Forum home Garden design

Tree advice

I have a small, south-facing front garden in the north-east of England that I’d like to make a little bit more private by planting a few small trees/shrubs around the perimeter.


One of the prospective locations is shown in the photos below. I recently removed a huge lavender bush and have replaced it with 3 small lavender plants which I intend to keep under control by pruning them. Behind the lavender plants I’d like to plant a tree or shrub. Ideally this needs to be:


-          Fast growing;

-          Not grow too big (max 2 metres?) or be too difficult to control;

-          Not send out roots for more than about 2 metres (to prevent damage to my house/the neighbour’s house);

-          Be tolerant of full sunlight – the garden is something of a sun-trap;

-          Be tolerant of cold weather and strong winds – this is northern England!


I was thinking about something like a red acer, but have no idea if that would meet all the above requirements……..









  • Gold1locksGold1locks Posts: 498

    Some pointers to help you choose:

    A tree that is fast growing won't conveniently stop growing at 2 metres. It will need regular pruning, which defeats the object of choosing a tree, as its natural shape will be lost. Better to think of getting a shrub like an elaeagnus, such as a variegated variety. They trend to grow to 2 metres and spread as much. They can be pruned. you could choose a magnolia such as stellata, lovely but slow growing. 

    A Japanese  Acer wont like full sun and wind. Both will disfigure the leaves. And a Japanese Acer will be slow growing.

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,299

    All that is true,and definitely forget the acer.

    In what's left of the light I'm looking out at Rosa glauca. The leaves are blue/grey with a hint of red round the edges, more if the sun ever comes out. Gives an overall reddish colour to the bush. Has small pink flowers and hips later. Puts up with anything, doesn't get diseases, can be cut to fit. Never sulks.


    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • quercus_ruburquercus_rubur Posts: 334

    Nutcutlet I agree with your choice. I planted Rosa glauca last Autumn. I had one in a garden years ago and have always missed it. Finally found it at a rose specialists.

    Agree with Goldi about thinking of shrubs instead. Even if you got the low height it would probably have a wide spread. The RHS list of small trees starts with Amelanchier Ballerina at 4m-8m. 

    I'd also recommend Viburnum bodnantse spp. They can grow to 3 - 4m but can be prunded. They flower through the winter, with the leaves giving privacy in the summer

  • Gold1locksGold1locks Posts: 498

    Viburnum x bodnantense "dawn" and "Charles Lamont" are terrific suggestions. I have both., and they are two of my favourites. They flower October to march, and fragrant. Great for cheering you up as you leave the house on a dark winter day.

  • quercus_ruburquercus_rubur Posts: 334

    Totally! I'd have suffering from SAD if it wasn't for Charles Lamont. No matter what the weather there were always those little pink flowers and the fragrance

  • I would put in a golden Indian Bean tree (Catalpa bignonioides aurea)  I have one that the main trunk is 5 feet tall and to keep it that way I pollard it every year in early spring.  The leaves are quite big and a lovely lime green colour which turn yellow in autummn and then fall off all within a week, so easily swept up and disposed of quickly.  When you keep a tree pollarded like I do mine,  the roots are kept the same size as the tree canopy and so will not cause damage to buildings etc.  a bit like bonsai.  Let the tree get to the height required and then pollard every other year until the tree is starting to need pollarding every year, you will realise when this happens as the growth rate does increase.  This tree is one of the last in the garden to come into leaf, mine is only just showing leaf this year, so do not think it is dead!  Be patient.  It is very hardy, it survived the winter of 2010!!! Hope this helps.

  • Forgot to say that after pollarding the tree looks like a lollipop.  If we get a really hot summer (hahaimage) it will flower too!

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,955

    Pyrus salicifolius- the ornamental pear. Lovely silvery green foliage. Amelanchier lamarckii- light and airy, good autumn colour. Both good choices, though not evergreen, for that situation. They grow well up here in Scotland Jim so should cope!

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

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • steephillsteephill Posts: 2,764

    Crab apple on M9 rootstock - flowers in Spring and fruit for jelly and for the birds.

Sign In or Register to comment.