Gardening Advice: Screening

Gardening Advice: Screening

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Published by TOP4 Team

Maybe you’ve got a noisy neighbor or the house next door overlooks your outdoor setting. Whatever the problem, screening plants may be your solution.

First you’ll need to figure out how high, wide and dense you want your plants. For behind a front fence you may want a low-growing hedge, or a tall-growing privacy screen around a pool. Once you know what your needs are, selecting the right species is a whole lot easier.

Lilli pilli
(Syzygium smithii)

The lilli pily is popular due to its summer flowering and glossy green leaves. Its new growth has a pink flush of colour and the plant also produces maroon edible berries. It grows between 3-5m tall, but can be maintained at a shorter height. Be aware that birds also like to eat the berries and their red droppings will stain pavements and decks.

Cupressocyparis leylandii
‘Leighton Green’

This is a fast-growing conifer, excellent as a screening plant or trimmed into a hedge. It has a very dense forming habit and can reach height of more than 5m in 10 years and can grow to more than 15m. Not for small gardens, unless you have time to keep it a smaller size.

Photinia ‘Red Robin’

Photinias make for a vibrant hedge or screen. Their new foliage varies between fiery red to bronze and becomes the feature of this plant. It’s a medium-fast growing plant that reaches 1-3m in height and up to 1.2m wide. If not allowed to grow to its natural width, it can appear twiggy due to its large leaf.


A non-invasive clumping variety is a good option. Bambusa multiplex ‘Alphonse Karr’ is my pick. Its pinkish shoots become green-stripped yellow culms. It also responds well to pruning and reaches between 5-8m.

Orange Blossom
(Murraya paniculata)

This fast-growing shrub has glossy green foliage with a dense growth and white fragrant flowers. Great used as a small hedge or screen, it can grow up to 3m high x 1.2m wide and flowers in spring and summer. It loves sunny positions. For gardens in the south, maybe choose Choisya, a very similar plant that grows better in cool climates.

Other commonly used screening plants

Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘James Stirling’; Viburnum odoratissimum (fast growing) or Viburnum tinus (slower growing); Buxus ‘Box hedge’; Waterhousea floribunda (weeping lilli pilly).


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