Plants and trees can make your yard beautiful, but they can also help you add a little privacy to your home. Many homeowners prefer to use shrubs and trees as a privacy fence rather than an actual fence, but there are other great benefits such as:
- Privacy from neighbors/passersby
- Sound barrier
- Snow fence
- Limit your view to hide unappealing objects
Before you start planting for privacy, there are a few things you should consider.
What type of tree or shrub will meet your privacy needs?
Evergreens are great for reducing noise and snow and will provide privacy year-round. Deciduous trees and shrubs provide spring flowers and pretty fall colors, but it will not be available year-round.
How high would you like your living privacy fence?
Different species can grow many different heights depending on how well it is taken care of.
Evergreen tree hedges:
- American arborvitae – grows between 40 and 60 feet tall
- Green giant arborvitae – can grow up to 60 feet tall
Evergreen shrub hedges:
- Emerald arborvitae – grows between 10 and 15 feet tall
- Nigra arborvitae – grows between 20 and 30 feet tall
- Rose of Sharon – grows between 8 and 12 feet tall
- North privet – grows between 8 and 12 feet tall
How wide will you want your privacy fence to be?
If you have a large amount of space you want to fill, you may have to plant a double or triple row of trees/hedges. For tight spaces consider:
Narrow evergreen tree hedges:
- American arborvitae – typically grows 15 feet wide in the wild, but can be trimmed shorter in a hedge setting. Planting in close proximity will greatly reduce the overall width.
Narrow evergreen shrubs:
- Emerald arborvitae – grows 3 to 4 feet wide in the wild, but grows 2 feet wide in hedges
- Korean boxwood – grows 4 to 6 feet wide in the wild, but can be trimmed to fit smaller spaces
Narrow deciduous shrub hedges:
- North privet – grows 4 to 6 feet in the wild, can be trimmed down to more compact widths
- If you have other unsightly areas in your yard that you would like to hide, like an AC unit or trash cans/compost bins, consider planting some tall grasses.
- Feather reed grass typically grows upright and can be 3 to 5 feet tall. Maiden and switch grass grow in more of a fountain shape. Maiden grass can grow between 3 and 7 feet tall. Switch grass grows between 3 and 5 feet tall.
When choosing the types of trees/shrubs you would like to plant, remember to choose dense growth over quick growth. Fast growing trees are typically more affordable, but they are not a good investment because they can be weak-wooded and easily damaged in inclement weather. Also, it is best not to plant an invasive species. They may be easy to grow, however, they can displace other desirable native plants and degrade biodiversity as a result. It is best to research a plant before purchasing it from your local nursery or to consult a landscape designer.
If you still aren’t sure where to start in planting for privacy, contact Timberline Landscaping and let our team turn your yard into a private oasis for your family.