Plants/shrubs for privacy! Blank canvas help

DaddyADaddyA Posts: 24
edited 15 April in Garden design
I moved into a new build last year. 
My garden slopes down moreso towarss the back. The fences are built in a way that they also slope down! 
I rent but it's from family so it is long term rent. 
I've only had less than a year of gardening and have fallen in love with the plant world. I use my front side of the house for planting and testing out but we were not permitted to dig the grass in the garden until the one year check. 

My garden is, to be exact, North-West facing .

All the gardens are identical except ours is slightly wider but it's still a small garden compared to the ones I've seen on here. We have a shed to the left of our garden and our neighbour has it to the right. 

This means their trampoline is next to the lowest and shortest fence at the back of the garden, to the extent that children can lean over and might as well be in our garden! I need my children to have the privacy they deserve in their own garden without being shouted at (they are under 5). 

I have some requirements which I have come up with after a year of living here:

I don't want to plant trees. There is a patch behind the back fence which I will use to plant a tree but not right now. 
I need a plant or various plants to go along the entire right fence. 
I don't mind if it doesn't cover the defence and the leafy part starts from the top of the fence (so essentially it may just look like a tree despite it not being an actual tree!)
It must be ever green. If it loses some in winter I may be okay with it but really I'd prefer it to fulfill the privacy requirement all year round
If I need to, then it should be easy to dig out and not go so deep that I have a new challenge on my hands
I already have two types of bamboo, a clump forming and one that spreads. They are in a pot but are not tall enough yet so please do not suggest bamboo for now although I'm more than happy to move mine there once it gets tall enough
I don't mind it growing frantically at the top i.e. it grows tall enough or sends random spikes upwards that makes it difficult for neighbours to view our garden from their upstairs window
I do like Photinia Red Robin because of the red. I love the red. I'd prefer something that is interesting to look at rather than just a plain green shrub
If it is fast growing then that will get bonus points
I don't mind any exotic and tropical suggestions. Although it is north facing, that side does get a good amount of light. I really don't mind thinking out of the box eg I've seen Cordylines with double or triple heads. They look cool too. 
I don't mind diffeeedi plants along the fence. 
I'd love the bush/plant to have the ability to make any ball or flying object to rebound off it back into their garden instead of having to throw things back every three minutes and wirry about my little one getting hit by the harder objects
Preferably something that doesn't come out too much from ground to top of fence level so that it doesn't eat up too much garden space. 

Some people have suggested adding a trellis along that side but I'd rather just get something that grows up and tall. I feel like otherwise it would get damaged. 

I may be chatting a load of nonsense as I am only one year into gardening and although I've learnt a lot I have a lot more to learn. 

Thank you for reading. 
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Posts

  • DaddyADaddyA Posts: 24
    edited 15 April
    Double post. 
  • amancalledgeorgeamancalledgeorge South LondonPosts: 317
    I think before you look into plants it would be worth checking out the quality of the soil. You may need to enrich it hugely if it's just builder's rubble with a thin coating of top soil. Unfortunately it seems new built developments seem to bury a lot of rubbish under the usual patch of lawn.
    To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 13,642

    Crikey! That's a tall order. I was going to suggest a small tree like a crab apple, but you don't want trees. Then I thought of bamboo but you don't want bamboo. I have a Photinia Red Robin but it took a few years to grow tall enough for your needs, also it is bushy lower down.

    Tall thin conifers? But not Leylandii.

    Dordogne and Norfolk
  • DaddyADaddyA Posts: 24
    I think before you look into plants it would be worth checking out the quality of the soil. You may need to enrich it hugely if it's just builder's rubble with a thin coating of top soil. Unfortunately it seems new built developments seem to bury a lot of rubbish under the usual patch of lawn.
    Yes it is exactly that.
    I've been exploring the no dig gardening at the front of the house and probably will go that way looking forward. I know it will cost a lot but I've stopped eating chocolates and unnatural drinks so I'm saving a lot of money that way, as well as the rest of my household (not the kids, they are healthy).
  • DaddyADaddyA Posts: 24
    edited 15 April

    Crikey! That's a tall order. I was going to suggest a small tree like a crab apple, but you don't want trees. Then I thought of bamboo but you don't want bamboo. I have a Photinia Red Robin but it took a few years to grow tall enough for your needs, also it is bushy lower down.

    Tall thin conifers? But not Leylandii.

    I just thought I'd be as transparent as I could be but I don't mind some suggestions outside of the box if they are justified :smile:
    I have bamboo already hence not needing the bamboo suggestion. I don't want anyone to waste their breath :smile:
    I acquired one recently which I think will reach the required height in the next two years but we shall see how fast it grows. 

    I don't mind if it is bushier lower down but hopefully looking for alternative suggestions to save that valuable space. The problem with smaller gardens. I can use that at the far end of the garden. 

    I'll have a look at conifers bub not Leylandii. Thank you.
  • WillDBWillDB Posts: 1,635
    edited 15 April
    I would forget about evergreen. You're going to be using the garden far less in the winter in any case. I'd suggest a hornbeam pleached hedge (or beech depending on your soil). This has the advantage of beautiful fresh green shoots in spring, lovely green leaves in summer, and then yellow/orange autumn colours. There's nothing boring about a well trimmed formal hedge as a backdrop to your garden; it enhances anything you plant in front of it.

    The autumn leaves stay on a long time, probably until Xmas most years or longer. Then the branches provide some screening. It would be a bit expensive to do it with ready made pleached panels but the effect would be instant and transformational, and price wasn't something you stipulated in your long list of requirements! 

    It is vital that you also paint your fence black or dark grey.


  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 4,442
    edited 15 April
    I can understand your wish for privacy and quick growing shrubs ! I've attached a link for some types of quick growing shrubs that may give you some ideas.
    https://www.daviddomoney.com/10-best-fast-growing-shrubs-for-instant-garden-impact/
    As George says, preparation is the key, give the plants a good start and they will repay you  (plus all that digging etc will add to your healthy lifestyle !). Red Robin does grow fairly quickly and l've found it to be pretty robust . Also l appreciate that your budget may be tight, but you could go for one or two larger specimens straight away, rather than several smaller ones. That would give you instant "impact".
  • DaddyADaddyA Posts: 24
    WillDB said:
    I would forget about evergreen. You're going to be using the garden far less in the winter in any case. I'd suggest a hornbeam pleached hedge (or beech depending on your soil). This has the advantage of beautiful fresh green shoots in spring, lovely green leaves in summer, and then yellow/orange autumn colours. There's nothing boring about a well trimmed formal hedge as a backdrop to your garden; it enhances anything you plant in front of it.

    The autumn leaves stay on a long time, probably until Xmas most years or longer. Then the branches provide some screening. It would be a bit expensive to do it with ready made pleached panels but the effect would be instant and transformational, and price wasn't something you stipulated in your long list of requirements! 

    It is vital that you also paint your fence black or dark grey.


    Yes price isn't a problem as my local garden centre seem to have excellent sales and reduced corners and I have been able to save a lot. 

    I understand that the hedge can be a backdrop just by having green leaves so IllI take your suggestion on board. 
    The photo does look stunning. 
  • DaddyADaddyA Posts: 24
    AnniD said:
    I can understand your wish for privacy and quick growing shrubs ! I've attached a link for some types of quick growing shrubs that may give you some ideas.
    https://www.daviddomoney.com/10-best-fast-growing-shrubs-for-instant-garden-impact/
    As George says, preparation is the key, give the plants a good start and they will repay you  (plus all that digging etc will add to your healthy lifestyle !). Red Robin does grow fairly quickly and l've found it to be pretty robust . Also l appreciate that your budget may be tight, but you could go for one or two larger specimens straight away, rather than several smaller ones. That would give you instant "impact".
    Thank you very much for the link. 
    At the moment price is not an issue (£100 for one plant may be) but I've managed to find the best nurseries in my area so I do know how to be frugal but go for quality too. That's just my general lifestyle anyway. I will have a good read of the link you posted. 
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 13,642

    I had a look at that link, nice shrubs, but most would be too short or too bushy. Pyracantha would do the job but it has vicious thorns. Laurel grows enormous if not kept firmly in control. You can prune off the lower branches off laurel so that it's like a bushy tree, but the neighbours may not like the bushiness growing over the fence and their garden.

    Pleached hornbeams would work well, I had thought about them, but it will take a little time or be expensive so I thought you wouldn't want them, also they are trees. But they can look great. 

    Dordogne and Norfolk
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