15 best plants for privacy from neighbors

15 best plants for privacy from neighbors

Adding plants for privacy from neighbors is a great alternative to installing a fence, and additional plants add beauty to your backyard landscape. To check privacy off your gardening to-do list, we asked the pros from two of the country’s most prolific growers — Monrovia and Costa Farms — to share their favorite plant varieties for creating a living fence.

From faux cypress trees that create a natural screen to climbing vines in outdoor planters that weave their way up trellises, there’s an option for every style. Plant what thrives in your growing zone, then muster some patience as it grows. The wait will be worth it once these plants transform your outdoor space into a private, personal oasis.

Queen of Burgundy Bougainvillea

Monrovia / Photo by Brandon Friend Solis

This fast-growing climbing vine is an ideal plant for providing privacy from neighbors. “The Queen of Burgundy is a vigorous climber, growing up to 30 feet tall. It’s the perfect choice for weaving through trellises and fences for privacy or as a feature plant in large patio pots,” explains Georgia Clay, plant manager at Monrovia.

“The Queen of Burgundy has stunning blooms and gorgeous foliage,” Clay adds. “The new growth leaves are a deep, cheerful wine red color, while the flower-like bracts are a more dramatic burgundy color.”

Regions: 10 to 11

Darkstar Purple Leaf Cherry Sand

De Oisin/Getty Images

Purple Leaf Sand Cherry has dense branching that starts at the ground and reaches 5 feet tall. This border plant adds privacy and color to your backyard and features purple, red to maroon foliage. During the spring, you will enjoy its light pink to white flowers.

Regions: 3 to 9

Jade Waves Fernspray False Cypress

Monrovia/Photo by Doreen Wenja

Plant a row of faux cypress trees to create a privacy screen of fern-like evergreen foliage. They grow to about 4 feet wide and up to 8 feet tall. “The beautiful arching branches and airy green foliage of Jade Waves add a serene feel to the garden,” says Clay.

Regions: from 4 to 8

Sparkler Arrowwood Viburnum

Monrovia/Photo by Doreen Wenja

Sparkler Arrowwood Viburnum combines glossy green leaves with delicate white flowers. They also produce berries that attract birds to your garden. When several viburnum plants are arranged together, they can form a flowering hedge along the perimeter of your garden.

Regions: 4 to 9

Emerald Colonnade Holly

Monrovia/Photo by Doreen Wenja

To create a lush privacy screen, allow Emerald Colonnade Holly to grow into its natural pyramid shape. In gardens where privacy is less important, these dense evergreens also make an excellent topiary. When left to grow unchecked, it rises to 12 feet, forming a tall border around your garden.

Regions: 7 to 9


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The Mandevilla comes in two forms – climbing and climbing – so, if privacy is the goal, look for the climbing variety. Plant it in the spring after all danger of frost has passed, choosing a location in full sun.

“This fast-growing vine features red, pink or white flowers that attract butterflies and hummingbirds, and they will soon flock to a trellis, tree or other structure,” says Justin Hancock of Costa Farms. “Bonus: Usually ignored by deer and rabbits!”

Regions: 9 to 11


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“Like mandevilla, there are several species of jasmine that grow as vines, allowing you to cover a wall or display a view with their lush, dark green foliage and fragrant white flowers,” says Hancock. Depending on the type of jasmine, it is hardy in different areas, so be sure to check the care label before choosing one. Some varieties are also suitable as houseplants.

Regions: From 7 to 9 (depending on type)

Blue arrow juniper

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With a base of cool blue foliage, Blue Arrow Juniper goes well with a wide range of plants. Once established, this hardy cake is fairly drought-resistant and can survive temperatures as low as -30 degrees Fahrenheit.

“(It’s) an evergreen shrub that’s only about 3 feet wide and 12 feet or so tall, making it perfect for use as a living privacy screen without taking up a lot of yard space,” Hancock explains.

Regions: 4 to 9

Horstmann Silberlock Korean fir

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This is Korean fir (Apis coreana ‘Silberlock Horstmann’) Great for adding privacy to your yard. “It’s hard for me to pick a favorite plant, but I absolutely adore this evergreen tree,” Hancock says. “It is a very slow grower but has dense branching, which makes it excellent for providing privacy.”

If you are patient, within 10 years it will grow into a beautiful screen, 10 feet tall and 6 feet wide. “It does best in climates with cool summers, all-day sun to partial shade, and moist but well-drained soil,” Hancock adds.

Regions: 5 to 7

Tree of the life

Monrovia / Photo by Millet Photomedia

Arborvitae are a family of fast-growing evergreen trees and shrubs with dense, smooth, bright green foliage. The most popular trees for live fences are American trees (Thuja western), Arborvitae ‘Emerald Green’ (Thuja western “Smaragd”), the small giant tree tree (Thuja folded x standishii “virgin”).

What makes Arborvitae great for privacy screens is their vertical growth pattern and that they stay green all year round. It is also fast growing, low maintenance and cold hardy. The American variety reaches 20 to 40 feet tall, making it more suitable for a large garden, especially when windbreaks as well as privacy are needed. Others grow from 12 to 15 feet tall, making them suitable for any garden size.

Regions: 2 to 7

Spartan juniper

Monrovia/Photo by Doreen Wenja

Spartan’ (Chinese juniper “Spartan”) is an elegant, fast-growing column-shaped evergreen that forms a wonderful formal hedge. Its dark green, smooth, needle-like leaves prefer full sun. A row of this type of juniper forms a dense screen 15 to 20 feet tall, providing privacy and protection from the wind.

Regions: 4 to 9

Monglo Juniper

Monrovia/Photo by Doreen Wenja

What defines “Moonglow” (Rocky Juniper ‘Monglow’) Set apart from its other columnar relatives, it has dazzling silver-blue, smooth, feathery leaves. Its tall growth habit—between 15 and 20 feet—makes it an ideal candidate for a live fence as well as a windbreak, and helps protect against noise. For best performance, plant a row in full sun.

Regions: 3 to 7

Cherry laurel

Monrovia/Photo by Doreen Wenja

cherry laurel (Prunus loroserasus) provides year-long privacy through its evergreen, dense, and spreading growth. Another feature is the showy, fragrant white spring flowers.

Also called English laurel, this tall (10 to 20 feet) shrub is an excellent choice for planting in difficult-to-grow conditions. Although it prefers full sun, it adapts well to all light conditions, even heavy shade. It is also relatively drought tolerant and does not care about soil type.

Regions: 6 to 8

Amory Holly Magic

Monrovia/Photo by Doreen Wenja

the Holy Family (green oak) It has about 480 members that include deciduous and evergreen species, as well as trees, shrubs and climbing vines. The holly tree that most often comes to mind, especially at Christmas, is the English holly, but its cousin the Magical® Amore Holly (Ilex x meserveae ‘Amore’) makes hedging better.

The dense, spiky leaves on this and many other asparagus plants can be a challenge for anyone tasked with pruning them, but they also create a nearly impenetrable screen that helps deter unwanted intruders — whether animal or human — from entering your garden. It grows 5 to 7 feet tall.

Regions: 5 to 9

The berries of any holly plant are toxic to people and pets (but not to birds), so they are not recommended for plantings that are easily accessible to young children.

Japanese Euonymus

Monrovia / Photo by Brandon Friend Solis

Known by several names – Japanese spindle, box leaf Euonymus, and evergreen Euonymus (pronounced… You-ahn-eh-must) – This small, vigorous evergreen shrub (Euonymus japonicus) Ideal for creating privacy in small-scale landscapes. It has small, shiny, leathery green leaves and does well in full sun through heavy shade.

The Japanese euonymus is a hardy, woody shrub that reaches 15 feet tall and tolerates heat, drought, and moderate salt spray. For striking color, look for variegated varieties with bright yellow and green leaves.

Regions: 6 to 9

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