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Providing privacy or hiding an unpleasant view is often a necessity. Shrubs have a long tradition of being used as living privacy fences and screens, even as security fences to keep out trespassing feet or wandering eyes.
Shrubs can block views of the alley and neighbor’s garbage cans or create a feeling of separation and privacy from another yard. They can screen us from the street or just distinguish one portion of our yard from another.
Typically, when planting shrubs for privacy fences, they are planted more closely together than would generally be the case to allow them to form a wall or fence of foliage. Many need some pruning to keep them in a mounded shape and force them to grow and branch in multiple directions, not just up.
Read on to find excellent options for fast-growing shrubs, evergreen choices for privacy all year long, and shrubs with a tall or narrow form for those tiny spots that need a bit of help.
Best Shrubs for Privacy
Green shrubbery is a natural choice to screen out unwanted views, provide visual separation, and create private spaces.
Choose camellia and viburnum for flowering interest or hollies for year-round greenery and backyard bird benefits. Arborvitae cannot be beaten for creating a living wall that is impenetrable to prying eyes.
Check out these recommendations below to find the right solution for your privacy needs.
Fast Growing Shrubs for Privacy
You want privacy now, not years down the road. Many fast-growing shrubs make great privacy screens and can start providing that much-needed barrier in just a couple of growing seasons.
Nellie Stevens Holly is an excellent choice for those who want quick and year-round privacy. This holly is an evergreen that can grow quickly in partial shade. Nellie Stevens is a great choice for fast privacy and attractive foliage and berries.
Some azaleas and butterfly bushes are fast-growing as well and can provide pollinator habitat as well as privacy.
Tall & Narrow Shrubs for Privacy
Sometimes, a tall and narrow shrub is needed to block the view between the sidewalk and the house or between two buildings.
Sky Pencil Holly is an excellent choice for narrow spots or a vertical statement plant. Evergreen and requiring little pruning to maintain its shape, it will be only 2-3 feet wide when mature.
Evergreen Shrubs for Privacy
If you need privacy or visual screening year-round, evergreen shrubs are the way to go. From the classic arborvitae to holly and Sweet Viburnum, evergreen hedges are popular and add permanent visual interest and privacy to your yard.
Check out the Thuja Green Giant if you need an evergreen, fast-growing “wall” of privacy. This rapidly growing tree can be pruned to stay in large-shrub size if desired. It is deer resistant and tolerant of many soil conditions. Plant them a bit close together and watch your view change for the better.
Hollies, Viburnum, & Boxwoods
Hollies are a favorite choice for evergreen privacy screens. The Oak Leaf Holly is a great privacy choice, with distinctive holly leaves and bright red berries in the fall.
Viburnums come in many different varieties. They make a great flowering evergreen privacy screen or mass planting. Easy to grow and fragrant, viburnum is a favorite for creating visual interest and screening.
Flowering Privacy Shrubs
Many great choices for flowering shrubs also make good privacy shrubs when planted in groups. Flowering shrubs are a great choice to add habitat for pollinators as well as a spring or summer color display.
‘Spring Bouquet’ Viburnum is a low-maintenance semi-evergreen shrub with fragrant pale pink flowers in the spring and blue berries in the fall.
Camellias make a stunning evergreen hedge when planted en masse. They provide color and great habitat for wildlife.
What is the fastest-growing shrub for privacy?
The fastest growing shrub for privacy is hands down the Thuja Green Giant. Known for its large size and fast growth you will get privacy in no time.
What is the best evergreen for a privacy screen?
The best evergreen for privacy is the Cryptomeria Radican.