How to buy screening trees

On the most part we all strive to have an amicable relationship with neighbours, however sometimes the stresses of modern day living can make this difficult, especially in situations where the traditional separation of boundaries using trees or high hedges is absent. In such situations, it is hard not to feel exposed and this causes people to seek to solve this problem by erecting fencing as a barrier, or alternatively seek to introduce privacy back into their living space with privacy trees for screening. Trees are the perfect way to achieve natural privacy in your garden and they can be used in numerous ways to achieve a good level of screening.

This article assesses the options available for privacy trees and their relative restrictions and merits.

1 – Traditional hedge

There are a few trees that can be planted very close to one another to form a hedge. Hedging trees will be supplied with branching right down to the base and can be either deciduous or evergreen, depending on your requirement. For example Beech, Fagus sylvatica, can be used to form a very effective hedging screen, yet it is a deciduous tree. Cherry Laurel, Prunus laurocerasus Rotundifolia, is a good evergreen choice for an instant hedge as specimens are vigorous and dense thus giving good coverage from the offset.

Benefits: Good for lower level screening and defining boundaries.

Restrictions: This form of screening will need some regular routine maintenance.

Other options: Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus Fastigiata), Holm Oak (Quercus ilex)


2 – Stilted hedge (Raised screen)

A stilted hedge uses trees that have been specifically produced with this purpose in mind. These trees will have a clear stem to reach up to fence panel height of around 1.8-2m and then a crown forming above this height. Generally evergreens are preferred for this purpose and can be planted densely to achieve maximum effect from the offset. One of the most successful and cost effective choices for stilted hedging is the Tree Privet, Ligustrum japonicum. Tree privet often gets over looked as a raised screening tree due to the fact people tend to assume they can only be grown in a classic hedge style but it is fantastic value for money and gives a superb effect.

Benefits: High level evergreen screening, without encroaching on your leisure space. This option is particularly useful if you are overlooked by your neighbour’s property, or would like to retain lower level exposure i.e. of an attractive wall or area.

Restrictions: This form of screening will need some regular routine maintenance.

Other options: Photinina (Photinia Red Robin), Standard Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus Novita), Variegated Privet (Ligustrum lucidum Excelsum Superbum)


3 – One or more strategically placed evergreen trees – Block that view!

Strategically placed evergreens can be a good way to use trees to screen unsightly views or block sightlines and can be positioned as desired to achieve the level of cover required. The Holm Oak, Quercus ilex, is a densely foliaged evergreen tree that gives very good coverage as it matures.

Benefits: High level of evergreen screening, without encroaching on your leisure space. Especially beneficial for extreme screening requirements such as ugly pylons or unsavoury views.

Restrictions: Many of the larger evergreen trees, such as Holm Oak, may eventually block out light to your garden. It is therefore important to consider the eventual size of evergreens for screening, as they are often very large trees at maturity which could cause future conflicts with neighbours.

Other options: Austrian Pine (Pinus nigra Austriaca – large tree so only to be used where space allows), Leyland Cypress (Cupressus leylandii – very fast growing and good screening, will grow very large so only to be used where space allows), Cupressus macrocarpa Goldcrest (good shaped, slow growing conifer), Cupressus arizonica Glauca (good shaped, slow growing conifer). Ornamental Pear (Pyrus calleryana Chanticleer – this is the first deciduous tree into leaf in the spring and the last to lose its leaves in the autumn time, coming without an evergreen price tag, this tree is useful for screening).

Still confused which screening trees to buy?

At Barcham Trees we have a team of arborists dedicated to giving advice and recommendations, so feel free to email us photo’s or your site or privacy problem or call on 01353 720 950.

So, don’t be distracted by unsightly views, or nosey neighbours, at Barcham we can provide you with the solution to your privacy problems with screening trees. Let us help you to cover up the natural way!


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