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Fast Growing Screening Trees that Won't Damage a Retaining Wall.

So my new build property has an utterly blank canvas of a garden. The only problem is the developer seriously got their levels wrong and I'm stuck with a 1m double-skinned planter at the back of my garden. Also the neighbour's garden is now 6' higher than mine with only a 5' fence between us. The planter is about 0.7m to 1m wide, gets plenty of sun in the afternoon and has been topped up with good quality top-soil.

I was after suggestions for a row of trees or shrubs to put in the planter to provide some privacy - so something that is quick growing, good for screening, is pretty to look at and won't damage the retaining wall through its root system.  Any suggestions? In terms of the garden's theme we wanted something that is a bit shabby chic with hint of modern... Although with a whole 4 bedroom house to decorate the garden won't be a priority for a while!

Many thanks.



  • hogweedhogweed Posts: 4,053

    Not sure I can see the problem with levels from the photo nor the planter. More pictures please. 

    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • imageimage

    The space between the huge brick wall and the fence is essentially the planter/(very) raised bed. I took these photos last night so hopefully they should make the difference in levels a bit clearer. The planting space is approximately 1 x 6m. Thanks for your help.

  • PalaisglidePalaisglide Posts: 3,414

    I studied those pictures and do not understand the planter bit. You have built a wall which I assume you will fill with soil but what about the fence you cannot pile soil against a fence it will rot. OK the wall is up now, I would have gently sloped or terraced the garden. Forget fast growing trees or shrubs unless you wish to have a problem in future years, more neighbours fall out over fast growing firs than anything else and in the wrong place can lose you hours of daylight by shading out the sun either your side or the Neighbours. Have you thought of adding height to your fences by using trellis up which you can run Roses, Clematis, Honeysuckle, or even fruit trees which can be fanned, Cordon or Espalier to cover a fence providing it gets some sun. You say you have little time for the garden then for now and I hate saying this, lay a few well placed slabs and some decorative gravels with a seating area and wait until you can get to the garden. That way you can at least use the space, it will be clean and tidy easy to maintain for now, meanwhile with trellis atop the fence and some nicely scented shrubs or fruit at least it will do for now. Hope this gives a few idea's.


  • Frank, thanks for your help. It's worth saying that none of this is our handy work - it's the result of the builders who developed the site. Essentially they left us with a steep slope at the bottom of the garden and built the fence on top of it. They got all of the levels wrong and they've been ordered to build the wall by NHBC. The sloping fence is above the soil-line so it won't rot. We did consider terracing but as it's a new build the garden is tiny so every bit of space needs to be flat to be usable (our garage with rear door is only 3m from the end of the garden).

    We've considered trellis but we wondered how to fit it when the fence slopes down so much and the angle changes in two places (thanks to the incompetent builders).

  • Papi JoPapi Jo Posts: 3,992

    Totally agree with Palaisglide's wise advice.

    You are invited to a virtual visit of my garden (in English or in French).
  • hogweedhogweed Posts: 4,053

    Is your garden the bit inside the wall which looks quite level, and the bit fenced outside the wall?

    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • PalaisglidePalaisglide Posts: 3,414

    Flick and Cam, Had another look and see the problem and yes New Build Builders have a lot to answer for. Trellis can be fixed by screwing a vertical support to the fence and or fence posts then fitting the Trellis to those supports, (inside your side of the fence would be best) yes it will be on a slant but after a year any climbing plants should be on the trellis hiding most of it. Trellis is light weight as a rule so does need some good support posts to fasten it to, another way is fix supports to the fence posts rising above the fence and running wires through those posts as a horizontal support for your climbing and rambling roses clematis and there are so many other climbing plants which any good Nursery or Garden centre would advise you on. There is also the aspect to consider, which way does the main fence face, do you get sun or shade or maybe a bit of both, it will all need to be looked at before planting the correct plants, there are plenty of plants for each aspect so the choice will be yours. Fruit trees fanned onto walls or fences can both provide cover and something tasty, climbing plants can be very fragrant and you will want to sit outside sometime with a glass in your hand. The suggestion for a few paves and fancy gravel with a seating area is only so you have some where to relax whilst getting the house in order. Gardening needs time thought and patience at least they have not committed the usual crime of six inches of soil on compacted clay and a roll of lawn that will never prosper. Good luck and come back if you need more information.


    Last edited: 19 October 2016 14:15:00

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