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Stuck on a hedge!

I'm trying to plan how to make my new front garden a bit more private and i'm going around in circles!! Please help! Below shows the view from my living room window. I have three young kids who are going to be playing a lot in this space (and jumping naked in paddling pools in the summer, no doubt) so the fence at the front needs screening from the neighbours and the road. It's about 10 metres long and east facing (Chalky Soil?). 


I'm completely new to gardening and I've spent the past week obsessively reading garden websites and small garden design books and came to the conclusion that, before I get carried away with beautiful shrubs and the odd small tree, I should start with a simple hedge. I decided on a prunus Lusitanica (Portuguese laurel) but then after working out that it will cost a minimum of £300 to fill that space, thought perhaps I should just go for a privet at a third of the price if I plant bare root plants. I have so many questions, I don't know where to start! 

If I planted a line of bare root privet plants (120-150cm) how long would this take roughly to produce a hedge with leaves! Would this be a good starting point? Could I plant climbers and shrubs near the fence while the hedge is getting established? Could I prune the lower branches of the privet (say to fence height) to give more space for underplanting? I'd love to grow climbers through/over the hedge eventually - would privet be ok for this? Would Portuguese laurel be better for this? I considered other hedges but most were either less tidy looking or not evergreen. Arghhh!!

What would you do?!!! 



  • Here's abother view - the boundary that needs screening is shown in red.


    Thanks in advance for any opinions or advice! :-)

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,645

    If you grow climbers through a hedge they will suffer when you trim the hedge so I would drop that idea.  

    Portuguese laurel is very vigorous and, IMHO, desperately dull to look at.  have you thought about pyrcantha?  It's evergreen and can be grown as a hedge and will offer shelter for wildlife as well as nectar in spring and berries in autumn.

    Does it have to be a hedge?  A fence of trellis panels would screen you and allow you to grow any number of climbers very happily.   As they would need a bed of well prepared soil to grow in you could extend it deep enough to plant other ornamental shrubs in front.

    If trellis panels seem too expensive, just erect 2m high fence posts at 2m intervals and stretch wires between them at 12"/30cm intervals to support climbers such as roses, honeysuckle, clematis, winter flowering jasmine..........  Make sure the posts are buried in decent concrete boots to support them when the winds blow and as the plant weight increases.

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • DOS1DOS1 Posts: 5

    I take it the children are only small - growing a hedge will take quite a few years to be an effective screen. 

    I would suggest trestle fencing with climbers such as Russian Vine , Honeysuckle, Clematis which will grow fairly quickly and give good screening during the spring and summer months but will be less dense in the winter.

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,645

    Not Russian vine.  It's a thug and ugly except for a couple of weeks of the year before the flowers go brown.

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • how about instead of a hedge of one species, have a line of differing large shrubs?

    that way you get seclusion without the need to trim every year and a monotone green line at the end of your garden? you could even plant trees on the old fence line to give a bit of variety in height.

    in the meantime you could put a taller more solid fence in?

  • RedwingRedwing Posts: 1,439
    Obelixx says:

    Not Russian vine.  It's a thug and ugly except for a couple of weeks of the year before the flowers go brown.

    See original post

     Agreed.  I would plant a mixed hedge.  Hedges do take several years to establish though.  Now is the perfect time to do it as you can buy bare rooted plants very cheaply.  Get the largest you can afford.  Privet is good and will establish fairly quickly and is evergreen in many areas.  I would go for a mixed hedge of privet, hawthorn, holly and roses but there are plenty more to choose from. 

    Based in Sussex, I garden to encourage as many birds to my garden as possible.
  • OldtykeOldtyke Posts: 155

    What about Lonicera nitida, the shrubby honeysuckle? Evergreen , (or gold), fast growing and easy to keep in check.

  • Certainly not laurel - it's boring and takes up space. Not pyracantha with 3 kids - it's got murderous thorns, the only sort that give me a reaction. I'd think about having a random line of shrubs, bamboos, etc., some nearer the boundary than others, and don't be too concerned about an impenetrable privacy barrier.

  • lb191lb191 Posts: 80

    I was wondering what your neighbour is using for their hedge in the photo? They could tell you everything you need to know and you will know it grows well and what it will look like.

    I planted a bare root mixed native hedge and ran a cheap mesh fence next to it for dog containment. It was four years before I removed the fence and now on year five it's about 80% of how thick I want it during summer. During winter it's still pretty bald even though some are supposed to retain their leaves.

  • For people suggesting a 2m high fence, remember (I am pretty sure) that you need planning permission for a fence higher than 1m that borders a road...

    Looking at the photo from above, I'm not sure if that rule would apply or not!

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