Autumn is a great time to make design or layout changes to your garden. Screening is a popular task that autumn provides great conditions for – your garden is probably in a state of dying back and preparing for winter, and so you can see the bare shape of your garden. Also, the weather isn’t blisteringly hot and the ground is workable. It’s a good time to get some screening installed!
Screening can be erected for a variety of reasons. Whether you want to create some privacy, divide your garden into sections, attract attention to an area of the garden, hide an oil tank or garage, or provide some shade, there are many ideas to create effects that will work in your garden style.
So, for example, if you want to create a seating area that’s not overlooked by your neighbours, consider the position that your screening will be in. Is it shady? Consider screening plants that would thrive in the shade. Do you need high screening? Maybe reed or twigs bound together would work well. Is it a small area? You might not want overpoweringly scented plants if you’ll be sitting in an enclosed space!
There are so many options in terms of the structure that you can use to provide screening. From wood, steel or plastic fences and panels, reeds or twigs, trellis, artificial hedge tiles, fruit trees, bushes, grasses, a nature wall, or anything else you can imagine! Some require patience and time, others can be placed and be ready immediately, it just depends on your vision and requirements. And you can combine and customise many of those – so for example, a narrow fence panel painted in your favourite colour, with a potted spiral topiary could restrict the view of your next door neighbour’s garage from your patio.
Choosing the right plants for screening needs some consideration. Research how tall the plant will grow, what kind of soil/shade/sun they thrive in, how far they spread, and what coverage they will give you at different times of the year. For example, bamboo is a lovely plant for screening but it can spread quickly and the roots can be invasive, so pick a variety that you can plant in troughs to keep them contained.
Finally, just remember that if you are planning next to or near a public right of way or road, you may need to gain permission from the local council. And be mindful of your neighbours – a high screen may suit you but may also block their view or cast shade into their garden. You don’t want to start a war with the neighbours!