Trees are more than just a natural aspect of our environment. They give animals both shelter and food, help remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and provide us with fresh air. Besides, trees and shrubs also make a great privacy wall against nosy neighbors and other factors.
Eastern Red Cedar, Leyland Cypress, Butterfly Bush, Hydrangea, Weeping Willow Tree, Yew, Elderberry, and Nellie Stevens Holly are among the best trees and shrubs for your privacy. These are also easy to grow and low maintenance.
In this article, we will tackle the 17 best trees and shrubs for privacy. We will also discuss the characteristics of each tree and shrubs, as well as other attributes that will surely be good for your property.
17 Best Trees or Shrubs for Privacy
Even if your neighbors are the sweetest in the neighborhood, creating privacy barriers in your property is essential. Although wooden or metal fences keep your place secure, planting tall, fast-growing trees and shrubs is a far more attractive option.
Evergreen, cypress, flowering trees, and other species, when planted close together, make a beautiful green barrier that will divide your yard from your neighbor’s.
Although, determine which USDA Hardiness Zone you are in before choosing trees for privacy to guarantee that the one you choose can withstand local weather. Then, consider the size of your property. Small spaces could have a tall and slender tree like an Italian Cypress, whereas larger spaces can welcome trees with a wider reach, like a Weeping Willow.
Note that all of these trees grow swiftly, with some growing up three feet every year until they reach maturity. As a result, you’ll want to trim your trees regularly and distance them out to avoid congestion.
Here are the best trees or shrubs for privacy on your property.
1. Eastern Red Cedar
The Eastern Redcedar is the ideal conifer if you want a huge, rough privacy tree with complete coverage. According to Henriksen, “Evergreen plants like broadleaves or conifers are often an excellent choice for year-round effectiveness,” making this tough juniper a fantastic tree fence alternative. Its dense foliage and red, fragrant wood will offer your lawn an earthy scent and attract local birds and other wildlife.
Full to moderate sunlight is recommended, specifically 4 to 8 hours of direct sun a day. As Eastern Red Cedars may grow to be 60 feet tall and 20 feet wide when fully mature, they’re best suited to vast backyards.
Plant them approximately 20 feet apart and away from power lines or nearby residences if you have the space. This fast-growing privacy tree is one of the hardiest and tolerant alternatives available in whatever climates throughout the United States.
2. Leyland Cypress
This blueish-green tree will produce a complete green fence a few seasons after planting it. Leyland Cypress may reach 70 feet in height when fully grown and unpruned. They thrive best in zones 6-10 with partial to full sunshine and well-draining soil while being quite tolerant and low-maintenance.
3. Butterfly Bush
Butterfly bush is a strong shrub with purple flowers, sometimes known as summer lilac, withstands dryness, blooms all season, and attracts pollinators. This type of bush is highly invasive, although newer varieties are less invasive. They grow best in zones 5 through 9 on the USDA Hardiness Zone. Miss Violet and Miss Ruby are two varieties that are perfect to plant on your property.
4. Italian Cypress Tree
The Italian Cypress is known for its long and narrow shape, which allows it to fit into compact places while still providing enough height to your garden. Despite their small size, most of these trees can grow up to three feet in a single year, reaching a height of 35 to 40 feet in ten years. They thrive in full to partial sun and grow best in zones 7-11, where they can withstand drought. The Italian Cypress needs at least four to eight hours of sunlight daily.
5. Flowering Dogwood Tree
The white blooming Flowering Dogwood may only bloom for a month or two but provides a lovely backdrop all year round. This low-maintenance beauty has glossy green foliage in the summer and scarlet berries in the fall, making it ideal for zones 5-8. Plant Dogwoods in the spring, while the earth is still damp, to give them plenty of time to thrive. They do well in partial shade and must receive weekly watering.
Fences are the first line of defense to protect you from trespassers, burglars, intruders, and even give you some privacy from nosy neighbors. Some people hire professionals to build their fences, while others prefer to build one themselves. If you are on a budget, is it cheaper to build your own fence? Read our article to find out.
6. Thuja Green Giant
With simplicity, create a beautiful dark green privacy screen with Thuja Green Giant. With only four hours of direct sunlight each day and frequent watering over the first six months, a Thuja Green Giant grows three to five feet per year once planted. It grows best in zones 5-9 and resists most insects and diseases.
In the spring, this arching shrub blooms in a profusion of white flowers, and in the fall, the leaves turn a vibrant orange or scarlet hue. Many of them can withstand the cold. Spirea best thrives in zones 3–7 on the USDA Hardiness zones. Renaissance and Grefsheim are two varieties to try.
8. Weeping Willow Tree
A Weeping Willow’s arching branches lend drama and beauty to any backyard, whether big or small. It can grow up to reach 50 feet tall when trimmed frequently in its earlier years and planted in zones 6-8. Plant yours in full sun to partial shade and water it weekly for the first year after planting it, and then, as needed in the following years.
9. Emerald Green Arborvitae
The Emerald Green Arborvitae makes a great privacy screen thanks to its glossy greens, especially if your property is on the tiny side in zones 2-8. These trees function best in small places since they grow up rather than out, reaching a maximum height of 15 feet. Just make sure to plant them at least three feet apart and in full sun or moderate shade. Start by watering them twice a week for the first three months, then reduce it to once a week at the three-month mark.
10. Goldspire Ginkgo Tree
Try planting Goldspire Ginkgo trees that have a narrow, pyramidal structure, with deep green foliage in the summer and lovely golden colors in the fall. Full to partial exposure (3 to 6+ hours of direct sun each day) is recommended. The Goldspire Ginkgo is a hardy, smog-resistant tree that thrives in medium-sized gardens.
Just make sure you don’t mix it up with its relatives. Ginkgo trees may grow to be 40 to 60 feet tall, and their fruits stink. This low-maintenance privacy tree grows well in a broad range of climates. After that, natural rainfall should suffice to meet the country’s water demands.
11. Nellie Stevens Holly
Although technically a shrub, the Nellie Stevens Holly reaches a height of 25 feet when fully mature. Nellie Stevens Holly is a highly tolerant shrub, unlike the other privacy trees on this list. This type of shrub remains green year-round, even in the heat of July. Plant each Nellie Stevens Holly at least five or six feet apart in zones 6-9 to form a living wall that will grow 15 to 25 feet tall. You can trim them into a tall box hedge or leave them in their natural pyramidal shape.
12. Thundercloud Plum Tree
Thundercloud Plum trees don’t usually produce fruits but do have purple-colored foliage. When fully grown, the mid-size type reaches a height and spread of around 20 feet, making it a bright complement to any garden space. This tree thrives best in zones 5-9 with full sun and regular watering.
This is yet another tall shrub cut. This evergreen perennial can endure a wide range of climates, making it an excellent choice for zones 2 through 10. Some of the kids may grow up to 20 feet tall and yield little red berries in full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil.
Hydrangeas are some of the few plants that can be cultivated in almost all climates, from coast to coast. Some can take partial shade, although the finest blooms need at least a few hours of direct sunlight. In hotter climates, offer them early light and afternoon shade to avoid overheating. Hydrangea best thrives in zones 3 to 10 on the USDA Hardiness Scale. Firelight and Monmar are two varieties you could plant on your property.
This beautiful plant is excellent in a mixed border due to its late spring or early summer blooms and lovely leaves. Elderberry grows best in zones 3 to 7 on the USDA Hardiness scale. Instant Karma and Lemony Lace are the two best types to grow in a yard.
16. Sky Pencil Holly
The Sky Pencil Holly is an excellent choice for space-saving privacy fence trees, reaching a mature height of 8 to 10 feet tall and a width of about 2 feet while offering good protection from wind, noise, and prying eyes.
Sky Pencil Holly requires full to partial exposure with 3 to 6+ hours of direct sun every day. It can be grown in the ground as well as in beautiful containers. Its foliage is gentle to the touch, unlike that of its prickly relative, the Holly Bush, making it ideal for seclusion on patios, urban decks, and tiny backyards.
Sky Pencil Holly best thrives in zone 5 to 9. Although these privacy trees like light, wet soils, they may adapt to various climates. If overwatered, these plants can suffer root rot, so make sure they have a well-drained habitat.
When a beautiful yellow forsythia begins to blossom, you know it’s springtime. Forsythia has a slower growth rate than some other shrubs but will still reach maturity quite rapidly. They are best grown in zones 3 to 9 on the USDA Hardiness scale, and Meadowlark and Spring Glory are two great varieties to try to plant in your yard.
Fences are more than just boundaries between lots. They provide protection against animals and trespassers, secure your privacy, and improve the overall look of your property. If you are planning to sell your house, your fences are a part of your property that should not be ignored. Read our article to find out what you need to know about backyard fences and property value.
Planting a natural privacy fence is a sustainable and environmentally beneficial alternative to a hardscaped privacy fence. In addition to this, natural privacy fences are pleasing to the eye and can definitely improve the overall ambience of your yard. When choosing plants for a fence, it’s important to consider where you reside and your local climate.
If you have chosen what trees or shrubs to plant, make sure to consult a local landscaping expert to ensure the tree’s suitability. Tree professionals are well-versed in the kinds of trees that give seclusion while also thriving in your area’s environment. If you keep what they say in mind, you will be able to successfully grow your own natural privacy fence.