Screening plants cannot not only increase the privacy in your garden, they can make your small garden appear larger. Obscuring the fence or border with screening plants or climbers will help to fix the “closed in” look that bare fences will give you. If you are landscaping for a swimming pool then the use of screening plants will be provide privacy for your pool area.
This landscape design in the leafy souther suburbs of Melbourne featured court yard paving with sandstone pavers. These pavers run very close to the fence to make the best of the small space.
Improving Garden Privacy
For improved privacy a fence extension was added. The screening plants used for this application needs to be one with slow growing non invasive roots. The plant chosen was a conifer Thuja Occidentalis, sometimes referred to as a White Cedar. As it prefers moist, well drained soil, a dripper system using tank water was installed. The subsoil also incorporated a drainage system. The fine needles on this plant also makes the small courtyard garden appear larger. The drainage system also helps to prevent the nearby fence from rotting. The light coloured sandstone paving also makes the small courtyard appear larger. The lighter leaves of the Crepe Myrtle contrasts well with the dark green leaves of the Thuja Occidentalis.
Screening Plants – Thuja Occidentalis or White Cedar
The Thuja Occidentalis has a reputation for being a slow to moderate growing evergreen conifer. It has a neat, conical shape and attractive emerald-green foliage that looks good all year round. Here it provides a backdrop for the splash of colour provided by the potted petunias.
Weeping Lilly Pilly (Waterhousea floribunda)
For the narrow shady space between the house and the fence Waterhousea floribunda (Weeping Lilly Pilly) was chosen.
Waterhousea floribunda occurs naturally in rainforests in Queensland and New South Wales. It commonly used for hedging or screening plants. The lush lime green crinkled slender leaves contrast with the new growth which is a soft pink bronze. In summer it produces fluffy white flowers that develop into pink berries. As this plant is suitable for growing in part shade to full sun, it is ideal for this position in the garden by a fence. Here it can get some protection from harsh drying winds. As you would expect for a rain forest plant, it is tolerant to wet soils. It is important not to let the soils dry out too much, so a dripper system is a real benefit. Sometimes referred to as weeping satinash in South East Queensland. It is also known as Syzygium floribundum.
Screening Plants – lilly pilly hedge
For a hedge of lilly pilly you might also want to consider the Acmena smithii, now known as the Syzygium smithii ‘Hedgemaster’ which is a low growing variety of the common llilly pilly.
Both of these varieties occur naturally in rainforests in Queensland and New South Wales. It commonly used for hedging or screening plants. The lush lime green crinkled slender leaves contrast with the new growth which is a soft pink bronze. In summer it produces fluffy white flowers that develop into pink berries. As this plant is suitable for growing in part shade to full sun, it is ideal for this position in the garden by a fence. Here it can get some protection from harsh drying winds. As you would expect for a rain forest plant, it is tolerant to wet soils. It is important not to let the soils dry out too much, so a dripper system is a real benefit. To form it into a hedge, regular pruning or hedge trimming will be required.
Screening Plants – Hakea salicifolia
For the rear fence Hakea salicifolia, also know as the Willow Leafed Hakea, was chosen as the screening plant. As it will tolerate a partly shaded position, it is ideal for growing along a fence line. Under the right conditions it will be fast growing and will screen out the neighbours very quickly. From winter to spring it will display masses of white flowers. When growing rapidly, new growth will have a purple tint. If it is a more formal hedge you are after, it will respond well to regular pruning. As it is native to New South Wales and South East Queensland, as well as tolerant to both strong winds and frost, it can be used all over the Gold Coast. Whether you are in Upper Coomera, Ashmore or Broadbeach, this makes an ideal fast growing hedge or screening plant.
Hakeas are named after Baron Christian Ludwig von Hake who was a patron of science and especially botany in Hanover Germany. Salicifolia refers to how the leaves resemble the willow. The willow tree is from the genus Salix.
Frequently asked questions about Screening Plants
What is the fastest growing screening plant?
For a fast growing Australian native screening plant we recommend Hakea salicifolia. Bamboo is a very fast growing screening plant but some varieties can get out of hand. Look for a clumping variety like Chinese dwarf (Bambusa guangxiensis). Although it is a dwarf variety, it will still get to 3 metres rapidly. For instant screening, try bamboo in large pots.
Another fast growing screening plants is the Murraya Paniculata.
These can also be grown in pots for instant privacy screening.
One popular use for fast growing screening plants is for swimming pool landscaping design. People tend to prefer to make this part of the home garden as private as possible. Fast growing screening plants in pots can help with this aim. Another useful tool for garden designers is the use of 3D CAD to check the views into the garden so that the fast growing screening plants can be placed in the best positions to quickly screen out the neighbours.
Related Landscaping Ideas from Red’s Landscaping and Civil.
More information on Screening Plants