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20ft screen/conifer ideas please

Dear All,

Hello, I am new here and hoping you can help me. 

A new build has gone up on the other side of my fence at the bottom of the garden and I am wondering how I can block/partially block the view. I would like something in the region of 20ft/6mtr high, evergreen and fairly fast growing.

I considered Leylandii, but from what I have read they do not stop growing at 20ish feet, and I would not be able to trim a 20ft hedge/tree.

I suppose I am looking for conifers that stop growing when they reach 20ish feet. I'm not looking for a solid screen, just a couple of conifers to break up the view and hide bedroom windows!

I have considered the effect on the new build and will discuss my conclusions with them.

Thanks for your help,




  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 82,143

    It's often much more useful to plant trees nearer your house, rather than on the boundary, as perspective means that the trees don't actually have to be so tall - it's hard to describe this without being able to draw you a picture - can I recommend you look at Alan Titchmarsh's book Small Trees image

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

  • Gold1locksGold1locks Posts: 498

    Any conifer that grows to 20 feet in five to ten years isn't going to stop growing. They are uninteresting as hedging, and starve the soil  of nutrients.

    Think about a shrub / tree (or several) such as Cotoneaster 'waterii' that is an attractive evergreen, grows to 15 - 20 ft in around 7 years, and produces lovely flowers,  superb berries - birds love it. It is a lax grower, which is why it flops a bit and grows out rather than up after that - It won't get any taller. You can buy them as shrubs for £7 - I bought one for my MIL last week for exactly the same reason as you. 


  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,972

    It's a common problem Maria and the previous posts are excellent advice. Another suggestion is to create interest within your own garden at eye level with some focal points- trees/specimen shrubs/statues/large pots etc which draw your eye away from the boundary and into your own garden and therefore lessen the impact. Trees with an airy canopy create some movement.  Dove is suggesting a similar solution I think. (?)image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,114

    Evergreens are very depressing.  Trees are so much better.  Even when they drop their leaves, your brain will have learnt to focus your eyes into your own garden rather than the building beyond.  That sounds odd, but most people filter out road noise, so they hardly hear it.

  • Gold1locksGold1locks Posts: 498

    Pittosporums are lovely but many varieties are not reliably hardy in many areas of the country. I lost two in a reasonably sheltered garden in Nottinghamshire a few years ago. Not so bad if it's just one specimen, but if they are used as a permanent screen then in the wrong location a really cold spell could kill them all off sometime over the next 10 years or so. So choose a hardier variety and talk to an expert in your garden centre. 

  • Another option would be laurel (Prunus Laurocerasus).  It's evergreen, pretty quick growing, doesn't require much pruning and, in fact, if it isn't pruned too much will produce white flowers followed by berries.  Not too fussy either, will tolerate sun or shade and most soils (although I don't think it is keen on chalk?). Better than Leylandii anyway.  

  • steephillsteephill Posts: 2,618
    Bear in mind that the law has changed regarding hedge height. Anything over 2 metres could now be challenged. Something shorter but closer might be more effective.
  • Thank you for your ideas and comments. I like the idea of other interests in the garden, but with two children and and two jobs I am not sure when I would get a chance to do anything, and you need to have ideas, I'm not really an ideasy person, more of a tell me what to do and and I'll get it done! I kind of just wanted something quick and easy (we've had trouble from the residents, with catapaults and broken windows and I kind of just want to block them out!).

    Like the idea of laurel, I had thought of that one, also rhododendrone (sorry for spelling). I know there have been issues with them taking over woodland, but I love the colours and flowers - any good do you think? 

    Thanks again for responses, much appreciated.


  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,972

    Maria I totally understand your reasons! Rhodies can be good as you can use them like an informal hedge but leave them as shrubs in their own right. Like any other plant it's a question of picking the right varieties. They do get big but you can either do a bit of judicious pruning now and again to keep them in check or give them a good haircut every couple of years. The flowers are a bonus of course but like most hedging they take a fair bit out of the ground so it depends what other planting you want nearby. As you're a busy woman I guess you want something that you don't have to spend hours maintaining either!!image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Thanks Fairygirl....maintenance no not me, I couldn't even grow the 'ready made' mini hyacinths I got for my birthday recently, think I meant to water them or something!!! There won't be any other planting nearby as I am hoping to pave the area as a seating area, it's the sunnest spot in the garden.

    Thanks again.

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