Privacy is a top priority for homeowners with close neighbors, loud sounds from adjacent spaces or less-than-scenic vistas. Plants make excellent privacy screens because they can block noise and unsightly views while also adding color, texture and seasonal interest that only gets better with each growing season.
Choose dense growth over quick growth. It’s easy to be enticed by fast-growing trees, like poplar or pear, for immediate privacy. Fast-growing trees are often more affordable, but they are not good investments: They are not long-lived and are often weak-wooded and will be the first to suffer damage during a storm. Instead, choose plants that grow densely, for solid coverage.
1. Evergreen trees. Evergreen trees make excellent privacy screens because they provide year-round coverage. Evergreens with large foliage or evergreen conifers with branches that extend to the ground are the most useful for privacy.
2. Evergreen shrubs. Coniferous evergreen shrubs and broadleaf evergreens provide privacy for sight lines that are lower to the ground. Use shrubs to create a low screen around your patio or other sitting areas.
3. Robust vines. Vigorous vines that spread outward as well as upward can provide dense growth by forming a living wall.
4. Ornamental grasses. Ornamental grasses are best for privacy during the summer and autumn seasons since most ornamental grasses reach their full lushness in the warm months.