There are many reasons why arborvitae is among the most popular plants for a living privacy fence. Its thick evergreen foliage creates a dense hedge when the trees are spaced properly, it tolerates most soil conditions, and it's cold hardy and low maintenance. There are several varieties of different stature, from dwarf to giant, so consider the plant's mature height and width when choosing arborvitae for your space. Available at The Home Depot; $61.99.
The Best 10 Plants to Grow for Backyard Privacy
If you need privacy in your yard, but don’t want to—or can’t—install a fence, you still have plenty of options. There’s a great selection of trees, shrubs, and vines that can help you turn your property into a secluded retreat. Check out this list of our favorites.
Bamboo is one of the fastest-growing plants in the world, so it can create a lush and exotic privacy screen very quickly. Some varieties of bamboo are invasive, so choose a slow-spreading, clumping variety, or consider planting it in large raised planters to keep it under control. Available on Amazon; $18.56.
Flickr via Frank Fujimoto
With annual shaping and pruning, the dense evergreen foliage of skip laurel makes a beautiful 10-foot-tall privacy screen. Planted in a sunny location and in well-drained soil, a laurel hedge will reward you with white blooms in spring. Available at Amazon; $25.
Flickr via Buddha Dog
Fast-growing privet can get you privacy in a hurry; if given proper care, it can add between two and three feet to its height each year. When grown as a hedge, privet needs to be pruned regularly, but that hard work pays off when the plant produces a thick cover of sweet-smelling flowers every spring. Available at The Home Depot; $64.99.
There are many varieties of holly that provide excellent privacy in the yard. Available as tall trees or dense shrubs, and in colors that run the gamut from green to variegated, holly offers something to satisfy any landscaping taste. Homeowners with small children (or sensitive hands) may want to consider a soft-leafed variety that's free of the plant's signature sharp, spiny leaves. Available at The Home Depot; $30.99
Flickr via Dudelsack
Boxwood has been long used as a decorative pruned hedge in formal gardens, but it's also beautiful when less strictly maintained. Allowed to grow freely, some varieties can reach 20 feet tall. Many people think of boxwood as a deep green plant, but there are also beautiful white variegated and gold varieties. Grown as a fence or in containers, it will provide rich scenery and a lush, living wall to protect your yard from prying eyes. Available at The Home Depot; $34.99.
Hicks yew, while not flashy, is a sensible choice for a living fence or privacy screen. This low-maintenance option sets a wonderful evergreen backdrop for the rest of your yard, and its soft needles and winter berries make it a fast favorite with backyard wildlife. Available at Amazon; $58.
Red Twig Dogwood8/10
Flickr via Sheila Sund
Red twig dogwood is deciduous, but when it loses its leaves in fall it displays a cheerful and seasonal thicket of bright red branches. It can tolerate temperature extremes and even soggy soils, and provides habitat for wildlife in all seasons. This fast-growing shrub can reach 8 feet in height and 10 feet in width, guaranteeing an impressive display in your yard. Available at Amazon; $45.99.
The hardy chocolate vine, also known as five-leaf akebia, grows vigorously on a trellis or fence and provides a thick screen of green leaves and fragrant purple blooms in early summer. It spreads very quickly, so be sure to rein it in with regularly pruning. Available at Amazon; $13.00 for packet of seeds.
Related: 10 "Zero Dollar" Garden Hacks
Flickr via David Short
Euonymus comes in a many sizes and colors, including green, gold, and variegated varieties. This tall and sturdy shrub tolerates all types of weather and even poor soils. Planted close together, euonymus can serve as a lush hedge, but it makes just as big an impact when pruned into a tree shape. Available at The Home Depot; $64.99.
Related: 11 Ideas for Better Backyard Privacy
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