Forum home Plants

PLANTS TO SCREEN A FENCE

mikesimsmikesims Posts: 8
We've just had a fence replaced and I now want to screen a 3 metre section of it with tall, fairly shallow-rooted perennials and maybe grasses. A drain runs 0.75 metre beneath the area and so I don't want to plant woody shrubs or bushes because I've just had to pay for root clearance in the drain caused by a previous owner planting a tree (now removed!) over it. It is south west facing, generally sunny but subjected to quite strong prevailing winds. Ideas please.
«1

Posts

  • AnniDAnniD South West UKPosts: 10,998
    *Bump*
    A photo might help to give suggestions,  but in the meantime,  what is the depth of the proposed bed please ? That will help with planting advice  :)
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,991
    edited April 2022
    Your location will dictate the planting. Some plants will be happy, and hardy, in the south of the UK, but wouldn't thrive here, for example.  :)
    If it's a windy, exposed site, and you have no hedging or similar to filter the wind, you'll need a lot of good staking or everything will end up horizontal. Even so, tall plants will be easily damaged. 
    Most shrubs would be fine if the drain is at that depth. 

    I've just realised you said there's a fence. That will help with the wind, depending on what side the planting will be. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • mikesimsmikesims Posts: 8
    It's metre wide strip at the side of the driveway with the fence behind it. I need to screen the fence because I loathe them but it's a necessity. The ground and the old fence was previously covered in thick and deep-rooted ivy and a few other shrubs which had to go because of the drain 0.75m below. The main part of the front garden is a gravel garden with prairie planting. I now need new inspiration for tallish perennials in this part to hide (or least partially hide) the fence. But NO shrubs/bushes.
  • mikesimsmikesims Posts: 8
    It's 3 metres long, 1 metre wide and it's deep enough to dig in new plants to a typical depth. The top 2-3 inches is a mix of soil and gravel with clay below that. We're in the south of England with few frosts in winter (or at least on that sheltered side of the south facing house). The strip faces south west. The main part of the front garden has Mediteranean-type plants and grasses that are drought tolerant and can cope with poor soil.
  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze I garden in South Notts on an improved clay soil Posts: 3,067
    @mikesims When it comes to grasses Calamagrostis Karl Foester stands straight all winter. Cut down late february so then you will need other plants to take centre stage. Possibly 3 plants set out along the length of the fence.
    The most serious gardening I do would seem very strange to an onlooker,for it involves hours of walking round in circles,apparently doing nothing. Helen Dillon.
  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 7,672
    Hmm. No shrubs, so the screening is only needed in the summer?
    Helianthus "Lemon Queen" springs to mind immediately and wouldn't look out of place with your drought-tolerant planting but is better with something in front to hide its legs (same with many tall perennials). Maybe some tall grasses but I have no experience with those so I can't make recommendations.
    Acanthus spinosus is tough and when mature fills a big space over the summer down to ground level, very statuesque/architectural. A row of 3 or 4 would make a simple statement planting, but once you have it it's hard to get rid of if you change your mind.
  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze I garden in South Notts on an improved clay soil Posts: 3,067
    Think you are very limited with what you can grow. The only plants that come to mind with shallow roots and height are grasses and some bamboos which I guess is not suitable. Taller plants generally mean deeper roots. 
    The most serious gardening I do would seem very strange to an onlooker,for it involves hours of walking round in circles,apparently doing nothing. Helen Dillon.
  • B3B3 South East LondonPosts: 24,033
    edited April 2022
    .
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • PlantmindedPlantminded Wirral (free draining sandy soil)Posts: 1,739
    edited April 2022
    I agree with @GardenerSuze's recommendation of the ornamental grass Calamagrostis Karl Foerster.  It will give you interest for most of the year - once cut to the ground in late February, you'll have fresh new growth by mid April.  The flower stalks are particularly attractive over winter when they catch and reflect any winter sunshine.  Three plants will be fine for that space if you want to add other perennials. More will create a modern block appearance, like a hedge.  I'd probably plant five in that space to cover the fence quickly.

    An alternative grass which is also tall and columnar is Panicum North Wind.  It starts to regrow a little later, in May, but has an equally attractive look over winter.  You could use hardy geraniums (Cranesbills, not Pelargoniums) as ground cover around the grasses - they will give you attractive leaves and flowers which will complement the grasses and your other planting. 

    I'd also recommend painting your fence a dark colour - the grasses will then illuminate that space even more!  Also add a mulch of bark chippings, gravel or ornamental pebbles to keep weeds at bay and retain moisture - plus it looks good!
  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze I garden in South Notts on an improved clay soil Posts: 3,067
    @Plantminded A change in fence colour sound like a good idea possibly grey or black, with North Wind.
    I grow Pannicums but in a warm spot they struggle to flower here otherwise. Never been sure why. I have Pannicum Squaw stunning in November.
    The most serious gardening I do would seem very strange to an onlooker,for it involves hours of walking round in circles,apparently doing nothing. Helen Dillon.
Sign In or Register to comment.