Garden hedge with white picket fence

Enjoy your privacy with a bit of perfect planting

You don't have to have to build a high fence or wall in your garden to create some privacy - you can do it the natural way and use plants that are perfect for screening.

July 30, 2020
Garden hedge with white picket fence

Turn your garden into a private, shady oasis or divide your space into different zones with plants that are naturally suited to screening.


Given a support structure and early training, fast-growing climbers can quickly add more height and appeal to a plain fence. Consider the amount of sun available before you go ahead and start planting - the open aspect of a north- facing fence will suit different plants than a shady side passage that receives little sun.

Star jasmine suits sun or semi-shade positions. Slow-growing to start, it will develop over time into a dense screen with beautiful, scented white flowers in summer. If you want faster results, the white potato creeper will quickly cover your fence. Be sure to keep it under control with regular pruning as this vine’s growth is vigorous and can run rampant if left unchecked.

Another great climber is clematis. They have a more airy growth habit that allows light through, which is great if you just want to soften a structure rather than block it completely. They have deep roots that like to be kept cool, so a tip to keep them happy is to mulch well.

For a native garden choose hardenbergia, commonly called Happy Wanderer or hibbertia scandens, the Snake Vine. Both have dense twining growth and can withstand full sun.

Shrubs and trees

With a range of sizes to suit any situation, the lilly pilly is a hedging favourite. Choose the right type and height for your garden, be it clipped and formal or casual and cascading. Fast-growing viburnum is another popular choice and many bird-attracting natives make great hedging plants too - think callistemon and grevillea. On the shady side of the house plant camellia “Lady Gowrie”, an evergreen pink- flowering shrub that can grow to 3m.

Consider slender, slower-growing conifers as a hedging option if you don’t want to spend time training and regularly pruning your plants


Bamboo can provide an instant screening solution. Choose a non-invasive clumping variety such as Gracilis that can grow to over 6m yet still let dappled light through. Its upright growth makes it useful for narrow spaces and the lower leaves can be removed so they don’t obstruct pathways.

Talk to your local plant nursery about your screening options. Take into account the final heights of different plants as well as their watering, trimming and pruning needs.

Trellis tips

Make sure your trellis is sturdy and able to support the weight of the fully grown plant. Likewise if you are attaching the trellis to a fence, ensure the fence itself is structurally sound. Alternatively build a freestanding trellis with posts concreted into the ground and taut wire in between for the plants to cling to.

Keep your plants trimmed and trained. Direct the plant's new growth into the direction you want it to cover. Use plant ties where necessary to guide new shoots.

Be considerate of your neighbours - keep your plants under control and don't let them run rampant over the other side of the fence.

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