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Posted by SWAMP DWELLER 26 Mar 2011 - 6:21:00 AM

Hi, I'm new here and am looking for advice on screening my fence line. The conditions vary dramatically along the way. I had thought I would simply put in a hedge, and change plant type where nesesary, but now I'm thinking that would look both messy and boring.

I've been going through the plant selector and there is plenty of plants that would suit the different areas. What I would like to know is, for best visual effect, should I choose half a dozen varieties and buy large quantities of each and plant them randomly?

Or buy more variety? Less variety? Clump each variety together otr mix them up? Tall to the back and short to the front or mix it up? It is the western boundary so anything too tall planted at the back will shade the front plants.

We live on an old eucalypt plantation that has been selectively cleared in the back area that I am doing, and back onto a protected wetland, so I want to go for an informal bush feel.

I can attach a photo of the area once the sun is up if that will help

Thanks so much for your help!

Comments (2)

Re: EDITOR 29 Mar 2011 - 10:54:00 AM

You're asking all the right questions.

The basic answer is wrapped up in the decision to fit in with the surroundings and go with an informal bush feel. That means: mix it up. And make it look random even though it's carefully planned.

Think English hedgerow but with more local plants. A jumble of plants weaving their own way into each other and producing both a fence and a source of food and habitat for birds.

Choose a mix of different species suitable for each different set of conditions. At least 3 species for each set, but more depending on just how big each section is. That doesn't mean one of every possibility. As in a natural vegetation community, you want species that are happy where they're growing constantly reappearing.

It's not a formal, clipped hedge so placing dense plants at regular intervals in lines and rows doesn't apply. You could go with tubestock planted closely and randomly. A refinement to the 'random' approach: avoid sequences of Species 1, Species 2, Species 3, S1, S2, S3 ... Plant species in little blocks of 2, 3, 4 of themselves. They seem more comfortable in micro-communities of their own kind (like people) They can compete for space and resources with their own kind. It's also another aesthetic device to make it look more natural with a little block of that species here, a bigger block of it there, other things in between.

Near the seams where conditions change, blend the two mixed species lists of the two adjoining sections together. As in nature, reflect the change in conditions with a gradual shift in vegetation community. You can give them an educated head start, but where your placement isn't perfect the various species will sort out between themselves who's the fittest in the micro-conditions.

The shorter plants should still get plenty of eastern sun, even come the time the background plants get tall enough to cut the afternoon sun.

Re: SWAMP DWELLER 30 Mar 2011 - 5:29:00 AM

Thanks Editor, that's very helpfull.

I don't know why I said it's the western boundary, it is actuially the northern boundary, with the swamp to the west and our home and uncleared front area to the east.

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