Who doesn’t want a little privacy now and then? It seems like every time you turn around, there’s another subdivision popping up in your backyard.
The needs and reasons for a privacy hedge are endless. Growing a living privacy fence can block out unsightly features in a landscape. Different shrubs are great for blocking out or dampening sound from a nearby highway or a noisy neighbor.
Create a Living Privacy Fence
A living privacy fence can bring color and life to an otherwise arid landscape. It can also serve as a windbreak for a particularly open yard and protect other features of the landscape. Bringing shade to a otherwise hot sunny area is another great benefit.
Trees and shrubs are a natural solution for these problems and can easily add value to your property. They’re also great for the environment, providing shelter for wildlife and reducing erosion from wind and rain.
Most of these trees and shrubs can provide a bit of shade after a few years, but for that privacy screen you want a plant that has some width coverage as well. You don’t want to have to trial a plant for years to see if it’s the one you want.
If you’re looking for a way to create an awesome living privacy fence, check out this list of evergreen shrubs and trees that make for a great privacy fence as they grow to maturity!
The Italian Cypress’ elegant shape and appearance is always an eye catcher. It will fit in narrow spots in your yard due to its size. Plant these elegant trees along your property line to create a beautiful natural border. Italian Cypress bring a Mediterranean feel to your landscape!
Height: 60-70 ft
Growth Rate: 12 – 24 inches a year
These beautiful plants are extremely drought tolerant, so do very well in southern Alabama. They are grown near condos at the beach so can tolerate sand and salty sea spray pretty well. Spring through Fall they dazzle us with flowers in shades of white, red and pink. Hummingbirds love them! These evergreen shrubs create a lush privacy screen year-round when planted close together. Definitely one of the best Spring hedges! Frost may damage this but you can cut it to the ground and most of the time it will survive a freeze.
Height: up to 20 ft
Width: 10 ft
Growth Rate: 1 to 2 feet per year
These evergreen shrubs bloom into a showy red bottlebrush shaped cluster of flowers sporadically throughout the year. Hummingbirds absolutely LOVE these! I have seen 50 or more hummingbirds on my sister’s huge hedge of bottlebrush. Over time they develop a thick trunk like a tree and can be up to 25 feet tall.
Height: up to 25 ft for some varieties
Width: 10-15 ft
Growth Rate: Can grow a foot or so a year
I’m sure you’ve heard the word Ficus, this is the same tree. It has dense foliage and when trained, can become a great shade tree as well. These make massive hedges over a long period of time.
Height: 25-80 ft
Growth Rate: 12-24 inches per year
This is one of my favorite shrubs for a border. They can get huge very quickly but if you train them, they are a welcome plant to the landscape with many desirable features. First off, they are beyond easy to grow and will grow almost anywhere. They have a silvery color to their leaves that gives them the common name of Silverbell. Also, the flower they produce is part of this. In the Fall, they sprout tiny white flowers that have a pleasant fragrance that fills the breezy Fall days. Further into the Winter, the flowers turn into red berries that birds love to eat. You can eat them too and they taste a bit like a Comquat but they are much tinier.
Height: 6-15 ft
Growth Rate: 3 to 4 ft a year
There are many kinds of Holly trees that will do the trick here. Most holly produce red or orange berries during the Fall and Winter months adding a big splash of color for your holiday season landscape. Very disease and pest resistance is an added plus. Most holly have stiff leaves with thorns but they are a few variety with soft leaves if that’s what you’re looking for.
Growth Rate: up to 2 ft per year depending on variety
There are standard and dwarf varieties to fit your landscaping needs. These multi trunked shrubs are covered in pale green evergreen leaves. The foliage of wax myrtles has a slightly spicy fragrance. Pale blue berries form on the “female” plant in the winter. Makes a great screen plant due to its fullness.
Height: 6-12 ft
Width: 10-15 ft
Growth Rate: 1 -2 ft a year
Thuja Green Giant
You have probably seen these before. They are all over the place, and for good reason. They grow amazingly fast and are easy to care for. Disease and drought resistant like most other evergreens, but their towering size alone is what sets them apart. Resistant to deer and pests as well. Adaptable to almost any soil type.
Height: 20-40 ft
Width: 6-12 ft
Growth Rate: 3 to 5 ft a year!
Yet another evergreen that can give you that much needed privacy rather quickly. The Leyland Cypress is the most popular privacy tree in the United States. Not only will it grow quickly, but it will grow in a uniform shape that requires little pruning to look great.
Growth Rate: 3 – 5 ft a year
Emerald Green Thuja
These amazing trees are perfect for the smaller yard. Reaching a moderate size, they are easy to keep trimmed and looking great. Very drought tolerant.
Height: 6-12 ft
Width: 3-4 ft
Growth Rate: as fast as 3 ft a year