As more people opt to live in the suburbs, there is more pressure on space and privacy can become an issue. When new homes are built fairly close together it can be challenging to create a screen to give the new occupants an element of seclusion. However, the creative use of plants can do the trick, even when there's not much space to work with. How can they help?

Working Out What You Need

If you have an eye for horticulture then you may be off to the races, but if not it's a good idea to do some research before heading down to the nursery to stock up. It's important to size up the area and to determine how to provide an element of screening, without overpowering the occupants, or creating a scene that simply doesn't work. What types of plant work well in full sun versus shade? How long do individual plants take to mature versus others you are considering? Remember, you have to project what this is going to look like several years hence, as well.

Now and Forever

It's always a good idea to buy bigger plants and fewer, rather than to opt for a large variety. You're looking for some privacy screening now and something that will become even more attractive in the years ahead. It's going to be easier to plan, plant and maintain larger individual plants. You will need to make sure that those larger plants are not going to grow into something that is unwieldy or unmanageable, and this is part of the research just mentioned.

Setting the Scene

Variety is the spice of life and the garden will look so much better if it is composed of plants that flower at different times of year and provide a varied colour palette. Try to create depth where the room is available, rather than putting everything up against a borderline.

Stage Management

It may not be possible to achieve perfection when trying to provide some privacy screening. After all, the end result is going to look different depending on where you're standing in the 360° spectrum. Therefore, you have to be very precise and choose the best, compromise option.

What is the "worst" single item you're trying to block? Where will the occupants spend most time? How can you best shield them from view, when they're sitting on the patio, for example? You may have to do some staging with the occupants, before actually planting into the ground.

Over to You

With a lot of creativity and some advice from the local nursery, it's amazing what you can achieve in even the smallest space. More about this topic is here.