Use screening trees to provide garden privacy, fences are more expensive than you think!

Screening trees can add privacy to a garden, by blocking out lines of sight above those that a fence could hide.

King and Co specialise in screening trees to create a screen above the fenceline. Often fence panels are only allowed to stand at a height of 1.8 – 2 metres in height (depending on local legislation). A 10-metre long fence can cost upwards of £400 in fence boards and posts alone, with added costs of post-crete, preservatives and security toppings to name a few – not to mention the cost of a reputable installation.

Line of Laurel trees above garden fence line, blocking view of neighbouring houses.
Laurel screening trees used to create privacy in overlooked garden – Before and After

Here at King and Co we offer a wide range of evergreen screening trees such as Photinia Red Robin, Cherry Laurel, Ligustrum and Magnolia. Our screening trees not only give a taller screen than a fence, but also soften the view of an unsightly new-build house at the bottom of the garden! Additionally, there are certain varieties of birds that consume the berries from our laurel trees. There is a remarkable difference in wildlife once a new garden has been installed with sufficient trees and shrubs.

Photinia Red Robin
Photinia Red Robin can be purchased in both standard tree and hedging plant form. Photinia Red Robin as a tree is very popular, providing a dense evergreen tree with a bushy head – which is used in many gardens as a raised hedge, with a clear stem of approximately 1.8m. Photinia hold stunning red, glossy young foliage during spring that gradually ages to green with time, the new growth appears in bursts throughout spring and summer. To create a dense hedge, Photinia can be pruned when they are first planted.

Photinia hedging plants are fast-growing and can create an evergreen hedge that will produce privacy and screening as well as striking, vibrant colours that will enhance your garden or boundaries in the spring, summer and winter months. It is recommended to prune your hedge twice a year (in late spring and summer), which will create a dense, formal hedge of up to 4m high when mature. We are repeatedly asked about Photinia Red Robin to be used in a screening capacity, so we have created a video to provide more information, view it here.

A row of Photinia screening trees in a garden
‘Photinia x Fraseri’ Red Robin Standard Screening Trees

Cherry Laurel – Prunus laurocersus
Cherry laurel (Prunus laurocerasus) can also be bought in screening tree or hedging plant form. You can create a raised evergreen barrier or hedge by planting these trees along a fence line about 1-1.5m apart to create privacy and screening. The height and width of the head will increase as it grows, stem height will remain the same. This is ideal for creating instant hedging with maximum privacy, without encroaching on the rest of your garden. If only one tree is required, it can be strategically placed to screen unsightly views from your property. Trees can be kept clipped in a more formal shape or left just to grow into their natural form.

As a hedge, laurel will grow to around 6 or 7 metres tall, and will continue to spread unless regular formative pruning during the summer is performed. The particular cultivar that King and Co favour is Prunus Laurocerasus ‘Novita’, novita has proved to be much hardier than its parent. Furthermore, it is not susceptible to mildew or “shot hole” disease, which can stunt growth. Novita is also slightly more compact and has a darker leaf. Planted at one metre spacings at a single row of laurels, it will make a superb evergreen screen.

Laurel trees being planted by two people against a fence in a new home's garden, blocking the view of the houses that can be seen behind the garden.
Laurel screening trees being planted in the garden of a new home. These evergreen trees will provide year-round privacy.

Chinese Privet – Ligustrum Lucidum Excelsum Superbum
A good choice of screening tree for smaller gardens. This small semi-evergreen tree holds glossy pale green/cream variegated leaves bearing white panicles of flowers in late summer, which ompliments period homes very well. A good choice of screening tree for smaller gardens as it can be clipped to keep small or left to grow out. The heads of these standard trees are designed specifically to sit on top of the fence panel. The height and width of the head will increase as it grows.

ligustrum superbum screening tree
Chinese Privet Tree (Ligustrum Lucidum Excelsum Superbum)

Magnolia Grandiflora Galissoniere – Evergreen Magnolia Tree
You might think of magnolia as a dense shrub, but it can also be purchased as a standard tree, often with a clear 2M stem. Magnolia Grandiflora has magnificent saucer-shaped cream flowers with dark purple stamens and a delicate scent, a beautiful site throughout Summer and into Autumn. The bonus for screening purpose is that this hardy, evergreen variety will retain its foliage throughout the year. Evergreen Magnolia will become a medium to large-sized tree if planted in a sheltered sunny site but can easily be controlled by pruning and then becomes very dense ideal as a screen.


Magnolia Grandiflora Galissoniere – Evergreen Magnolia Tree

Japanese Privet Tree – Ligustrum Japonicum
Another good choice of screening tree if you have a smaller garden, Japanese Privet can be clipped to keep it small. Perfecting for creating privacy without encroaching on the rest of your garden. Even with just one tree, it can be strategically placed to provide cover from unsightly views or privacy from people looking in. Ligustrum Japonicium is a relatively quick tree to grow in this form and is therefore offered at a very favourable price. Furthermore, this tree thrives in any soft drained soil, and is best planted in sunny position. If a raised evergreen screen is desirable, planting at 1 metre intervals should achieve this within 2 to 3 years.

Japanese Privet Tree - Ligustrum japonicum
Japanese Privet Tree – Ligustrum japonicum

Hornbeam – Carpinus Betulus
Hornbeam is not evergreen, but what you lose in winter coverage you will gain in wonder as it bursts into greenery come the spring and then changes to splendid yellow and orange colours during the Autumn months.Its upright form is often used to create structure and formality in gardens, avenues and urban areas where the tendency to hold the dead leaves long into winter make it a great choice for screening. A very good choice for areas of clay soil.

Hornbeam tree forms
From Left: Hornbeam foliage. Pleached Hornbeam tree. Feathered Hornbeam tree.

Read More
Planting Laurel to screen overlooking windows
Expert guide to screening trees
Photinia trees used to screen an unsightly factory
Photinia Red Robin – Planting Guide information
An example of how screening trees can create privacy

Shopping Online

You can buy trees, hedging, screening trees, shrubs and topiary online by browsing our website. If you do not see a plant or size that is suitable for you then please call as we stock a wide variety of plants in our tree nursery. It’s worth noting that many other websites sell other people’s stock (i.e. they act as an agent) so you cannot view the products at their own site. At King & Co, all of our advertised plants are available for viewing at our tree nursery in Rayne, near Braintree, situated just over an hours drive out of London. Our knowledgeable and experienced tree nursery staff is always contactable via phone on 01376 340469 or if you have any questions regarding any of our trees or accessories. If you cannot see what you require on our website, please complete the enquiry form. We will give it our urgent attention and will get back to you shortly with a solution that meets your needs.