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In the Garden

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4 Plants to Use for a Privacy Fence

You just love sitting on your front porch, except it would be so much better if you didn’t have to watch your neighbor wave at you in his underwear while taking the trash out. And, you would probably hold more gatherings at your house if everyone in the neighborhood couldn’t see into your backyard.

Why bother with wooden stakes when nature can do the work for you? Building a privacy wall of living plants is wonderful for the environment and will look so much better than a high fence. To get you started, here are a few ideas to consider when thinking about your new privacy wall.

small evergreen trees along fence
Photo by Adobe Stock/andrey gonchar.

Evergreen Trees

The best thing about evergreens? You get year-round coverage!

Evergreen trees and shrubs are great choices if your focus is privacy. In addition to staying green through the winter months, evergreens are beautiful, thick, resilient plants. Caring for your evergreens is simple and easy to do, too.

Investing in big plants up-front is worth it. It is better to plant fewer, already established trees versus overcrowding your yard with too many saplings. When designing your hedge, it is important to leave enough space between planting sites for your trees to grow to their full size. This will prevent overcrowding and ensure that your plants’ root systems don’t interfere with one another.

Shrubbery

Perhaps the broadest subcategory ever since there are so many options and varieties to choose from in this department! No matter which you fancy, there is a shrub that will fit your bill.

Even if you know what you want, choosing the perfect shrub for your wall can be an overwhelming task. Evaluating what you want out of your living privacy fence can play a huge part in your decision. If you’re looking for optimal coverage, choosing a plant that will grow tall and stay green year round, such as holly or privet, will serve you best. However, if your ambitions are a bit more decorative, colorful shrubbery like forsythia or easily-shaped bushes like boxwood might suit you more.

ivy, bamboo and shrubbery privacy fence
Photo by Adobe Stock/Delphotostock.

Bamboo

What's a backyard without wind chimes, a Buddha statue and a privacy wall of bamboo? If you’re into exotic culture, bamboo could be perfect for you—and if you aren’t, it still could be.

Nothing says beauty like a thicket of bamboo stalks. Because bamboo spreads in thick clusters relatively quickly, it makes for the perfect privacy wall. It’s important to consider your location before planting bamboo, however, in order ensure its longevity and effectiveness as a privacy fence. If you think bamboo can only grow in warm climates, you are—fortunately—incorrect! Living in a colder place shouldn’t stop you from planting the best looking privacy wall in the neighborhood.

There are several different species of bamboo to choose from, so doing your research before planting is worth it! No matter what variety you have, this beautiful plant is in general resilient and fast growing.

Ivy

Creeping, crawling, elegant and resilient, ivy is a no-brainer. If you already have a wooden fence around your yard and are looking for something to add just a bit more coverage and decoration, this sprawling plant is for you. Or, if you’re looking to screen in a smaller area, like a back porch, ivy provides shade if grown near an overhang, decor on a white brick wall, and makes for the perfect topiary.

Ivy care and maintenance couldn’t be easier. During its first year, ivy doesn’t grow as rapidly as it does once it is well established. But in year two, after adjusting to its new home, ivy spreads and sprawls in leaps and bounds, rarely requires fertilizer, and benefits from the occasional watering.