Screening Plants for Narrow Spaces (Australian Guide)

As house blocks around urban areas become smaller and homes are built closer together, it’s more important than ever to find screening plants that will fit into narrow spaces.

Planting a narrow hedge is one of the best ways to create privacy in your yard and to screen your home from the neighbours.

Luckily, many Australian plant breeders understand the need for screening plants that will live in narrow spaces and have developed numerous varieties for you to choose from.

Here’s just a small selection of fantastic narrow hedging plants for you to consider.

Bambusa textilis gracilis (Slender Weavers Bamboo)

If you love the charm and grace of bamboo like I do, this clumping variety might just fit your narrow space perfectly as a screening plant. It’s an extremely fast-growing variety and can reach its full height of around five to seven metres in just two years.

If you plant this along a fence line, you can clip off the lower branches to expose the lovely slender stems at the base of the clump. This creates a delightful effect and is ideal for both formal and informal garden landscapes.

Callistemon ‘Slim’ 

If you want to attract wildlife, add colour to your garden, and create some privacy, look at Callistemon ‘Slim’. This slender and tall bottlebrush was developed by Ozbreed Greenlife and only grows to a width of 1.3 metres. However, it will easily grow to a height of around 3 metres.

This plant can be grown in full sun or part shade and will delight you with its masses of bright red bottlebrush flowers in spring, summer, and autumn.

Cupressus ‘Lemon Scent’

This lemon-scented cypress has beautiful golden-green foliage and will grow to a width of 1.5 metres and a height of 3 metres. It’s a hardy conifer that will tolerate most soil types but does prefer free-draining soil.

It grows best in full sun which brings out the vibrancy of the foliage. Best of all, it requires virtually no maintenance to maintain its lovely slim shape.

Cupressus sempervirens glauca

The Italian pencil pine is another narrow growing and slender tree that only grows to a width of 1 metre. But, it can reach a height of 15 metres. It’s the perfect plant for a more formal garden with its tall columnar shape.

It prefers to grow in full sun but will adapt to part shade. It also likes moist but well-drained soil that is reasonably fertile.

Juniper ‘Skyrocket’

This pencil pine is perfect for narrow spaces because it will grow up straight and narrow. It can reach a width of 1 metre and a height of up to 10 metres if allowed to grow to full maturity.

It has stunning blue-grey foliage and is fast-growing. Its natural columnar growth habit means that it requires very little pruning unless you want to keep the height in check.

Melaleuca ‘Narrow Nessie’

This beautiful honey myrtle is ideal for narrow spaces as it only reaches a width of 1.3 metres but can grow to a height of 3 metres. It’s a lovely dense shrub with gorgeous purple pom-pom flowers.

It will grow in full sun or part shade and can adapt to different soil types and growing conditions. It’s also excellent for coastal gardens and is drought and frost tolerant.

Photinia ‘Thin Red’

Photinias have always been popular hedging and screening plants around Australia because they’re hardy and colourful with their new foliage which is red. For gardeners with small spaces, Ozbreed has developed a slender version called ‘Thin Red’.

This hardy plant only grows to a width of 60 cm but can reach a height of up to 4 metres. It will happily grow in most soil types and in either full sun or part shade. It only needs pruning once or twice a year depending on how sculptured you want your hedge to be.

Syzygium ‘Straight and Narrow’

Lilly pillies are popular screening plants around the country and this variety has been bred by Ozbreed as a solution for gardeners with narrow spaces.

It will reach a maximum width of 1.5 metres and can grow as tall as 8 metres. However, if you want a shorter hedge, it can easily be pruned to a height of 2 metres.

This is a hardy plant that will grow in most soils in either full sun or shade. It’s also cold and drought-tolerant and naturally resilient to Psyllid pests.

Thuja plicata fastigiata (Upright Western Red Cedar)

If you love the scent of cedar and want a relatively fast-growing screening tree, you should consider this plant. It has a columnar type shape and will only grow to a width of 1.5 metres with a mature height of up to 6 metres.

It can reach a height of around 5 metres within 10 years. Although this tree grows best in cooler climates, it will handle most soil types and will live happily in full sun or part shade.

Photo of author

Annette Hird

Annette Hird is a gardening expert with many years of experience in a range of gardening related positions. She has an Associate Diploma of Applied Science in Horticulture and has worked in a variety of production nurseries, primarily as a propagator. She has also been responsible for a large homestead garden that included lawn care, fruit trees, roses and many other ornamental plants. More recently, Annette has concentrated on improving the garden landscape of the homes that she has lived in and focused a lot of energy on growing edible plants as well. She now enjoys sharing her experience and knowledge with others by writing articles about all facets of gardening and growing plants.


2 thoughts on “Screening Plants for Narrow Spaces (Australian Guide)”

  1. I have a narrow space between the house and fence
    Height can be 1.8 to 2 mtrs
    Width can be ok but could be pruned if starts to Cover path
    Prefer flowering as love birds and would prefer evergreen
    We are in a hotter area but doget frost is protected by colour bond fence and house the spot is south East th dirt is clay and has been added some better soil
    I would love some experienced advice

    • Hi Maree

      Have you considered growing a climber on the colourbond fence? Or, you could consider some of the slim lilly pilly cultivars if they grow in your area. Otherwise, why not head to your local nursery to see what they have in stock and what takes your fancy. Then, check the plant label for the height and width of the plant. Most plants can be pruned to maintain a more compact shape.


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