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in Problem solving
Dear Forum Members,
Please may I pick your brains about solutions for privacy for the rear boundary of our garden? We back onto another garden, so the foot of our garden, adjoins the foot of their garden. To give you bit of orientation, in the photos the light-coloured shed behind the fence is the neighbours’, with their shed windows overlooking our garden (grrrr!) , and the dark shed to the left is on our side. The boundary comprises of short wooden fence panels set in concrete posts with some chicken-wire-like stuff fixed above it (plastic). The overall height of this physical boundary is approx 1x metre 30cm (1.3m height). The flower bed you see at the fence in the main photo (our garden) contains (L-R) a dead escallonia, a dead stump of something else, a seemingly healthy ornamental cherry (now fruiting - edible?), and is otherwise empty aside from a clump of lemon balm, a Japanese quince, in spring – bluebells and some buried long-dead cats – many. The light-green maple-like foliage in the foreground and to the right is a young Liquidambar tree.
What We Had in Mind
We need more privacy at this boundary, yet have no idea at present which householder is responsible for maintaining it. However, even if the responsibility fell to us, we would not want to go the bother and expense of having the concrete posts taken out and reset with taller posts and have 6ft fence put in. In an ideal world I suppose this would be great. So instead, we think we would like to choose hedging/shrubs to screen to maybe 6 ft, unless someone has another solution, hence this forum post!
The bed is seriously overhung by the neighbours Leylandii (50-60 ft tall) and receives little direct light and no rain as the soil, while well dug and soft, is always very dry! I’m not sure of the soil type other than it is deep, and finely tilthy. Is there any shrub/hedge/bushery – preferably native, that will grow here? We are not opposed to deciduous species. The overall style/vibe of our garden is woodland and informal ‘english’ and we’d like to keep it that way. We are not too keen on glossy evergreens. But perhaps beggars can’t be choosers!?
Please could the collective brainpower of this wonderful forum be of any help figuring out a solution which may give us some much needed privacy along this dry and shady boundary?
The Grateful Deadhead
Hi GD, I have tall Leylandii at the bottom of my garden for privacy issues they have been there many many years before I moved in. I topped them when we bought the house but didnt take them down. After seeking advice I planted spotted laurel in front of them I think the proper name is Acuba, It is literally under the conifers and is growing really well no problems at all. To pretty it up a bit I have also planted epimediums and fuchias. I have also grown a vine, clematis montana rubens and jasmine up the conifers. All are doing well and looking good.
Hi GD - welcome to the forum
I'm sure some members might have some ideas about what sort of shrubs might grow directly on the boundary - but I'm a bit stumped I'm afraid.
A relatively cheap but instant solution might be to sink some 8' fencing posts just your side of the boundary and use 6' x 6' high hazel panels as fencing (I think they're about £40 - £50 each). They look nice and rustic and have plenty of gaps for 'things' to twine through.
In front of them you could then plant some really tough native climbers such as ivy and honeysuckle (don't bother going for fancy ones which probably need more favourable conditions). With a little TLC (water and feed) they should soon romp away and cover the panels.
You could then concentrate on improving the soil away from the border (& the leylandii) & plant some large tough shrubs which will eventually provide the sort of screening you really want. Eleagnus & hazel is one suggestion - I'm sure others will have more.
Mid to late Sept would be an excellent time for planting - giving you a few weeks to sort out fencing etc
Sorry Beckie - wasn't ignoring your suggestion - it wasn't there when I started typing & then got distracted
Quite a lot of shrubs will do dry and shady - Aucuba japonica, leycesteria, Ribes, laurel, kerria japonica and berberis. Plant them when small, feed and water them freely in the first year and they should do ok. Will still take a few years though to break the sightline from the shed window. If it bothers you a lot and you cannot wait, I would put some trellis up and let clematis Montana or the mile a minute vine romp away.
... and have no idea how / why my posting ended up on here twice - sorry all
Thank you all for your kind responses. I am currently feeling stressed by changes on all three sides of the garden boundary which have recently threatened privacy, so it is very nice to read such supportive suggestions.
Bekkie – We already have at least 5 buddleia’s so, I am a little less enthusiastic about introducing any more at the moment! That’s my initial reflex reaction to the buddleia idea but I will look into it as all options are open at the moment. What variety wild rose is it? and do you know if it can survive on mostly shade? Sounds tempting. Re elderberry, I would be cautious about this because I think Elderberry prefers moist ground, no? Someone correct me if I am wrong. I like the idea of consumable plants though - Edibles are always a winner with me – and especially if low maintenance.
Topbird – very creative idea – I do like the almost instant fix of this one, but cautious about the spend as I fear we have a horribly large plant spend coming up, although I am sure its a relatively modest costs compared to some solutions. Also, I am wanting to plant hazels this winter (see other threads). However, I would stop short of coppicing my own hazels and weaving my own Hazels panels though!!! Do you mean wooden posts for the panels or concrete ones? – just to clarify.
Hogweed – I have to say I feel I wouldn’t want to wait for the shrubs to develop to that height, but to trellis and get some clematis going (Montana, Elizabeth maybe?) Is very tempting – I just wonder how it will do with the shade – although there is some sunlight at different times of the day. What is the mile-a-minute vine you suggest?
Thank you again, for both taking the time to read my these length posts and for your suggestions!
Hi Grateful Deadhead, having read your other post tonight I am replying to this one in disguise
If you go with top birds suggestion re the posts there is a cheaper way to do which we sourced in the week. In Wickes they sell tantalised split poles, about 6 to 8 Pounds each pending on the height you want which you can screw into the existing stone posts. You could then nail screening to the posts. One I have used is the tree bark one which comes in a roll and it has lasted really well past three years and through that heavy long snowy winter and the wet one we had this year. This would then be a lovely back drop to the plants you choose and you can even tie climbers to it. Even the horrid ley lands above would look nice as it would be like a woodland
Hope you keep us posted with your project
Ps know exactly how you feel when stressed reprivacy as like you I have long thin garden which on the right I have neighbours with THE shed and then on the left we have the ends of five gardens who all have different fences! I hate it! Can't even replace it cos none of them belong to us! Over the years I have painted my side so all same colour and then I used the bark screening which made me lots happier as not so mIs match now
Glad you like the idea & fully understand your need to seek privacy in your garden - we have a similar problem & have found the hazel panels a good solution in a rural environment. They should last a good few years (by which time any other shrubs should be large enough for at least some screening).
I was thinking of wooden poles abt 2 -3" diameter (I think these are about £3 each from our local fencing / shed supplier).
If you found the cost of putting up panels across the whole of the boundary too daunting would 2 or 3 strategically placed ones help solve the problem?
Other plants I had thought of if you want a natural / woodland type affect include hawthorn & blackthorn. Hawthorn, in particular, will grow quite quickly & seems to grow in most spots including under trees - so you could, perhaps, have 2 or 3 panels strategically placed for privacy with some hawthorns filling in the gaps at the sides.
If you want to maintain hawthorn as a hedge you can (although not nice with all the spines) or, if you have the space you can leave it to do it's own thing. There are quite a few online companies selling very cheap native hedging whips (or you might have a local nursery) which is a very cheap way of doing hedging (but they still take a few years to grow).
Blackthorn, of course, will eventually give you sloes. Sloe gin at Christmas - yum
I'd echo attaching some posts on to the existing ones (cheap from a timber merchant) and then trellis or something similar on to those. I'm not keen on the bamboo/reed screening but that's a personal thing - if you use it, put some horizontal battens on to attach it to. It would certainly be a fairly cheap solution and you can then get something planted in front of it. I've got blackthorn hedging, planted last winter bare root - it's looking great already - so as long as you prepare the ground well, it grows pretty rapidly. Lots of climbers will do fine but get some goodness in the ground before you get them in, and then keep well watered and mulched. Dog rose (Rosa canina) should be fine there too - you can get that bare root in autumn. As Topbird says -hawthorn also, and you can get native hedge mixes from online hedging specialists. Won't be pricey for the size you seem to have there GD.
I've just gone out and taken these pix GD - this is my blackthorn hedging. This was just compacted grass at the edge of the adjoining pavement. I put the fence in, prepared all the ground with plenty of manure and compost and put the hedge in during November. This is just a single row but I've got a bit behind some planting where there's a double row and it's really dense.
Fallopia baldschaunica also known as Polygonum baldschuanicu - mile a minute vine.
Nice blackthorn FG - they have done really well. I think given GD's situation (ie deep shade & dry as a bone) that he could not expect such good results in such a short space of time but (as you say) good soil preparation & lots of watering until they're established will probably be successful & provide some decent screening within 2 - 3 years.
I'd agree Topbird - GD's site is not so desirable, but with a good bit of rotted manure, compost and plenty of water at the start they'd adapt well. My site was compacted weedy grass and full of stones, so no nutrition until I started digging it out and doing just that!
That's the ticket !