> Shrub Blog Series – Part Three – Privacy Plantings

Perhaps you have nosy neighbors? Perhaps your home is situated in an undesirable part of town, and you would like to block out the view with something more aesthetically pleasing? Or maybe man-made fences just aren’t your thing?

Regardless of your reason, privacy plantings can provide a natural screen against many factors and are arguably one of the more popular ways to enhance the landscaping around your yard. The right plantings can even buffer sound and wind, which will offer an additional layer of protection to your house and landscape. Let’s explore some top choices in part three of our shrub series.

1. Arborvitaes – One of the top choices for screenings and available in any types and sizes, arbs are a great way to mimic a fence. We love the Emerald Green Arborvitaes in particular for their lush coloring and density, but they are also disease and ice resistant. Growing up to 15 feet high and 3 to 4 feet wide, they are ideal for screening and even topiaries. You can expect them to stay green all winter long, but make sure you water them regularly, and more often during the heat of summer. 

2. Northern Spice Bush – This is a gorgeous, deciduous shrub
and is wonderful used in conjunction with other plantings. During the growing months, you can expect to see light green leaves, but these will turn to a brilliant yellow-gold in the fall. In the case of the Spice Bush, male and female plants will put on a different show in opposing seasons.

Male plants will produce pale yellow flowers in early spring, where-as female plants will produce bright red fruit in early fall (if planted near a male). They reach 6 to 12 feet in both height and width, and require regular watering.

3. Cypress – Cypress shrubs may not provide the widest coverage, but they do present a distinct vision reminiscent of the Mediterranean countryside. There are many varieties to choose from, but we really like the Blue Italian Cypress for its blue-green color and elegant columnar shape.

This is an incredibly fast-growing conifer, which will grow up to 60 to 80 feet tall and 4 to 6 feet wide. If you are looking for a tall screen, this just might be the plant for you.

Water well until established, then water  occasionally; more often in extreme heat.

4. Juniper – There are many species of Juniper, but we would like to talk about the Hollywood Juniper. If you are looking for something with more of a natural shape to add to your privacy planting, this beautiful shrub has a sprawling, rustic appearance which can be trimmed down, or left wild.

Left alone, these will grow up to 15 feet tall and 10 feet wide—and will spread out in all directions. Like many evergreens, after becoming established, only occasional watering is necessary except in the case of extreme heat.


5. Lilac (Syringa vulgaris ‘Sensation’) – If you’re looking for something a bit more showy, look no further! This particular variety of lilac blooms in mid-late spring with such profuse blossoms that the entire plant is covered in them. They are gorgeous, fragrant, and bi-colored white and purple.
The green heart-shaped leaves stick around through the summer, turning light green to yellow in the fall before falling off; then the remaining spindly branches collect rivulets of snow in the winter before the cycle begins again.
They can grow up to 10 feet tall and 10 feet wide, so make sure you leave some space when planting. Bonus: Not only are they hardy, but they can handle drier soil conditions after establishing!

6. “Handsome Devil” Viburnum – There are upwards of 150 species of Viburnum. Among them is the Handsome Devil variety, which produces a stunning rainbow of colors exhibited in new growth and especially in the fall. The leaves are glossy, thick and leathery making them a wonderful addition to your privacy screen. White flowers in June are followed by red fruit. Compact and dense, this is a great shrub hedge which will grow 5 to 8 feet tall and 6 to 7 feet wide. Water regularly and more often in extreme heat. Bonus: this plant is disease and deer resistant! 

Thanks for reading, and look for part four, which will cover border plantings!