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I have a smallish, bare garden with lots of fence and overlooked. Am trying to create a screen in one corner to block out some of the houses and  fence. One company suggested some Pleached Trees but could some non pleached evergreen trees work .... Do they encroach into the garden too much ? 

Hiya beccrow

What height do you want these trees to be?  What size plot do you have ? Maybe evergreen shrubs?


Evergreen trees are going to eat up your space much more than pleached trees - can you post some photos and dimensions so we can get a better idea of what you've got 


I have the same problem here beccrow and intend putting some Amelanchier lamarckii(snowy mespilus) in some of the areas as they can be grown as a small tree or a shrub, and have a light canopy. Pleached trees are beautiful but could give you a lot of work to maintain. As Verdun and Dove say - if you can post some dimensions and/or pix it will help with suggestions 

Too dense a planting with evergreen trees often has the effect of closing in a garden and making it appear smaller as well as darker.

My suggestion would be a small screen of silver birch trees which give dappled shade, provide a level of privacy in the summer when the garden is most likely to be used and attract a wide range of wildlife. Being only semi solid, you can look through them which gives a sense of space.






In fairness, this photo appears to make my garden look bigger. I have standard sized fence panels so you can  gauge an idea of size. Its south ish facing and even the panels don't cause too much shade in the height of Summer.

Gardening Grandma

 How about a small pergola and something growing over it, such as honeysuckly and a large climbing rose? If you have trees, you will have large root systems which could undermine your wall and will take a lot of moisture and nutrition from the soil.

Looking at your photo beccrow I think cotinus royal purple would look good there.  It would Partially lean on your fence.  I have one growi g against a block wall and  from late spring to autumn it is a wonderful purple sight.   Alongside a yellow ivy, Buttercup, would cling flat to the fence to provide nice colour comtrast.  In front of the ivy or anywhere plant eucalyptus gunnii for a perfect purple, yellow and powder blue foliage affect


I've tried fruit trees against a fence.  Pears, fan trained against an east-ish facing fence worked well in the last garden.  In the current, south facing garden I'm trying a step-over apple aginst a 3 foot metal post and rail type fence.  Productive and pretty - with a bit of pruning interest thrown in.


Lovely fruit trees Kirsty - I love trained fruit trees 

But they won't screen the nearby houses for Beccrow - I think Gardening Grandma's idea of a pergola will fit the bill - any trees big enough to screen will make the garden darker and the roots will cause problems.


Birch trees are lovely in summer, but when the leaves fall in autumn a real pain to clear up!

Pennine Petal

My garden is also small, I have used a variegated holly at the top of the garden and a tall shrub rose, birds love them too. Forsythia is good up against a fence, I also have local ac which works well. 

Pyou could put some trellis up to give you more height and put some climbers up.



 Hi beccrow,

 I am guessing this is a new build!  If so'  wait a while,

  and the people between you and  the offending  houses

  may plant trees and solve your problem for you!!!



I vote for the pergola with climbers which also has the advantage of offering some instant screening. I would consider placing it across the corner (to form a triangle) which might play with the perspective and make it less intrusive. Clematis montana would cover it fairly quickly as would some of the better honeysuckles. Ivies could be an evergreen option & don't forget the scented options such as jasmine etc.

If you would prefer trees / shrubs I would consider some of the crab apples which have the advantage of being smaller trees (so more in proportion with the size of garden & fewer potential problems with roots etc). They have pretty blossom in the spring and bright usable fruits in the autumn & some (eg 'Red Sentinel') last well into winter. An amelanchier tree (as suggested by Fairy Girl) is another good option or what about some of the hazels / cobnuts? They can be grown as smallish trees or coppiced to form tall shrubs. (They would also supply you with hazel supports for the garden and nuts for the table!)

Good luck with this one - it is a fine line between achieving privacy and overwhelming the garden. As Patty 3 says your neighbours may help to solve the problem for you. If you get on with them why not try having a word to see if they have any planting plans or if you can come up with some ideas between you? What gives you privacy (especially when it comes to trees) may throw their garden into deep shade & take lots of nutrients from their soil - while a tree planted in the right place by them may give you both the best of both worlds!

Trees or evergreens with dark leaves make spaces look smaller, but you can plant trees in a small garden that don't enclose you by planting one with soft pale green or yellow/golden leaves.  The  Acer Palmatum "Sango-Kaku" is ideal for a small garden.  It has yellow/golden leave in the summer and in autumn they turn apricot yellow.  Even after 10 years, the tree is only 8ft in height and 6 ft wide.  Eventual height and width is 20 foot and 16 foot, but its a relatively slow grower and you can keep it in check by pruning it back.  Its probably more of a large shrub then a tree and is ideal for a small garden because it grows upright.

Another good way of screening is bamboo - but it does need containing to stop it creeping around.  Very easy to stop bamboo creeping - simply get a large plastic trug in a dark colour and cut the bottom of it off and then bury the trug (without bottom) in the ground, and then plant the bamboo in it.  Leave the trug sides about 2 inches above the soil, so the bamboo can't creep sideways or over it.  There are two forms of bamboo - clumping and non-clumping.  Go for a clumping one as they tend to keep themselves together better.  Go for a bamboo with light green/yellow/golden leaves and stems.

You could increase the height of your fence by topping it with trellis.  People complain about high fences, but don't seem to mind trellis, because it doesn't block out light and views completely.  Once installed, run climbers up the fence and encourage it along the trellis.  Before you know it, you've got a comptely covered treliis, which if you choose the right combination of plants (Honeysuckle, Clematis, Winter Jasmie, etc, you could have colour and privacy all the way thru' the year.

Remember that the fence to the right side of the house, as you look out the back door can often belong to your neighbour, so seek their permission before attaching something to it.  You can look at the deeds for the house and the side of the boundary with the inward facing T on it, is your responsibility, in which case, is your fence to do as you see fit.  Note that not all deeds have this T shown.

Thanks ! Am overwhelmed with all the suggestions...... 

Hi we have recently moved home ,the garden is small but the fence makes it worse, there is a 6 foot fence on two sides and the garage is the 3rd side, but the previous owners have stained the fence very dark,it seems to close in the garden, I don't like it at all, what would be the best way To get rid of the colour ,or best colour to re paint it ,to make the garden look bigger, I thought green , what are your thoughts..thanks 


Repaint it with something like Cuprinol Shades which come in lots of colours. I would go for light green, but up to your taste. You could spray it which would be quicker and easier.

I wonder what Beccrow did a year ago. I liked the pergola idea.