Everyone likes a little privacy. We want to feel like at least some part of our garden is a private oasis, a place where we can go to relax and leave the cares of the world behind. That doesn't necessarily mean building a fortress of walls around your yard. In fact, there are many creative options for privacy screening.
Here are some things to consider as you begin. First, what are your screening needs?
Do you prefer a formal hedge or plantings that blend into the landscape?
Do you need to cover the entire length of your property line or will you screen only one area?
Do you want to block views from overhead, such as from a neighbor’s deck or windows?
When you have determined your basic screening needs, ask yourself a few more questions:
Do you want year-round or seasonal coverage?
How tall and wide would you like your plantings to grow?
Don't forget to consider multiple angles of coverage as well. View the site from different angles to be sure you are covered from all sides.
You may also want to think about a temporary solution while waiting for your plants to fill in, such as bamboo or brush fencing.
These plants offer a dense, geometric screen for formal hedges. They will need regular shearing maintenance (at least twice a year) to retain their shape:
Cupressus x leylandii
An individual specimen can grow to 30’ high x 20’ wide
A hedge can be pruned to 8’-10’ high x 4’ wide
plant at least 6’ apart
Taxus x media ‘Hicksii’ (evergreen)
Individual or hedge, grows to 10'
Sun or shade
Can be shaped to any form
Less formal but equally as dense, these plants need less shearing and maintenance and have a more natural shape:
A clumping bamboo that doesn’t spread!
Grows to 10'
Individual or hedge
Great red/orange winter color
The look of bamboo but doesn’t spread
Try the variety ‘Baggesson’s Gold’
Individual or hedge
Can be sheared to any width or depth
Versatile! Can handle sun, part shade, or shade
For extremely limited, narrow spaces, these tall, narrow shrubs work well:
Ilex crenata ‘Sky Pencil’ (small evergreen)
Cephalotaxus harringtonia ‘Fastigiata’ (evergreen)
Cupressus ‘Wilma Goldcrest’
Bright gold foliage
8’ x 3’ wide
Sun or part shade
Or consider structures like a trellis or arbor with smaller vines:
Vitis vinifera ‘Purpurea’ (deciduous)
Solanum crispum ‘Glasnevin’ (semi-evergreen)
Akebia quinata (semi-evergreen)
Clematis armandii (evergreen)
Hedera canariensis ‘Sulphur Heart’ (evergreen)
Sun or shade
x Fatshedera lizei cvs. (evergreen)
Can handle full shade
Weeping trees can also serve as a single architectural accent for screening:
Fagus sylvatica ‘Pendula’ (Weeping Beech)
Tsuga ‘Sargent’s Weeping’ (Weeping Hemlock)
Chamaecyparis nootkatensis ‘Pendula’ (Weeping Alaska Cedar)
Also, consider large potted accents of the following, either singly or in rows:
Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Forester’
6’ h x 2’ w
Ilex crenata ‘Sky Pencil’
Now that you have a few screening options, experiment to find the best solution for your space. Formal or not, remember that all screening plants will need some maintenance to retain their form and thrive!
We'd also love to hear about your favorite screening plants and answer your screening questions! Comment below, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or chat with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram - don't forget to use the hashtag #heyswansons.