Thanks gardeningfantic - I feel really silly that I hadn't thought of that! Shows you how clueless we are with it all. There are gardens nearby with perfectly sized bushy things (!) though perhaps not as pretty as I'd hoped for - I'll have to find out what they are as a start. It's really rather wet and windy (lots of ferns and long grassy things suited to boggy land knocking about) so I stongly suspect it/they'll have to be hardy, I love the idea of roses but haven't seen any locally, maybe too delicate? I'm liking the Sloe, Holly and Hawthorn idea. We've a multitude of small low level little flowers that are really pretty at the front of the border, kind of trailing down the wall (for-get-me-nots I think are one), so I want to keep those and have the hedge/shrubs just behind. Feeling much more confident now - cheers!
What I would do is three obelisks(is that how you spell the word) and space them almost in a triangle to one corner and possibly one to the opposite corner what ive done is grow honeysuckle up them which is evergreen. You could always get different heights and make a feature of this.This would give anyone passing something to look at and you a bit of privacy. You could even make the obelisks yourself with a visit to the local wood and a ball of string. Just another idea Jenny
Have you thought of laurel ? Beautiful evergreen bright green glossy leaves. Blackbirds love to nest in them and the berrys are a favourite with the birds. You can trim to any height and they grow anywhere. good luck with your planting !
Have you thought about things in containers? You can buy, fairly inexpensively, trellis with a container at the bottom, so you could fill that with compost and put whatever you want in it, and it has the added bonus of being portable, so you could move it to one side if you're feeling sociable, and move it to the front if you want a little privacy. A neighbour has bamboo in containers that he uses as a screen for a motorbike trailer, again, it's portable and it can be moved to wherever it needs to be. You also don't have to worry about the type of soil you have with containers, too, so you can put in whatever takes your fancy, and as long as the climate is OK (I suspect that rules out any type of palm), bob's your uncle. Good luck with it, before you know you'll have got the gardening bug.
have you thought of willow hurdles? they look very natural and come in different hights.
you can then grow many plants shubs up this and i think whould be great for the cottage look...
Don't know if I'm allowed to do this, but I'll try and if the moderators don't like it, they'll remove it (sorry mods), but as you're North Derbyshire, you'll have a JTF near you (there's one in catcliffe in sheffield/rotherham), and they have a sale on at the moment, you can buy a trellis with a wooden planter at the bottom for £4.99 (add on VAT). I'll be off there later next week when I have some money, as I've got some climbers I've ordered, and not managed to get the border clear (it's blackthorn that's got a very bad wooly aphid infection that's scarred it), as I'e got some sparrows nesting in there, and want to let them bring up their babies before I chop their house down!
I,ve not read through all the replys but i would advise putting in a couple of posts then run wire betreen them. Once you have this fram you can then grow up it a selection of clematis ans if you mix the plants you put in you could have it flowering for most of the season. then to keep your barrier all year also plant in a few evergreen climbers. I,ve done this for a few clients and when it,s had a few years to mature i9t looks great. Also have it as high as you like with no need for planning permision. It,s even possible to make it have thorns to add securijty. Hope thats some help to you