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Screening and greening

Greening your block can be as easy as creating a screen to border your property or planting a row of shrubs to cover an unsightly area of your yard.

Hedges provide a great natural border and have been used extensively in some residential areas as fences dividing property boundaries.  Hedges that are meticulously maintained or shaped complement formal or informal gardens.

In recent times the use of screening plants has made a comeback. With houses getting bigger and private space smaller, people are turning to hedges to screen their precious outdoor area.

The need for tall fast growing trees is top of the agenda when considering your privacy needs. It may be to outline their property boundary, to divide a garden or screen an outdoor room to protect it from the sun or wind.

Whatever your reason, if you’re creating a screen or hedge keep the following tips in mind:

  • Look around your neighbourhood to see what grows well in the area.
  • Select your plants wisely.  A drought tolerant species will limit maintenance requirements and many native plants are suitable for screening/hedging.  Talk to your local garden centre to assist you in choosing the right plant for your area.
  • Select only one type of plant for each screen or hedge.  Adding more than one may not give you the effect you are looking for and varying growth patterns may cause unevenness in your hedge.
  • Consider buying a couple extra plants to replace any that may die during the establishment period.
  • Give the plants a good start by preparing the soil with a good compost.
  • Plant close together for small hedges and further apart for taller hedges. Talk to your local garden centre about the variety you have chosen and ask what distance they would recommend between each plant.
  • Use a string to ensure plants are kept in a straight line.
  • Feed your screen regularly as planting close together limits the nutrients available to each plant as they strive to get their share.
  • Keep an eye out for diseases – being so close together means when one plant is affected they may all follow suit quickly.  Talk to your local garden centre to find out what to look for in your area.
  • A screen or hedge may take some time to care and maintain.  Tall, fast growing trees can be high maintenance but most types require regular pruning depending on their growth patterns.
  • Consider the impact your screen will have on your neighbours.


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