Laurel is the quickest growing evergreen shrub, so if you don't want a conifer hedge, Laurel is the quickest and cheapest way of creating an evergreen garden hedge. Laurels will also provide the most instant hedging as the taller sizes (4ft, 5ft and 6ft) are bushy and can often create an instant screen if planted close enough.
Trees for small gardens: Fagus sylvatica Atropurpurea Group, copper beech, is a large tree, but it can be pleached to provide a screen. Tie in young stems to form a framework, then trim annually. Photo by Sarah Cuttle.