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hello all, im not an amazing gardener but i love my green space, and for the first time ever i dont have my dad to give me advice.

we have new neighbours. they hate my dogs, their children hang on the fence and hurl abuse at them. we dont want trouble, we want boundaries.

i need suggestions please on hedging plants, my wish list is,

  1. safe for dogs and children
  2. non invasive and easy to care for
  3. ever green as the neighbours would complain about leaves
  4.  tallish but not too high
  5. offering some soundproofing

i have heard of bamboo being used for soundproofing but ive also heard that it is terrible invasive. i'm lost, can a surrogate dad help please (or mum)


How high is the fence and is it yours or theirs to maintain?   If it's yours, the kids may be damaging it hne they climb on it and that could get expensive for repairs.  Is there a local advice service that can help with handling neighbour problems?

As for hedges, I would suggest yew which is evergreen and can be hard pruned if necessary.  It's foliage is toxic to animals which eat greenery such as cattle, horses, pigs,  goats but it's OK in ornamental gardens with dogs and cats.   Another choice would be privet which, like yew, has green or yellow forms.   You could also try photinia Red Robin whose new shoots are red and which keep appearing when you trim the hedge so a good feature.   

You could also be naughty and plant pyracantha which is evergreen and wildlife friendly as it has spring blossom for nectar and autumn fruits for birds.    It has thorns which might dter the obnoxious kids from hanging on the fence. 

All hedges need good soil preparation so the new plants can establish quickly and grow well.  The best time to plant is autumn when the soil is still warm and the roots can grow without being stressed by having to nourish foliage and growth above ground.   All hedges benefit frorm a spring top dressing of general fertiliser and regular trims to keep them thick and neat.

Good luck whatever your choice.


I know what you mean Obelixx  but I think pyracantha is a really good idea   It's a sensible hedging plant, won't get out of control, is easy to trim, good for wildlife and although it has thorns, it's not 'aggressive' I mean it won't send out long wandering whippy branches with thorns on that get in your face etc - it's just not good for climbing and hanging on - perfect 

At our last house our neighbour had a pyracantha hedge between him and us - it was great and the birds loved it - it was always full of cheeky sparrows and bluetits chirruping - much nicer than neighbour's children (well, nicer than some anyway )


Oh Carole I do sympathise. You'll get plenty of help here.

Laurel would be my suggestion but whatever you choose it will need some clipping now and again. It also depends on what soil and aspect you have but laurel will tolerate most conditions happily. Conifers tend to suck all the moisture out of the surrounding area so it's not so good if you want to plant nearby and they are slower growing apart from the dreaded Lleylandii which would be a big mistake! If your soil's drier and it's a sunny site something like Ceanothus or Escallonia might be good especially if you have the fence behind them, and they have flowers too. I hope those suggestions will give you a start.

Personally I'd get a water cannon or the jaggiest holly or firethorn you can  get hold of!

Woodgreen wonderboy

Yew is good and is easy to clip to required shape as it grows, and if it gets out of hand for any reason you can recover things easily. Conifers are not good generally as they sometimes don't respond well to clipping.  Some are OK, others are not so I would avoid. I would also avoid escallonia unless you live in a mild part of the country, such as near the sea as frost will damage them. Ceanothus are lovely but I believe they are susceptible to something nasty (not sure what) and die, which is what mine did!! Pyracantha are the best for security but can be viscious when you come to prune/clip them. I have some and they rip me and my clothes to shreds when I go near them. You could darn socks with the thorns. Laural is another good hedger, although they look best if you take the trouble to prune them branch by branch rather than shear them or clip. The latter cuts some leaves in half and then the cuts turn brown and don't look so nice. If looks are not so important then shear away...

Also when you choose your plants they say that you don't need big ones as the smaller ones always seem to catch up. Also when you position them allow sufficient room for them to grow sideways towards your boundary PLUS enough room to get behind to trim, shear etc. This is about 2 or 3 ft. It doesn't sound as if your neighbourhead relationships are good enough to do this from their garden!!

Finally if you can afford it get yourself a cordless hedge trimmer ( unless you plant Laural) since this will make the job easier and you will be more inclined to keep at it. Finally, finally think about the height you want since it can be difficult and potentially unsafe  to clip once you get over 5ft.

Have a look around where you live to see what does well in your locality. Best of luck....



wow loads of ideas, thank you all so much. we have conifers at our bottom boundary, not ours but in another garden, they are approx 60 feet tall (maybe taller) so i wont be going for that option. i love a privet hedge, the problem is, the cutting, lovely neighbour would not maintain her side im sure. i have offered to pay the £3.500 it will cost to put up a higher and stronger fence as its her boundary, but it has been declined. my old neighbours who lived next to us for 25 years were shocked to see who they had sold their house to when they visited recently, "they seemed so nice" haha. pyracantha sounds great, im going to look on the net for further instructions and to see if it will suit my garden, which is south facing (lovely) but partly shaded due to those tall conifers and the boundary i want to plant is more westerly facing, with heavy clay soil. the saga continues


Good luck Carol! Heavy clay here too so I know the problems. Neighbours can be very difficult. I had one who left willow herb to grow out of control-it was 7 or 8 feet and seeding all over my garden. I would have suggested Pyracantha but as you said you have small children I didn't - apart from my little joke! However if you plant in front of it I think that could be your best bet. It depends what room you have to make a border in front of it. It's great fro bees and the berries are loved by birds.

Re the conifers- There was some new legislation about them I think concerning the height because of all the Lleylandi wars. Perhaps your council could advise?

oh no i dont want to lose the conifers, i love my privacy and i dont know who lurks behind them lol!! im going to look at some pyracanthas tomorrow and get more advice. i was thinking of maybe growing them individually in tubs and pushing them against the fence, this would negate the need to try to improve a ridiculous amount of soil, would allow me to pull out each tub for pruning so  i dont annoy lovely neighbour, and hopefully deter my little dogs from chewing berries, also i could intersperse with roses etc, a moveable ever changing hedge, it could be a new trend  what do you think?

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