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Planting for privacy

Planting for Privacy | Part 1

Jan 02, 2016

Love thy neighbour… or not? Out of all the items that a client may provide in their brief, the most common one across all clients, all gardens and all styles is planting for privacy.  They say our home is our castle. People like to feel safe and secure in their castle and staying away from prying eyes is a key priority.

Maybe it’s a fall out with a neighbour over renovations, sometimes it’s neighbours being a little friendlier than we may like but mostly it’s about the feeling of seclusion, your own private hideaway and ignoring the fact that we are living in a major city.

We can only go so high with boundary fences and walling before we require council approval and even then there is a limit to what is permissible.  Screen planting knows no limits and is softer and greener – there can be no better outlook.

There are many plant varieties that can be considered.  The options available are limited to the usual site conditions like aspect, soil type, available moisture but selection will also be influenced by desired height, density, area to plant and even access which can restrict the level of maturity that we buy. Here are some examples and we will post more ideas next week…

24 responses to “Planting for Privacy | Part 1”

  1. john says:

    What is the species you have on the border below the slender weaver bamboo?
    Thanks John

  2. William McClymond says:

    What would you recommend as a privacy fence line in a very narrow area next to a brick fence in a desert Environment? Yuma AZ is where we live and soil is primarily sand one only 3 ft wide.

    • rochelle says:

      So hard for us to provide a recommendation, given we are not familiar with your area and have not been site. We would recommend you engage a Horticulturist in your area for advice.

  3. Ann says:

    Q: Please give me some advice or tips about planting magnolia trees along a boundary fence, about two metres from house and about 20 metres from a massive gum tree in neighbours property. Sunny spot but narrow garden bed of about 50-60cm.
    I’m wanting an evergreen small tree.

    • rochelle says:

      Hi Ann
      We think 50-60cm is too narrow to establish a Magnolia hedge. A better alternative would be a Podocarpus variety that can tolerate narrow environments. Alternatively, use a smaller leafed hedging plant like Syzygium (lilypilly) or Elaeocarpus reticulatus that can respond to tight pruning ie. Big broad leaved plants are no good for narrow spaces.

      Podocarpus macrophyllus ‘Maki’
      Syzygium var Resilience

  4. Marie says:

    Is that the same bamboo (slender weaver) on the left hand side of the second photo?

  5. Natasha says:

    Hi Rochelle, what kind of ornamental pears are they in the third photo? We have a narrow garden bed (830cm) along the property fence line. The length of the garden is 4.5m. We wanted to plant (and pleach) two trees to give us privacy from the neighbours, and allow us room to grow something underneath. We were thinking the Ornamental Pear Capital because of its upright habit, but I also like the look of the one in your picture. Appreciate your thoughts. Thanks and love the blog!

    • rochelle says:

      Natasha – the Pears pictured are Pyrus nivalis ‘Snow Pears’. They have a softer, more bushy growth than Capital Pears and a blue grey tinge to the leaves. While they work as a pleached hedge they don’t respond as well to tight pruning so given how narrow your space is you would be better to stay with the Capital Pears.

  6. Natalia says:

    What is the minimum width that a Slender weaver can be planted into? (I am trying to screen a colorbond fence)
    The plantable area is 1600mm length, however the width is only approx 200mm.

    • rochelle says:

      Natalia 200mm would be the minimum space we would recommend to plant Slender Weaver in. You will need to make sure you thin out the old stems as the new ones come through so it doesn’t become too tightly packed. Also when planting against boundary fences you will need to excavate the bed to at least 300mm and install a root barrier. Slender weaver is a clumping bamboo but it will still spread slowly outwards and in a small space it won’t take long before your neighbour has sprouts on the other side of the fence!

  7. Susan says:

    Hi, Love the photos. Whats the screening plant in the last photo?
    Thanks in advance!

  8. Grant says:

    I am trying to crack a plant selection puzzle and maybe you can help me. I have a narrow garden bed between the edge of my pool and the property fence, and the neighbours have a pool on the other side of the fence.
    I am trying to find a very narrow growing plant that matures around 3-4m (not worried about it getting there fast) doesn’t drop much leaf litter, and doesn’t flower (my wife has terrible hay fever). I live in Sydney.

    Any thoughts would be very much appreciated.

    • rochelle says:

      Grant we would be very hesitant to provide advice without seeing the site – position, soil conditions etc. I would highly recommend you get a horticulturist in for a consultation. Any planting near pools also needs to be compliant with the new pool laws. You cannot plant anything that is climbable near a pool. If you are planting near a pool there are distances that must be complied with etc.

  9. Marie says:

    Hi Rochelle,
    I note that the 3rd photo the ornamental pears are planted in ‘in-ground’ planters. I wondered how pear trees would go planted like that in Perth – does the fact they are above ground level (by say 40-50cm) stress them in the heat?
    thanks, Marie

    • Jasmine Kuo says:

      Hi Marie, Yes Pears are fine in raised planter boxes so long as they have premium quality soil, good drainage and irrigation. I don’t see any reason why Pears wouldn’t grow in Perth but I recommend approaching a local nursery for further advice before planting.

  10. Julie says:

    What variety of plants are in the 1st photo whit bamboo ?

    • rochelle says:

      Slender weaver

      • Annie says:

        Is this a clumping variety of bamboo, this slender weaver? I have a small space that we’d like to plant along a fence
        to create privacy. Also, what plant is this at the bottom of the bamboo? A fern?

        • rochelle says:

          Annie it is a clumping variety – it is the only variety we would use. We do also put in root barriers as well when planting bamboo. It is a fern – you can plant a lot of things underneath. We also use pebbles. Keep in mind that the bamboo will drop its leaves so requires some maintenance to keep an area tidy. And make sure it is irrigated. Bamboo requires regular water to stay healthy and looking good.

    • Glenda says:

      I want to plant slender weaver next to my pool, but plant them in pots as there are pipes along the pool border. Would it be OK next to a pool. ( behind the pool fence)

      • rochelle says:

        You need to check the compliance laws with pools as they have changed. You cannot plant anything next to a pool fence that is climbable. Worth doing a bit of homework on this first. Planting them in pots is fine – just make sure you have irrigation set up as they will need regular water.

  11. Justin says:

    What variety of plants are in each photo ???

    • rochelle says:

      Justin there are a lot of different plants in each photo – is there one that you were particularly interested in?

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