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Privacy Trees and Hedges

privacy trees and hedges
Most of us all want privacy trees and hedges around our homes. We plant privacy trees and shrubs just for privacy purposes to shield out unwanted activity. So what do we plant where? How do we dress it up? What privacy trees and privacy hedges compliment each other? Here are some great ideas that will really enhance your landscape and the function of your privacy tree screening.  

Leyland Cypress Trees

Leyland Cypress Trees
Planting a row of Leyland Cypress Trees always does the trick! But how about something to compliment these trees? When planting Leyland cypress, give them some room so they can spread out and grow. They are going to get big!  
Tree Spacing:
How far apart should I space Leyland Cypress Trees? Plant about 5-10 feet apart depending if you need instant privacy or if your willing to wait. You can keep them straight in a row, stagger them, or just go with the flow - try making a s-shape.
Shrubs that Compliment Leyland Cypress Trees:
We know that these trees will be getting tall, so what about adding some color at the bottom? Planting some Kaleidoscope Abelia in clusters of 3 or more will really give you some color contrast. Don't forget to leave room for the Leyland's... Also, bring in some drift roses.  Drift roses will stay low and are maintenance free. The groupings of the abelia, and the drift roses will look nice in front of your leyland cypress privacy screen, and will provide seasonal interests. Here are some different examples but you can just repeat the groupings.

Green Giant Arborvitae Trees

Green Giant Arborvitae Trees
These trees are just as popular as the Leyland Cypress. We actually like them better! They are fast growing, while also providing a nice color and texture to them. With the Thuja Green Giant, we can do the same thing as the leyland privacy fence. Plant your privacy trees in a hedge any shape you like. Most people are planting down their property line but don't be afraid to give them some character. For the front of the privacy tree screen, we can use loropetalum for pops of red or crimson pygmy barberry.
Both shrubs will bring a strong red color contrast against the green giants. Remember to plant in clusters. If you plant a bunch of different shrubs in front of your privacy hedge, it's going to look like a huge mess when it matures. Think ahead, we are shooting for a low maintenance landscape. Plant each plant in groupings of three or more. Three to four different plants is plenty. Abelia's, azaleas, loropetalum, ornamental grasses, butterfly bushes, and rose bushes are all great plants for this landscape bed. As your privacy trees mature, so will the shrubs. The privacy trees will create a nice backdrop and the shrubs will be popping with color.
privacy trees and hedges

Privacy Hedges in the Landscape

For shorter privacy hedges, 10-20 feet tall, we can use ligustrum, wax myrtles, and privets. Wavy leaf ligustrum and sunshine ligustrum make beautiful, low privacy hedges. They are also fast growing privacy hedges. Once planted, these shrubs take off the following year. Get creative when laying out your planting bed. Give it some shape and go with the flow. Again, they don't have to be in a straight line. We can plant another hedge directly in front of this hedge that will stay smaller than the main privacy hedge; this will give you that layering effect. Some shrub ideas would include dwarf burford holly, abelias, roses, junipers, hydrangeas, camellias, and loropetalum. There are many others but you want a nice color contrast. Keep it simple! We have many of the new and dwarf varieties available.

Looking for a smaller privacy screen?

How about concealing your air conditioning units, electrical boxes, or well house?  Dwarf burford hollies, abelias, dwarf loropetalum, azaleas, and camellia work great. Keep these shrubs about 3-4 feet apart and leave room so that they can grow. When trimming, trim the tops and sides; this will encourage the shrubs to fill in and give you your privacy screen. Camellias are our favorite here... They are perfect for this size of hedge and you can enjoy the blooms they bring.
privacy trees and hedges
privacy trees and hedges

Tight areas for Privacy Hedges

Emerald Arborvitae is a great choice. The Emerald Arborvitae makes a great privacy hedge that will stay about 3-4 feet wide and get to about 15 feet tall. It's great for narrow areas where a leyland cypress or green giant just will not work. You can also dress up the bottom areas of these beds with groundcovers such as dianthus, drift roses, and golden euonymus. To establish your privacy hedge quicker plant your trees and shrubs in quality soil, fertilize, and keep the tops of the trees trimmed. By doing so, it will force the arborvitae to push out growth on its sides causing your privacy hedge to fill in sooner.

Narrow areas for Privacy Hedges

In these situations, if an emerald arborvitae will not work, we suggest using a sky pencil holly tree. These holly trees are perfect for narrow tight areas. They look really classy and have a nice dark green holly color. The Italian Cypress is also a tall and narrow tree. Planting about 1.5-2 feet apart will do the trick. Keep the tops trimmed until they fill in and as they get established you will start to get some height.

Privacy trees don't always have to be close together. Think ahead. If you're looking to screen your neighbor's house in the back corner of the property, plant a shade tree.  Maple trees, oak trees, Spruce trees, and magnolia trees all work well. It doesn't have to be a tight privacy tree hedge all in a line. You can add trees in threes and shrubs in groups. Plant some green giant arborvitae and then some grasses, and work up a pattern. Mix it up a little. For free landscape design questions, just email us at

Narrow areas for Privacy Hedges
privacy trees and hedges

Benefits of Privacy Trees?

Privacy trees can add value to your home. When new home buyers are out looking at houses, one of the things they are interested in is the back yard. Can they see other homes? Can they hang out outside without their neighbors watching? These are just some of the things going through their head. There are some fast growing privacy trees that you can plant to fill this void but you will have to plan ahead. If you are thinking about selling your home in the next 2-3 years and do not have any privacy, start now! Begin by getting some privacy trees installed as soon as possible. This way, even if your privacy hedge is not full-grown when your house goes to market, it will still give the buyer a sense that their will be privacy in the near future.
Privacy trees are like living fences. They are virtually maintenance free. Wooden fences will need to be stained every couple of years which is an expense and a time-consuming project. Plastic fences will work for privacy but are very delicate, and very stark. You will still need to plant around a plastic fence to soften up the landscape. With privacy trees, they will grow together depending on your spacing and will require little to no maintenance. Even if you start off with our smaller sizes available, they will grow quickly. The faster you need the trees to grow, the larger size we suggest you start out with.

Shop our collection of premium Privacy Trees and be sure to check out the additional options at our online plant nursery.

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