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Screening Close To House


I am new to this whole gardening lark with only actually being a home owner for about a year.

My house is very close to a path, and it feels very exposed to the world and like we have no privacy at all as people can essentially look straight in our window as they walk by, I have attached a picture so that you can see what I mean.

I want to put some screening plants in, but I am very conscious of the proximity of the house with one section of it only being about a metre away from where I would need to plant them and the last thing I want to do is end up causing structural damage by what I put in. 

Can you make any suggestions of suitable shrubs that could use for this purpose? 

I have made errors and planted things and taken them back out for fear of damaging the house (a cherry laurel and a goldcrest conifer).  What is still in is a photinia which is the end plant in the bed in the photo, some tiny buxus and a rhododendron, which has grown to about twice the size it is in the photo in the last couple of months (I planted this not knowing about soil acidity requirements so expected it to fail but it seems to be thriving).

Any advice would be much appreciated.




  • Ladybird4Ladybird4 Third rock from the sunPosts: 27,255

    As long as you don't plant a great big tree then you do not need to worry too much about damage to the building. The photinia will get quite tall and if it is the variety 'Red Robin' it can make a nice dense hedge. The Buxus will also grow quite big but probably more slowly than the Photinia. It can be pruned to keep it the height you require. If you have the space left you could plant a Berberis but keep in mind it is next to a path and you woud have to make sure its prickly branches do not obscure the path. The plants you have in are good choices you just have to be patient - this is a quality that all gardeners need to acquire! image

    Cacoethes: An irresistible urge to do something inadvisable
  • CeresCeres Posts: 1,823

    Your photinia has the potentail to grow very big but I don't think you need to worry about the house being undermined. If you are looking for screening plants the buxus won't do the job for you as they are very slow growing and are normally used for low growing hedges or topiary. What you really need are plants that can be kept well trimmed and that will grow tall enough to keep prying eyes from peering into your front room. The photinia fits the bill and if you Google "photinia hedge" you will come across some lovely pictures to give you some inspiration. You can plant a mixed hedge of native plants such as hawthorn, hazel, and hornbeam but this will not be evergreen. Avoid privet. Its dense and green but a bit boring. Your rhododendron, if it survives in the soil, will probably be too wide and will tend to impinge on the pavement.

  • MTB79MTB79 Posts: 21

    Thanks for the replies, I have bought and planted another photinia and planted it. I have also taken some cuttings from the existing photinia and going to see if I can grow one in case the rhododendron ceases it's rapid grow and dies off.

    I will probably move the buxus to line the garden path then in that case.

    Thanks again.

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 19,502

    Those shrubs are going to take a long time to grow tall enough to screen your windows and will need a certain depth to be able to grow healthily.  For a narrow hedge, it would be better to use copper beech which can be kept as thin as 9 to 12 inches.

    I'd have thought a more instant option would be a couple of trellis panels with a pyracantha or 2 trained across..   They are evergreen, thorny so a good human pest deterrent, have spring blossom for pollinators and autumn berries - red, orange or yellow depending on variety - for the birds.   Cheap too.

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • CeresCeres Posts: 1,823

    Ah. Another person who, like me, favours the thorny boundary hedge. There may very well be some sort of regulation barring MTB79 from putting a fence/trellis on the front garden in which case it is best to go for the stealth option and grow your own boundary.

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 19,502

    Yes, I thought maybe that was the case too in which case pyracantha could still be planted and staked till established and kept clipped so it doesn't prickle out on the path.

    There is a method called pegging of tying longer stems on roses to a peg in te ground so they are horizontal or curved over.  It means the sap flows more easily and produces more shoots and flowers.  Would work on pyracantha, tying down the longer side branches..

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • CeresCeres Posts: 1,823

    A bit like old fashioned hedge laying. A good idea.

  • MTB79MTB79 Posts: 21

    Yes, the estate I live on isn't allowed fencing that's why I am trying to separate myself from the road with plants.

    It's not so much I want to completely block the path off, it's more than i want the plants to be the natural draw to the eye, rather than the contents of my front room. Just enough that anyone trying to actually look in would appear to be extremely nosey rather than just casually glancing in.

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