Willow cuttings grow fast, and with regular trimmings can make a fab fence, they can also be weaved and made into any shape you require. But there are many other trees and bushes that grow fast and make a great hedge, with little effort on your behalf.
I would certainly recommend a natural hedge rather than a fence, a natural hedge will never come down in the gales, while any fence will. Also a natural hedge will block out noise better than a fence and also provide you're local wildlife with some shelter and a habitiat, and give smaller creatures (like h.hogs) access to you're garden. A natural hedge will most likely cost you less that a whole fence too and i think it would add value back to you're house.
Hi Katy, Leylandii is a fast growing fir but unfortunately robs the ground of moisture and nothing will grow underneath or around it. Best to avoid in a small garden because it WILL interfere with the foundations of your house and possibly your next door neighbour which will affect your insurance policy. An alternative at the back I suggest laurel which can grow to quite a height and comes in a light and dark green. This will give you the privacy you need. Tall plants will always hide the sun from your garden and if it is small it will become a dark and shady copse that no flowers will like. Another option would be a four foot fence with trellis on the top. Tall fences are prone to collapse in our constant March winds nowadays and eventually will work out expensive and needs painting at least once in every four years. Having neighbours is quite important for elderly people who rely on them for company a quick chat over the fence costs nothing and can be as little as five minutes out of your busy day. Just imagine when you get elderly you may need a friendly neighbour. Your children will grow up and leave home and there is no guarantee your husband will be around. I believe the biggest problem for you would be potential burglars who may be able to see if you are in or not. On the street side I would suggest a small retaining wall with posts and in between fencing this will give you the strength you will need and will look better than a wall of wood. If and when the panels degrade it won't cost to much to replace. However the down side it will cost quite a lot to begin with. You can then grow climbers which will soften up the overall appearance but may take a few years to get established. Jasmin, honeysuckle, rose (best avoid with children around unless thornless), keira, clematis (montana), varigated ivy. In the meantime your children will enjoy planting sunflower seeds and watch them grow. They could have a competition who can grow the tallest one. Good luck and please talk to your neighbour who has obviously cut down the shrubs for a reason. It's not been done to spite you!
Gardens are important places for everyone. In smaller gardens it is impossible to get away from neighbours. Jo please don't forget this elderly person lives next door to someone with children.
Hi Katy - We've got a row of eight bamboos for privacy from our neighbour, but they are all in huge rubber pots, because they are so invasive. There's a low trellis fence in front, to screen the none too pretty pots, and we've also had to rig up a rope line two thirds of the way up, so that the pots don't blow over. The rope is green and covered by leaves, so it works very well. The whole lot cost around £650, but I cannot bear being overlooked. It was instant screening, and the garden is wide enough to take it.
As your garden is small, it really does sound as though a fence with trellis on top would be the answer, you could soon cover it with climbers.
Someone where I live did exactly the same thing as your neighbour, and it was the little girl next door who was complaining that she now had no privacy, and she was just seven at the time. Hope you can manage to find a solution, I'd feel exactly the same way.
jo - It's the readily available phyllostachys aurea, but I'd never plant it in the ground. The pots I use are huge, they came from a garden supplies retailer in Romsey.
They are top heavy of course, which is why we had to rig up a rope line, to stop the wind blowing them over. If we were in our conservatory, our neighbours used to look across and wave to us ( my hubby threatened to sit there in his pants, but I wouldn't let him - got the bamboos instead ). They are now very tall and lush, and when they need a drink, I just jam the hose pipe in the pot and leave each one for ten minutes. I also feed them every fortnight during the growing season. I wouldn't want to be without them now.
Dear Jo, No I am not that elderly but have dealt in the past with a lot of elderly people who often have issues and who are often forgotten. I believe this lady needs to consider the bigger picture. I also agree that bamboo is a very aggressive plant. I was given one piece by a lovely neighbour however it grew and grew and both my other neighbour and I had terrible trouble getting rid of it in the end because it took over both our gardens and was a pain to remove. We got it all out in the end but what a job. We both had a laugh though with lots of tea and biscuits.
I assume the neighbour doesn't have any privacy in her garden now either - perhaps she would be glad of your help in putting up some low-maintenance hedge or fence around her garden, which would also screen yours.
Jo47 - We've got eight of them in a row, and they vary in height between 10 - 12 feet.
I don't dispute anything Verdun is saying, but honestly I've had no problem with them at all. Each pot is standing on a large paving slab, but we did that so that the pots would remain level, we didn't want one side sinking into the earth. There are holes all around the bottom outside edge of the pots and no sign of any roots. The plants were quite thick and bushy when we bought them, and they all produce numerous new canes each year. I actually take out as many canes as they produce because they're as thick as I want them now.
Maybe they're doing so well because I thin them out every year and they're in such huge tubs. I dread to think what decorative pots the same size would cost.
They've been in place for about 7 years now, and after the first two seasons were as thick as I wanted them, and provide total privacy. We can sit in the conservatory or on the patio in peace now. Really the best thing we did, and they actually provided a good amount of privacy as soon as they went in.