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Emma915

I have been baffling my head around some form of screening to be added above our front stone garden wall.  

On both sides of the wall are flower beds which were established by my late grandfather.  

I am looking for the best way to create a screen / some privacy  without damaging the beds.  I thought about some form of hedging (I like the purple beech) but fear that I would lose / damage the flower beds and perhaps lose the conditions in which the plants enjoy at the moment (which are south east facing inside the garden).  

We have clay/silty type of soil, slightly acidic and reasonably well drained.  We get very little frost being so close to the sea but we do suffer with a fair amount of wind due to some exposure.

Am I right in thinking the safest option I have to minimise flower bed trauma is to perhaps erect a fence (which gaps to reduce wind disruption) on top of the wall which is approximately 4ft tall at present, and perhaps feed some climbers?  We have some privacy in summer with an established lilac tree, forsythia and rose but this is in one corner and of course at this time of year the world can see right in (we live in a bungalow).  Not only that the rest of the front is completely exposed.  

Borderline

If you have railings on top of your wall, I think Cotoneaster Suecicus would be an ideal shrub to train upwards into your railings. The shrub is naturally prostrate, so when trained up towards the tops of the wall, will create a dense mat of evergreen foliage filled with berries in autumn/winter. It doesn't take up a lot of room if you train right from the begining and easy to maintain. I think an ideal shub for your setting considering you have established borders.

In time, your railings will be covered with tiny evergreen leaves that will create a nice backdrop to your borders. A tough plant that will not be caught by the winds. Sometimes in autumn the leaves turn a dramatic coral colour.

Emma915

Thank you but I don't have any railings

Borderline

Apologies, I got carried away and thinking about railings on top of your wall because you mentioned fences with gaps to avoid heavy winds blowing across. 

This shrub can still grow well without any picket style fence or railings long the tops of your wall. If you did go for this option, you would just prune off any stems that stick out from the wall. This keeps it growing upwards quicker and also keeps the shrub trained close to the wall to limit infringing onto the borders. Once it reaches the top of the wall, you slow down on the pruning and allow it to flop along the top. Slow down on the pruning, you will just need it to prune it lightly to build up an informal height. In ideal conditions, it should reach around 2 meters eventually.

There are quite a few shrubs that responds well to this type of training. Pyracantha and Osmanthus Delavayi. All evergreen so will offer privacy and also have spring flowers and berries in autumn and winter. 

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Emma915

This was a few years ago now.  As you can see it currently has no support for climbers.  I wondered to save the beds whether it is worth erecting some fencing on top of the walls or would it be possible to find shrubs/small trees that I can use along the border?    I wonder if actually the wall is more 3ft than 4ft.

Last edited: 23 November 2017 18:26:57

Borderline

That's a beautiful spring garden there. It's nice already, but I understand your issue. My idea of planting shrubs will work, but it will be a lot of shrubs to fill the areas. And will take a bit of time. Have a look into pleaching shrubs/trees if you want it a bit more instant. Hornbeam and Beech are classic choices, but you can pretty much buy any other shrubs already in standard form and at 1-2 meter intervals, plant them in. They will create height and privacy. May cause semi-shade to some of your borders, but this could happen with any other similar options.

The other option is to have your picket style fence along the top and grow a few climbers at 3 metre intervals. Jasminum Officinale and many other climbers depending on your location will work too. 

Last edited: 23 November 2017 18:49:37

Emma915

Thank you borderline, that's fantastic, I may try to incorporate both ideas.  Budget is quite small so I'll see what I can find.  Does anyone have any recommendations for online companies for beech/hornbeam?  

We have a purple leafed tree in our next door neighbours garden so I like the idea of purple beech.  I also have a purple ish leafed miniature tree in the garden as well but I am not sure what it is.    

Fairygirl

Buying pleached hedging will be very expensive.

I'd suggest your own original idea would be the best. solution Putting some posts in every six feet and attaching trellis above wall height - a couple of feet would be adequate. If you can do it on the outside of the wall, that would be better. Climbers will quickly cover it and it should be easy enough to find spots for them in among your other planting.  Adding shrubs of any kind would be difficult I think. You'd need to remove some of your other plants to get a decent enough planting hoile for them. They'd need quite a bit of pruning as well once they grow, or they'd take over and cover all your perennials. A hedge of any kind would also require trimming/pruning regularly, and access would be tricky on the garden side. 

Lovely garden Emma, i agree with fairygirl that posts and trellis would be nice and a selection of climbers, some evergreen to give you more privacy. We have a bark fence which we attached to our wire net fence to give us privacy. It would give you more privacy than the trellis until it was grown with climbers? You would need posts and some rails to secure it to. It came from Primrose, it comes in different heights, they also do willow look, but we found thatvdidn't wear as well as the bark. Hope this helps 😉 Can you see the fence 

along the back

Borderline

If you have a tight budget, then it's not ideal to buy shrubs ready pruned into shape for pleaching. It's all about what level of work you are willing to put in and how soon you need the areas covered. You can shape your shrubs as they grow, but it is extra gardening work and may not suit your needs.

The quicker and easier option will definitely be putting in additional fencing and Fairygirl's idea of posts along the outside is definitely a great space saving option as well as climbers along the top of the fence.

A formal look is to go for one or the other, but you can mix it up and have part climber and part pleached shrub/have a speciment tree/shrub. All depends on whether you are willing to move plants in your border or even lose some plants you have in your border. But you have a variety of choice in creating height and privacy. 

Maybe post a photo of your purple leaf tree to see if anyone can help identify it.

Fairygirl

Nice bit of venison there Loana - is he quite tame ?   

Emma915

Hi Borderline, 

Thank you.  Ideally I would like something fairly decent in next year or two, and it doesn't have to necessarily be completely blocking the view just masking it and making it a bit more private.  I don't mind the extra gardening work, as long as I know what I am doing and don't balls it up :-0  !!!

I will get a landscaper to come and give a quote.  I do like this idea and am keen on maybe trying both, and I am happy to move shrubs around.  I've actually added a few small rhododendrons, camellias, hebes and a sarcococca but all are very small and varieties are dwarf versions (I wanted some evergreen and they were on offer in the summer).  Also my phlox doesn't seem to like it there anymore (second year in and was pitiful) so I am happy to re-jiggle things about.  

The purple leaf is ... 

I think there is something wrong with the colour in this one below (an old photo), but it is usually the colour of the photo above and the branches have a downward habit, like a waterfall.  I have pruned it so that the underneath is thinner and has a prettier effect (not sure if I should but I did and it looks better now - albeit without leaves due to being deciduous)

Emma915

P.s. I do see the bark fencing, looks lovely.  Thank you.

Borderline

Hi Emma, if you are looking to have something semi decent in next two years, the best option is to have a fence as you suggested originally with gaps to allow wind to pass through and grow some climbers through.

In the meantime, you can grow your chosen shrubs and train them up the wall or start shaping them to form standards/pleaching form. I'm not a fan of planting in mature shrubs. They are expensive, but most of all, failures can be quite high due to the shock and difficulty in planting in. It might be a good idea to train your shrubs if you have time, and whilst you are doing that on once side of your borders, the climbers or scramblers can cover your fences. 

Berberis Thunbergii F Atropurpurea although not evergreen is another shrub that can be pruned easily into shape and another option for screening. But I still feel my original recommendation of Cotoneaster is one of the most space saving shrubs that can scramble up your wall and cover a fence or left to form a shrub and formed into a shape.

The tree you posted looks like a weeping beech to me. Couldn't see the leaves properly, but the the full picture of your tree looks like Fagus Sylvatica Purpurea Pendula. If you never see blossoms in spring, then I think it's a Beech.

Last edited: 26 November 2017 23:06:11

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