Trees for privacy in a small space

(Question)

I have a small space in my garden that is about 9 or 10 feet wide by 7 or 8 feet deep which I need to plant.  This section of garden is fenced by a high wooden fence but unfortunately, my neighbours have a raised deck off the back of their house and when they are outside, they can see right over the fence onto my patio and also inside to the kitchen.  What kind of trees can I plant there that will grow tall above the fence and give me some privacy?  Also, I don’t mind pruning every couple of years to keep the trees or shrubs tidy.  My soil is clay based but because of a slight slope to the garden, drainage has never been a problem.  This part of the garden is sun to part shade.

 

(Answer)

I have a couple of options for you depending on the look you are trying to create in your new garden.

You could try a deciduous tree such as the pyramidal beech, Fagus sylvatica “Fastigiata”, which has an upright columnar growth habit.  It is a low maintenance tree with a slow growth rate but can live to be 120 years old.  It is fairly pollution tolerant making it good for an urban garden.  It can be pruned in the late winter when the extreme cold is passed but before any spring budding.  This tree does not like standing water so soil with good drainage is best.

Evergreens such as pyramidal yews (Taxus capitata),  Irish yews (Taxus baccata stricta “Fastigiata”) or columnar yews (Taxus citation) may also be an option.  These will all grow with an erect habit in well drained soil and sun/part shade conditions.  They could be planted and pruned on a regular basis to form a tall hedge that would give year round privacy but would also form a nice backdrop for other plantings.  Just one word of warning – yews are toxic so no parts of the plants should be ingested.