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Hedge for privacy and a bit of shelter, or climbing plants on the fence?

Discussion in 'NEW Gardeners !' started by chris667, May 17, 2016.

  1. chris667

    chris667 Apprentice Gardener

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    Hi everyone.

    I've just joined and introduced myself. I had a search around, but haven't been able to find anything that adequately described my garden.

    I have an open rail fence going all the way up the side of my garden. There is nothing wrong with it, but I want to grow something to keep my dog in, and feed our local birds. I'd also like to gain a bit of privacy; we are overlooked by our neighbour, who is OK but we'd rather not have her looking in all the time.

    I originally wanted to put chicken wire on the fence, strain a wire parallel to the top on top of the fence, then train honeysuckle and some sort of climbing rose.

    From what I can gather, there are three problems:

    1. They will need a bit more shelter; it gets windy up here!
    2. They will take a looong time to properly cover the fence, by which time it will probably need an overhaul anyway.
    3. Cost.

    I have often admired my dad's hawthorn. I love the white flowers in the spring, and the berries in the autumn. And from what I can gather it's dirt cheap, if you buy the plants at the right time.

    What I'd do this year is put the wire up, and enclose the dog. Then, later on in the year, plant hawthorn behind the hedge. Before I do, though, I have four questions.

    1. The garden is on top of a hill, south facing and it's very windy. Will hawthorn establish properly, or do I need a windbreak of some sort? Would doubling the chicken wire work?
    2. The garden is only 4m wide with our house forming one wall, and I am worried about space. What's the narrowest I could keep the hedge? I'd like it to be about 1.8-2m tall.
    3. How quickly could I grow this hedge?
    4. Is it realistic for a novice to be able to do all this on their own? I have enthusiasm, if not skill (yet!).
    Garden.jpg
    Thanks!
     
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    • Redwing

      Redwing Wild Gardener

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      I agree that a hedge would be good here. I would plant a mixed hedge with about 50 percent hawthorn and the rest wild roses, blackthorn, hazel, honeysuckle etc. You could even have a few trees. A mixed hedge will be much better for wildlife than just hawthorn. Buying bare rooted plants in winter is quite cheap and some sellers have special mixes for different situations including mixes designed to attract wildlife.

      Hedges significantly lesson the wind when mature. I don't think there will be any problems establishing a hedge in the situation you describe. Go for the biggest plants you can afford up to about 1 m as they will provide an established hedge quicker, you would probably have a decent hedge in 3-4 years if you trim it regularly so it grows dense.

      How long is it? Most people could do this. The hard part is digging the holes.
       
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        Last edited: May 17, 2016
      • Sandy Ground

        Sandy Ground Total Gardener

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        I'm planning a hedge for privacy myself, so thought that I would give a little input into this.

        Originally, I had thought of a mixed hedge. Amongst other things, it would have consisted of Hawthorn, Holly, Hazel, Snowberry, even Dog Roses. As was stated above, this would have been a good hedge for wildlife. The size of plants I was looking at were about 30cm. I find that they seem to establish themselves faster than larger ones. Here at least!

        However, I've actually gone away from that concept. The favourite for me now is Aronia Pruniflora. I think in the UK it is known as Purple Chokeberry, but stand to be corrected. That fullfils my requirements for being wildlife friendly, as well as having a lot of colour. It also grows to the height required, and can be either formal or informal.

        I actually started a thread asking for opinions about this hedge yesterday. So far no answers. maybe its not so well known in the UK?
         
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        • Redwing

          Redwing Wild Gardener

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          I had to look it up; it seems it is a North American native. Chris could add some to his mixed hedge. I think if he wants a hedge good for wildlife it should contain mostly native species; he doesn't say where he lives.
           
        • martin-f

          martin-f Plant Hardiness Zone 8b

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          Hi and welcome Chris,

          An easy quick cheap fix if you have the time would be a wattle fence, this would give you more privacy keep your dog in, Cost, your time and effort :) good support for any climbers etc.
          wf.PNG
           
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          • chris667

            chris667 Apprentice Gardener

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            Thanks guys!

            I am in Belper, on the edge of the Peak District. Not that far from you, Martin-f! Loamy, slightly acidic soil here.

            The wattle looks incredible, but it seems a pity to make something so nice then grow a hedge in front of it. I think for now I'll be happy with the chicken wire. I will cut it down once the hedge is established.

            Redwing, I can do the digging! There is only ten metres or so to lay. The plan is to box in the top half of the garden with the railing, so we have somewhere private and somewhere for Max to run. I have big plans for the other end of the garden; I'm still reading through other posts, and will probably start another thread with all the bits I don't understand!
             
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            • chris667

              chris667 Apprentice Gardener

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              This is all very encouraging - thank you! I went all over the Internet and never managed to find a proper answer to my questions.

              I think I'll start small (and cheap); privacy can wait, or maybe I'll put some sort of artifcial screening up as a temporary thing. We're going to be here for a long time!

              Now, can I ask another question. Will this affect my neighbour's garden? She is, for want of a better word, fussy. I want to minimise the inevitable complaints.

              Are roots going to grow up on her side of the fence, and if they will is there any way I can mitigate this? I don't mind digging a long way down to put something like plastic down if I only have to do it once. Or should I just tell her to get over it? Ultimately, I don't believe she has any rights to dictate what I grow in my garden, but I don't want to upset her.
               
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              • "M"

                "M" Total Gardener

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                Good thinking! :thumbsup:
                Hmm, it's a toughie! Let me think ... :scratch: ... probably not a great phrase to use if you want to minimise any potential complaints :heehee:
                Unless there is something in the deeds to the contrary (regarding that boundary) then no, she cannot dictate what you grow in your garden :)

                Trouble with neighbours ... we'd all quite like to get along with them (in the main). I have had one horrendous neighbour and it was almost to the point of making me ill, things got so bad! Thankfully, that is all behind me.

                Just a thought, but, once you have decided quite what you are going to do with it, how about just having a chat with her and letting her know your plans? Can't hurt and I do find (in the main) that people can be far more obliging when they feel they have been kept informed. She might well respond with "Oh but I would prefer ... " and that's fine, you can still stick to your guns :)

                I moved here almost two years ago. The night before we exchanged contracts, we drove down and introduced ourselves to the immediate neighbours. We knew there was some fencing (our responsibility) which would need replacing with our semi-detached neighbour and we knew the other neighbours fence wasn't particularly high either. So, during our intro, I mentioned we had a dog, a large breed, and that our first priority was going to be to renew the fence one side. Neighbour didn't mind in the least (7 children, no pets and not really dog lovers - you can see why they didn't mind :heehee: ). Other neighbour we simply introduced ourselves to and explained we may need to put something on top of his fence to prevent our chickens hopping over for a nibble :whistle: :heehee: He isn't a gardener (invasive weed alert!) and really wasn't bothered one way or another. As it turned out, that side wasn't necessary after all - although we did ask to put up some trellis on top of his fence to gain some sense of "privacy" for the patio. But even then, thought had to be given to where the sun falls because the trellis still lets in light whereas a fence would rob him of direct sunlight and that simply wouldn't have been fair.

                So, as you can see, I followed my own advice and simply chatted to them and let them know what I intended and why. Here we are, almost two years down the line and we've had no cross words, no problems and we all go about our lives in relative privacy :thumbsup:
                 
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                • chris667

                  chris667 Apprentice Gardener

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                  Dialogue is not easy at all. She goes into the house if she sees me in the street or our garden. I'm trying to stay civil, but our communication recently has been by letter posted through the door.

                  I honestly can't see what we did to get that kind of treatment. We aren't bad neighbours, and she seemed to like Max. We let the garden get a bit overgrown when we first moved in (I work, and I had to get the house livable in for winter).

                  Sometimes, I guess these things are not about you.
                   
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                  • clanless

                    clanless Total Gardener

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                    Hi Chris,

                    If you want instant privacy - would recommend willow screening. I buy mine from a company called 'Primrose' - they are on ebay - they leave the goods if there is no one in to sign for - at their risk. Willow screening fits nicely on the front of the existing fence, are easy and quick to fit, look good (they blend into the surroundings) and stop cats escaping or getting into your garden. Round about £19 per panel.

                    Hedges are nice but do take up a fair chunk of space - why have a hedge when you can have a nice border?

                    If your heart is set on a hedge - you could put up the screening to get the privacy whilst the hedge growns.

                    Or go for the instant hedge units if you have deep pockets full of cash.:chicken:
                     
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                    • clanless

                      clanless Total Gardener

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                      Just read the comment about your neighbours. I suppose that there are just some people in this world who like to keep themselves to themselves. Just crack on with the garden and enjoy it :dbgrtmb:
                       
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                      • chris667

                        chris667 Apprentice Gardener

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                        Ultimately, that's the way it will have to be. It's a shame, but we haven't done anything wrong.

                        What I would like to do is minimise the effect on her lawn on the other side of my fence.

                        I read elsewhere about burying a plastic sheet on the side of the root where you don't want them to grow. Would this work with my hawthorn, and if so how deep do I need to go?
                         
                      • martin-f

                        martin-f Plant Hardiness Zone 8b

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                        If your not getting along with your Neighbour don't go attaching anything to it, if its her fence she can object,

                        When i bought my property there was no fence to my right looking up the garden i agreed to go half's on cost even though it wasn't my responsibility, the fence to my left that is my fence was rotten that neighbour went half's,

                        As soon as both fences was installed ive made a point of having my own hedge all round my property,

                        I like my privacy especially being a naturist its not everyone's cup of tea :frown:.



























                        :roflol: only joking about the last bit :heehee:.

                        Have a read here Chris :)
                        http://www.boundary-problems.co.uk/boundary-problems/fences.html
                         
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                          Last edited: May 19, 2016
                        • chris667

                          chris667 Apprentice Gardener

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                          It's my fence. I can do anything I like to it without restriction.

                          I'd prefer a hedge though, in the long term. It is a bit of a boring fence.
                           
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                          • martin-f

                            martin-f Plant Hardiness Zone 8b

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                            Get planting then Chris don't worry about shoots popping up and plastic sheets her mower will knock the tops of anything that comes up :).
                             
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