positioned tree or two if you have a seating area that you want to mask the view from.
    I think I would make a curved border to have room for some flowers as well, but it depends on what you like and have time to manage. Something like this:

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,063
    edited 8 April
    Hi @BerserkBread4. The only drawback of having a hedge that height is that there are regulations surrounding them. You might get objections from other neighbours, and that might end up with you having to cut them right back.
    However, laurel would certainly do the job, but it'll take a while to reach that sort of height, despite being a rapid grower once established. It will require a fair bit of maintenance involving ladders or telescopic trimmers etc, so bear all that in mind too.
    Anything that can reach that height quickly [ie in two to three years] could be problematic, because of that rapid growth. Leylandii is a classic example.  :)
    You'll also get a lot of shade created by a hedge that height. 
    I appreciate that it's not an easy site, but a hedge of a standard sort of height will actually give you quite good privacy most of the time.
    A single row of assorted trees, with light canopies, might be better. There are plenty of good options which will be more attractive than a big dense hedge. They  would filter the view, and would be easier to maintain, but again - they won't grow quickly. If you have deep pockets, you can buy mature specimens, but that can be very difficult too, as they're harder to establish initially. You could plant them nearer the top of the slope, and use some easy groundcover for the slope itself.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 SomersetPosts: 9,216
    @'Fairygirl - I wondered whether a long pergola affair would work for @BerserkBread4 with some climbers grown up the posts and along the horizontal beams with shrubs grown between the posts. Instant height and less work than a hedge perhaps? What do you think?
  • Thanks for the replies everyone!
    We've toyed with the idea of a linear pergola type structure along the top edge of the slope @Lizzie27, are there climbing plants we could use that would be quick growing / tough? 
    I love that idea @JennyJ, are there any types of tall shrub that you could suggest? I think whatever we go with we'll need some height and filtering quickly, it's so overlooked that it's hard to imagine it ever being usable / private enough. 
    I really like the idea of a few trees @Fairygirl, our neighbours told us there were 5 big 10m+ trees on the slope around 10 years ago (we've still got the stumps) and everyone loved them as they obscured the building for all the gardens. And the owners of the building have asked if we're going to put a hedge in (they don't want to see directly into our garden either), so we'll have no issues from neighbours. Although we don't know why they were cut down, the ground on the slope is full of rubble.  
    The other advantage for us of a hedge on the lower part of the slope would be security, without planting something along the bottom we'd probably have to pay for a new fence.
    Maybe something less tall and more easily manageable than laurel along the bottom of the slope (for security and some privacy) and a mix of taller shrubs, evergreens and trees higher up could work. 
    I've been reading up on laurels and it might be too late in the year to plant them now anyway :/ 
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,063
    You could plant your laurels at any time if they're potted. The ideal time is autumn through until spring, simply because it's easier to establish them due to the temps and weather.  :)
    Any shrub or climber you plant will take some time to grow - several years. It's not instant. Anything that grows very quickly can be problematic because of that rapid growth. 
    A few thorny shrubs on the slope will give you more security - it's why they're often recommended as boundaries. Berberis, Mahonia, Pyracantha, Ilex [holly] would all do the job, but you'll need to leave enough room for any maintenance. If you do that. they could mainly be along the lowest part, and you could have a mix of other types higher up - more user friendly ones. There are loads, and you'll get plenty of suggestions if you decide to do that. Then the trees or pergola/screen nearer the top. There are plenty of climbers that will suit, depending on the conditions, but you'll need to create a proper border and prep the soil well as it's been grass.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 6,049
    @fairygirl is absolutely right, anything that grows quickly doesn't just stop at a convenient height. There are some deciduous shrubs that will make 6 feet plus growth in a season once they are established, I'm thinking of Buddleia and Sambucus, but normally they would be pruned reasonably hard in the early spring then quickly grow up and flower. You might not get that much growth in the first season while they're getting their roots down, and they drop their leaves in autumn so the best screening is midsummer to autumn (which might be when you're using the garden most).
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