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What plants are good for screening?

Trained star jasmine creates a fragrant welcome.png

There are a large number of plants that you could use for screening around the two-to-three metre mark. 


Here are just a few suggestions:


  • Magnolia (Little Gem or Teddy Bear's)
  • Pittosporum
  • Camellia
  • Viburnum
  • Lily Pilly
  • Photinia


We’ve been recommended to use a conifer like Junipersas Spartan as a screening plant along a fenceline. I’m not sure I like the look and it sounds like we’ll have to be patient as it can take a while to reach the kind of height we’re after – two to three metres. Happy to hear further suggestions. - greygardener

This is what you get with a conifer - a very traditional looking hedge. I would imagine that a lot of people would recommend a pittosporum as they are fast growing - up to a metre a year. For screening you just want one that is sturdy and grows upright as well as bushing out. - Kermit

Another option I've been recommended to have a look at is Murraya. Apparently they are a great screening plant - very fast growing, fragrant white flowers and nice and clean. - Isobel

Another option you might like to consider is an ornamental pear. They are popular because they are tough, fast growing and look great. They also tend to grow at a uniform rate so are great for planting in a row. - Kellie

Port wine magnolias (Michelia or Magnolia figo) are one of my all-time favourite plants. Use them as shrubs, hedges, large topiary or small feature trees; they are just excellent and super hardy. They'll survive in most positions & conditions but do best in a sunny sort of spot with good soil.


They won't take well to cold conditions though so if you get regular frosts they may not be the ideal choice. Some say not to plant them if temperatures drop below 0˚ but I have had them in gardens that do get light frost & haven't had any issues. They make an excellent screen or hedge, very dense, but the trick is pruning tip-prune early and often to keep them nice and bushy.


Although they prefer good sun you'll find they do quite well in part-sun or even lightly shady spots too but will need more pruning to keep them dense. – Adam_W

Tip pruning port wine magnolias is very important to get and keep the plants in check so they bush up rather than head for the sky!  Keep in mind the trees might need some wind protection (hot and cold) until they're established. - ​​Noelle

We have many beautiful examples of sesanquas used for hedging down our way. - suequarford

I have an established line of magnolias along my front (north side) fence on Sydney's Northern Beaches (not right on the coast). Unfortunately, I hadn't picked up the advice about regular tip pruning to get bushiness. The result is that we now have 2.5m high and a bit sparse around the lower branches. - boatbloke

You can tip prune the top growth to encourage side growth lower down to fill the plants out, but it may take a couple of years to achieve the look you're after. Magnolias have a tendency to produce strong upright shoots if pruned too severely, so don't go in hard.


Take out the top 30cm or so of the main upright shoots now, and then next winter repeat that pruning technique to force the trees to produce more side shoots next spring. You might not be able to get them to fill out right down low but they will certainly look better for the effort you put in. Regular tip pruning through the growing season is best - nipping off just the growing tips. 


Another path is to put up a substantial trellis along the entire fence - concretors' reo/reinforcing mesh) is ideal - and training climbers over it. Star Jasmine, Potato Vine and any other fast growing climbers would be ideal. Regular trimming will keep them neat and still allow you access even in a narrow passageway between a house and fence. - Noelle

Becoming a Leader


Just came across this posting and wondered how @greygardener  and anyone else have got on with growing a privacy hedge? 

#Not sure how long ago this article was posted.


I struggled with this problem a few years ago after moving out West and came up with several solutions, for different area's of my yard.  As the place I purchased has low fences and (one neighbour would not approve of putting up fence extensions) every time I was out in my yard, one particular

neighbour who sadly is a real Mrs Jessop *(bizzy body).  It's took me a few years but I made trellises out of treated pine logs, (from Bunnings of course) and some large sheets of steel mesh.  3 of my trellises I've grown climbing roses up/on, which has been great.  The Roses have grown as high as my house and not only created privacy but awesome shade for other parts of my yard, as we live in one of the hotter places in Rural Western NSW.  On the Eastern side of my house I did the same but grew Happy Wanderer *(Native Wisteria - Hardenbergia) it comes in several different colours and has grown amazingly. So easy to prune, very low maintenance, also seems to be low or pest free from what I've seen so far.  Which is awesome as we have such extreme climates here.  Although it is protected between both our house & the neighbours as we get savage frosts here and plus 40's for most of the hottest parts of our Summers.


For the very back yard I started growing fruit trees along the 6mt long trellis *(espalier) but due to suffering with long Covid they got out of hand and are just growing, no longer espalier.  And well at that, the shade and fruit received is perfect and keeping the back part of the yard nice and private.


The front fence, I went with a mixture of mostly white tree/shrubs for a hedge, but some of them have been hit hard by frosts over the years. I included Mae bush (Spiraea), Geisha girl (Duranta), Mock Orange (Murraya) and Gardenia.


Due to neighbour issues I now need to plant a hedge, along my driveway.  


I have been looking into the Pittosporums as I like the look of them and some varieties can be kept reasonably narrow to go along my driveway area and reportedly grow fast. 

While researching I came upon this article and wondered how everyone has gotten on with their plantings over the years?  And what success folks had?  Which plants they went with? How they survive the Winter/frosts Summer heat waves, etc.


There where some great suggestions from people on this subject over the years and I wondered what they found the most successful?  And would appreciate any suggestions/feedback on the subject.


If anyone who planted privacy hedges and made comment to this article would care to share or give an update on what worked best for them I would really appreciate the feed back.

Thank you in advance

This Oldgal

Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member

Hi @Old-gal24,


A few other excellent articles you might like to check out:  





I also look forward to hearing what our members have found effective in their own yards.




Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member

Hello @Old-gal24 


I suggest having a look at this discussion - Front yard garden bed screening by @suequarford. It's a great example of a perfectly grown front yard screening. Plus, you get to see some fantastic before and after shots. 




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