I get a lot of questions from people about screening with bamboo in a very narrow bed, and which bamboo will be best for the task.
Usually someone wants a 15′-30′ tall screen from the neighbors, and they want to know if they can grow a bamboo hedge in a 2′-3′ strip of dirt between a concrete walk/drive/patio and a wall/fence. It can be done, but I discourage people from trying it because it takes more work to maintain a very narrow planting space, and because I think most people will be disappointed in the performance of their bamboo hedge (read more about where to plant bamboo).
Recently, I have seen two gardens where bamboo screens are being maintained in a narrow planting spaces. Pictured below, is a long hedge of Fargesia robusta being maintained in 3′ wide bed. This a twelve year old planting, so it’s not going to get any taller without a drastic change in the growing environment.
To maintain the spread of the plant, culms are cut off at the ground. To maintain the canopy width, the hedge is sheared vertically to remove arching culms.
Pictured below are three Fargesia robusta being used to screen a view of the neighbor house. These plants were 3′-4′ tall in #5 containers when they were planted about four years ago. With intensive pruning, they are being maintained in a bed that is only 2′ wide. Unlike the hedge pictured above, these plants have not been sheared, giving them a more natural look. Also, these plants have grown much faster and will eventually reach a greater maximum height than the above hedge, because of intensive management, i.e. soil amendments, lots of water and fertilizer.