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Back garden privacy

Hi Everyone, I came back on evening from work and found my elderly next door neighbour had had all her trees and shrubs taken out from her entire garden leaving us completely exposed to the street on the back of us!! We have gone from having a private garden to being exposed at all angles. Between my house and my elderly neighbour we only have a low fence which have never been a problem but now the trees are gone we see straight into each other gardens and looking at a washing line of clothes is not attractive. It's so bad, the only think in our favour is the fact it's been winter but I have small children and the thought of setting up a paddling pool and being looked at by all the people I don't know... No thanks. I don't even open my kitchen blinds now. It's knocked some serious value off our house I tell you! I don't have a clue about gardening and need your advice to what trees/shrubs I should buy.its a small garden and the borders are small so I don't want anything that grows to wide. I would like something that flowers or has colour. Also due to our working hours they have to be easily maintained, I don't want to be trimming the height of them every couple of weeks. Any recommendations would be great. Thank you


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 82,298

    Hi Katy - I suggest a fence of sturdy trellis panels - you can get them 6ft high - this sort of thing - then you can grow a mixture of clematis up them - I suggest you chose some of the Clematis alpina varieties which thrive on neglect and grow quite quickly and don't need any complicated pruning.  Just some clematis fertiliser applied as directed on the packet (you can get it from the garden centre or Wilkos or similar). 

    Although the Alpina clematis aren't evergreen I think you'll find that in the winter  their tangle of stems woven through the trellis will provide you with enough privacy through the winter.  Then in the summer when you use the garden more they'll be covered with leaves and flowers.  

    If you chose other varieties of clematis make sure you choose ones that don't need pruning (they should be labelled Pruning Group 1) then even if they all grow into each other you won't get into pruning muddles. image

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • You say you are now exposed at both side and end of your garden, but as it is small it will be hard to fit in the kind of shrubs that would grow tall enough for the purpose and it would take a while for anything to achieve its full height. There are fast growing things like buddleias, but they are not bushy enough to give the cover you need and  take up a lot of space.

    You could grow things up trellis, maybe build a pergola along one or both fences, with trellis attached on the outer side. Ivy would give you relatively fast evergreen cover where you need it most: you could choose varieties with different coloured or patterned leaves if you liked them. Then you could take your pick from an enticing range of climbing plants for colour and scent: roses, clematis, jasmine, honeysuckle, passion fruit, wisteria and a host of others, to grow on the posts on the garden side, if you did the pergola, or between the ivies if not . Most of them would only need care occasionally, either to prune or to tie in, if not twiners. Once the climbers have grown over the top of a pergola it will give shelter from above and provide a private place to sit, as well as some shade in summer and it would look better than someone else's washing!

  • Thank you dovefromabove, I will look at your links. My neighbour had a trellace attached to her side of the fence... That came down too but seems a good thing to do.

    Buttercup I have decking at the front and right hand side of the garden that holds all my furniture so I don't need a purgla. I'm exposed from the back and the left hand side. It is a small garden, I don't want to eat into anymore of the grass because it is suppose to be child friendly and the last thing I want to do is get rid of the slide and swing. My neighbour got rid of all her trees shrubs on my left side and her back so I have people on the back street looking at me who I have never met. As we are the last house in the street at least 4 houses at the back can see in to our garden without trying!
  • I agree with Runnybeak, we have a Leylandii hedge which gives us complete privacy and it's so popular with the birds at nesting time too. Doesn't take up too much room widthwise either. we also have fence panels and they would give you some privacy whilst the hedge is growing. Ours is up to the bedroom window now and I love it I can sit in bed and watch the birds hopping in and out of it.....of course you can keep it at whatever height suits you and the neighbour. I feel so sorry for you it must have been a real shock when you arrived home to find all your privacy gone . Never mind you'll soon have your privacy back, although Leylandii is unpopular with some it's a marvellous solution to the problem of privacy.


  • will6will6 Posts: 31

    Sorry to dissapoint you guys but we had a leylandii hedge about 20feet high,One of our nieghbours complained about it and we had a visit from a council official who told us we had to keep it down to 12 feet or face court action, We got advice from a solicitor who told us the law about hedges, not single trees had been altered. a single tree can grow to its natural height as long as its not a danger, But a continuous hedge must be kept to a maximum of 12 feet.

  • SwissSueSwissSue Posts: 1,447

    Much nicer and more compact than Leylandii is Thuja Smaragd, can be grown as tall as you want and needs no trimming.



  • Bamboo? Instant height, evergreen screen and provided its contained, can be kept relatively narrow.

    You could put trellis panels up as if they were fences with posts in the ground and run several climbers up it.
  • Thank you for the advice everyone, I will looking in to all the options given. If it was just my next door neighbour that could see me I wouldn't be bothered... But it's the people I don't know that concern me. Privacy is very important, back gardens are our own little oasis I can't wait for it to be sorted out. I defiantly think she should have told me, very shocked!!

    Thank you all again xx
  • As someone who used to have leylandii, I was so glad to see the back of them when I had a chap destroy the things, nothing grew within metres of them!

  • Forester2Forester2 Posts: 1,477

    How awful for you Katy - such a shock - it takes years for things to mature and there it was all gone in a day.  If it happened to me I would have burst into tears.  Can you remember what shrubs etc your neighbour had removed so you could grow similar?  It will also cost a bit to have fencing erected and the purchase of new shrubs.  Perhaps you could concentrate on creating privacy where you are overlooked by unknowns.  I wonder why your neighbour had it all removed - perhaps the maintenance was too much.  

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