Portuguese laurel is very smart, tough as old boots and fine to clip to keep it to the right height, will grow in almost any soil. Pyracantha is also tough and happy on shade and has lovely berries in winter.
Do you live in town or in the country? What is your soil like and how sunny is the area you'd like the screening for? There are loads of options but it does depend on your conditions. Some good info here www.ashridgetrees.co.uk/Barrier-Hedges-and-Screens
In my view a hedge will make it seem like a completely divided off area but you might want that. One other option would be to put up trellis and grow climbers up it, although it might be best if the area gets quite a bit of sunlight so that you have a good choice of plants.
I originally thought about bamboo, but I've heard they'd spread like wildfire. But I'll have a look at the clumping type on the website now.
I haven't had a chance to go to any garden centres this weekend. Non stop rain meant I couldn't be arsed didn't feel like wrapping up in warm clothes, grab a brolly and look for hedges and shrubs. Hopefully it will be better next week.
I would touch bamboo, I paid someone a days work to get rid of a 6ft one, that was after I'dcut it down as far as I could with the hedgecutters and have now spent 3 backbreaking days trying to get the last of the roots out so I can use the ground for something else . I like pyracantha lovely flowers now and berries later. Read that alan titchmarsh also reccomends certain roses. His little bbc book(how to garden- growing roses) has couple of pages on growing roses from hedges. it also suggests under and over 3ft high choices.
Thanks mrsfuzzy. Great suggestions, haven't heard of them yet and I especially like the look of St johns wort and privet. I have been concentrating on flowers and totally missed reading and researching on shrubs for the back garden, so those give me a great starting point. Will have a wander around the garden centre this weekend and see what I can find of those suggested.
privet is an obvious one to go for and it has the added advantage that if you don't cut it when it begins to actively grow it produces masses of tiny highly scented white flowers, mine are planted along a pavement and passer bys often comment on the lovely fragrance, admitteldy the bushes many become a bit untidy before blooming but it worth the wait, when the flowers die back tidy up the privet into the style ou like and you will find its growth slows believe it or not i only cut mine a max. 3/4 times during the growing season, unlike my neighbours who are cutting fortnightly. along with privet you could plant spirea which is a nice flowering shrub too, and another great hedging shrub is st johns wort with masses of yellow flowers, hope this helps, happy gardening!
I only just discovered this section <excited much>
I need to pick your brains on how to best screen a 40ft area not using fences as we have so many already in other areas of the garden and I want something different.
The neighbours that the bit joins to are nice, but I want a little privacy and I want to cover up their unsightly mis-match of random shrubs etc.. In the long run I'd like 5 ft height.
At the moment I'm thinking bog standard hedging, but don't know much about hedges so any advice on which ones / maintenance etc would be good. Other option is a variety of shrubs that grow taller. Ideas?