What makes a good screening tree?

Many people already have a fence surrounding their property, commonly around 6ft tall. Whilst this acts to separate land and show boundaries, if you have overlooking buildings and windows the fence alone may not offer you the screening you would like.  Stilted screening is therefore a great way to add some green interest to your garden and give strategically placed cover, using trees to offer extra privacy without compromising on look.

Here at Barcham, we offer a range of screening trees that are suitable for just that, and whilst they each offer slightly different qualities, they are all perfect for providing a defined, yet unobtrusive barrier between neighbours.  Our most popular choices are:

A Large sized, scaled, Ligustrum japonicum Ligustrum japonicum (Privet tree)

Usually grown as a shrub, we have the Ligustrum japonicum as standard trees (with a 1.8-2m clear stem). Privet has dense dark green foliage and are technically semi-evergreen so can defoliate should the temperature drop to around -10c for a prolonged period of time. Interest is brought to privet trees in the autumn in the form of small white flowers and it also thrives in most free-draining soil types. We also stock the Ligustrum lucidum Variegata – Variegated tree privet which is notably a brightening choice for any garden with its part creamy yellow leaves.

Photinia Red Robin on the Barcham Trees nurseryPhotinia Red Robin

The Red Robins leaves emerge a glorious red contrasting with the trees existing greenfoliage. Like the Ligustrum, clusters of tiny white flowers are born in late spring making the Photinia a real feature in a garden at this time of year. Also on 1.8-2m clear stems, this tree is an evergreen offering good all year round coverage. 




A Medium sized, scaled specimen of Prunus laurocerasus NovitaPrunus laurocerasus Novita and Prunus laurocerasus Causcasica (Laurel)

Laurel hedges are seen regularly throughout the UK however rarely as stilted hedging which our trees can be used for. We have two varieties of Laurel available, the Prunus laurocerasus Novita and Prunus Caucasica – both with large glossy green leaves for an all year round cover.



These trees all respond well to pruning undertaken at the right time of year to shape and encourage new growth. Mid-late spring is usually optimum time for best results.

We are often asked about the recommended planting distance for stilted screening trees from one another. The answer – it is entirely dependent on how instant you would like to formulate a screen and how much you are looking to spend to do so. 1m planting centres will offer a fairly instant privacy; 1.5m will leave small gaps between the trees which should fill out in 1-2 years from planting and so on.


                                                Before and after planting

Depending on what you are looking to screen, you may find that the angle you are viewing from is a deciding factor in choosing the number of trees required and the spacing you need to plant at. A useful idea may be to take bamboo canes and place them in the ground where you envisage the trees being planted. Take a step back, or retreat to where you would usually be looking from and this can give you a rough idea of what the trees will do for you.

We also have a range of pleached trees which can be used in the same way. Pleached trees can be effective for a formal screen and also where space is limited.

View all Barcham trees

Bulk discount when you buy any mix of 10 trees or more