Ah what privilege to dwell in this green and pleasant land! And what challenge to keep it thus as others seek to share it.
Never fear: if ever there was a nation skilled in the art of gracious seclusion, that nation is Britain. Over the years we’ve helped hundreds weave green tapestries around their castles, and like to think we’ve developed a pretty good eye for what works. Here we share some tried and tested solutions to five common screening problems, along with our favourite ‘go to’ varieties for the job.
Of course, all this is no substitute for talking to one of our advisors personally. By all means get in touch when you’re ready to explore things a little further. Better yet, why not pay us a visit.
Five Common Screening Problems and Their Solutions:
A large monstrosity, such as an industrial site or high rise block of flats is spoiling my view.
For broadscale screening in a large space, an economical solution is to plant a solid green screen of fast-growing but well-behaved conifers such as Thuja plicata 'Excelsa' (Hedging) or Pinus nigra ssp. nigra , and plant a selection of deciduous trees in front to provide rich contrast and seasonal interest. For a more natural effect, space permitting, a mixed screen of ornamental conifers and deciduous trees can be planted.
For an average sized domestic garden, if screening in excess of 4 meters (approx 12ft) is required, a mixed planting of upright evergreen and deciduous trees is less dominating. For the evergreen element try Thuja plicata 'Excelsa' (Hedging), Calocedrus decurrens, Magnolia grandiflora ‘Goliath’ or Gallissonniere’, or Quercus ilex.
For quite small gardens, or if only ground-floor/garden level screening is needed, see solutions for Problem 3.
Tackling Your Screening Problem – Where To Start.
Before we start suggesting trees to our customers, we always start by asking the following questions. You’ll see why:
How big is your garden?
And how near the house would the planting position be? This will impact which varieties will be suitable, so they don’t outgrow the space, and also the planting style and positioning. For example, restricted spaces may lend themselves better to a formal, aerial hedge style of screening, whereas a large open space may suit a mixed, staggered planting of ornamental trees.
What is the narrowest access width from the position of offload to the proposed planting position?
and what is the widest ground area to dig into, taking into account fencing, patios, etc. This will limit how mature a specimen can practically be accommodated (although we can overcome many access obstacles with specialist equipment if desired)
Where are your ideal planting positions?
Be sure to consider the principles of foreshortening. The closer a tree is planted to the viewing position, the larger it will appear visually (so the smaller the specimen required). Pay careful attention to height of fencing etc compared to length of the trunk of any contenders; sometimes a gap can remain after planting which may be a problem depending on positioning. It’s a good idea to have someone stand in a few possible planting positions and take some photos for a scale reference.
From which direction does the sun come into the garden?
Consider impact on the light into your garden (and neighbours’). Will you be casting yourself into shade? This may influence the size and density of screening trees which will work best. Sometimes very densely branching deciduous trees can provide effective screens yet let still let light through.
What degree of privacy is actually required?
For example, are you directly overlooked by a near window, or do you just need to ‘take the edge off’ an overpowering building or structure?
How long are you prepared to wait for complete privacy?
This will influence either the variety of trees you choose (fast or slower growing), and/or the budget you need to achieve that goal.
For lots more evergreen screening suggestions, click here to view our range in Treefinder.
For hedging solutions, click here to view our range in Treefinder.