If you have a fence that isn't adding to the aesthetic value of your landscape, disguise it with shrubs. To hide a fence, plant tall, fast-growing shrubs with dense foliage. For a southern or western exposure, choose shrubs that thrive in full-sun conditions. For a northern or eastern exposure, select shrubs that prefer shady sites. Before purchasing your shrubs, determine the soil type and moisture requirements of the planting site and choose the species that best match these conditions.
Evergreens for sun
The hedge bamboo grows up to 3.6 m (12 feet) high with a 1.8 m (6 foot) spread. This quick-growing evergreen tolerates full-sun or light-shade conditions and has upright, arching foliage. Hedge bamboo will spread quickly if it's not confined and is hardy throughout the British Isles. Thorny eleagnus, or Elaeagnus pungens, reaches heights to 3.6 m (12 feet) and spreads to 3 m (10 feet) wide. A sun-loving shrub, the thorny eleagnus produces aromatic blossoms in the winter, followed by spring fruits. Other evergreens for sunny sites include oleander and Chinese, Frazier and Japanese photinias.
Deciduous for sun
The white fringetree, or Chionanthus virginicus, grows best in full sun. This 4.5 m (15 foot) tall shrub blooms with long clusters of white flowers in the late spring. Plant the white fringetree in rich, well-drained soil. The white fringetree is hardy in cold climates. The burning bush, or Euonymus alatus, grows from 4.5 to 6 m (15 to 20 feet) tall. A drought-tolerant shrub, the burning bush has dark green foliage that turns brilliant red in the autumn. Burning bushes produce red fruits that attract birds and are hardy throught the UK. Other sun-loving, deciduous shrubs include star magnolia, chaste tree and butterfly bush.
Evergreens for shade
The camellia can reach heights to 4.5 m (15 feet) with a 2.1 m (7 foot) spread. Camellias produce multicoloured blossoms in the early spring and prefer partial shade. This columnar evergreen is hardy In the UK. The sasanqua camellia, or Camellia sasanqua, also thrives in partial shade and grows to 4.5 m (15 feet), but this evergreen blooms in the autumn.
The tall glossy privet, or Ligustrum lucidum, grows from 4.5 to 6 m (15 to 20 feet) tall and spreads to 2.4 to 4.5 m (8 to 15 feet). This dense shrub blooms with white summer flowers, followed by black fall fruits. A bird-attracting shrub, the tall glossy privet tolerates a variety of soils but cannot live in waterlogged sites. Tall glossy privet is hardy throughout the British Isles. Other evergreen shrubs for shady sites include scarlet firethorn and Japanese privet.
Deciduous for shade
The panicle hydrangea, also known as the peegee hydrangea, grows to 7.5 m (25 feet) tall with a 4 m (20 foot) spread. This large deciduous shrub can thrive in partial shade and is hardy even in the coldest corners of the British Isles. Panicle hydrangeas produce large pyramid-shaped panicles of white flowers that fade to pink. This fast-growing shrub can tolerate clay soil but prefers moist, well-drained sites.
The Amur maple tolerates partial shade and moist, well-drained soil. This maple shrub grows up to 6 m (20 feet) tall and has dark green foliage that turns yellow to red in the autumn. Amur maples make good hedge shrubs and are cold-hardy. Other tall deciduous shrubs that thrive in shady spots include the serviceberry, pagoda dogwood, witchhazel and winter honeysuckle.