Fast Growing Evergreen Privacy Hedges
Ready to enjoy your backyard, but want a little more privacy between you and a neighbor or a nearby street? Creating privacy in your backyard with shrubs can transform an area to a forest enclave, or even a tropical oasis, if you use the right fast-growing plants. Consider planting a row of evergreen privacy hedges and surrounding yourself with greenery.
How to Use Shrubs for Privacy
Green hedges can be planted in a row along fence lines or be used instead of a fence. If having a straight line of plants is too formal for your space, plant in clusters to give the barrier some varied depth. Another option is to alternate groupings of two to three kinds of shrubs to create visual variety and an informal look.
To create privacy in smaller spaces such as a patio, deck, or balcony, use a few strategically located large containers. In these smaller areas choosing shrubs that tend to gain width when they grow will give you more privacy coverage with a smaller planting footprint.
What to Know about Shrubs
So many choices! Choosing the right shrubs to create evergreen privacy hedges can be daunting. Here are the most important factors to consider:
Zone: Look up your growing zone and make sure the plant you like will survive in the summer and winter in your area. Just because your local nursery has the plant, doesn’t mean it will survive in all seasons in your area. Most plants are tagged with a zone. If not, make sure to look it up or ask a plant expert at your nursery.
Mature Size: This is average size when the plant is about ten years old. Be sure you know the mature size of the shrub – height and width. It might be cute at 3’ but not so much at 30’ tall and 20’ wide. There are plenty of shrubs with mature heights and widths to match your needs. Choosing wisely will eliminate the need for maintenance on your part in the future.
Sun Exposure: Not all areas in a yard are sunny – especially between houses and in side yards. Observe the area you plan to plant during all times of day to understand the sun’s path, and keep in mind the winter sun as well. Be sure to compare this with the sun and shade needs of the shrub you are considering.
Best Evergreen Privacy Shrubs
Now that you know your zone and sun exposure needs, it’s time to choose your evergreen shrubs. These are fast growing evergreen shrubs with a variety of qualities, from fragrant and flowering to thin and green.
Mock orange, Philadelphus pubescens
Mature Size: 10-12’ H, 10-12’ W
This evergreen shrub is beautiful and fragrant. The citrus scent will travel across your entire yard when it blooms. The white colored flowers appear in late spring to summer. You can control the height and width by pruning. Be sure to prune, if needed, right after the blooms fade. Pruning too late will remove the next year’s flower buds.
Hick’s Yew, Taxus × media var. hicksii
Mature Size: 12-20’ H, 3-4’ W
This evergreen shrub is shade and sun tolerant – a rare feature in a plant. An excellent choice for a side yard or area between houses that receives little to no direct sunlight. The Hick’s yew has an upright form and can grow up to 20 feet if left unpruned, but remains only 3-4 wide.
Hedge cotoneaster, Cotoneaster lucidus
Mature Size: 8-10’ H, 6-8’ W
Contoneaster is a stiff shrub often used for evergreen privacy hedges. The branches grow very fast and reach to their maximum height quickly. It has clusters of beautiful red colored berries. You can let them go a little wild for a natural forest look or prune them for a more structured look.
Green Tower Boxwood, Buxus sempervirens ‘Monrue’
Mature Size: 8-9’ H, 2-3’ W
This boxwood variety has a nice upright habit that’s different from typical boxwoods. This will make a nice tight hedge along a property line with little maintenance required. Prune with shears for a formal garden or let this one grow and self-limit it’s size.
Green Spire Euonymus, Euonymus japonicus ‘Green Spire’
Mature Size: 7-8’ H, 2-3’ W
This shrub makes a nice hedge – prune to keep it short for a border hedge, or let it mature for a tall privacy hedge. Left to grow naturally, this has a wonderful upright vase habit.
Compact or Dwarf Strawberry Tree, Arbutus unedo ‘Compacta’
Mature Size: 25-30’ H, 20’ W
The leaves have a glossy green growth, and it gets bell-shaped flowers that turn into red berries in the late summer. This shrub does get pretty big and wide if you were to just let it grow, but if you trim it nicely each year the new growth is fantastic.
Sky Pencil Holly, Ilex crenata ‘Sky Pencil‘
Mature Size: 7-8’ H, 18” W
This makes a great thin evergreen hedge, which is nice when you only have six feet between two houses and you don’t want to take up too much space. Because this shrub isn’t wide, you’ll need to plant them closer together to create a hedge.
California Lilac, Ceanothus thyrsiflorus
Mature Size: 8-10’ H, 2-3’ W
These are such beauties with a mass of blue blooms in the spring, and they have nice foliage all year long. It’s a very fast-growing shrub – about three feet a year, but it’s also one that you can trim back and keep it at four or five feet. The honeybees love it!
Pacific Wax Myrtle, Myrica californica
Mature Size: 20-30’ H, 20-25’ W
This shrub is very drought resistant and is a fantastic hedge. If you keep it trimmed it will become more dense and solid. The leaves have a lovely fragrance to them, and it will accept a mostly shady area.
Any of these fast-growing privacy shrubs will become an essential garden element and fulfill your home, garden, and patio privacy needs. Enjoy creating your green space.