The Q&A Archives: Creating a Living Fence

Question: Can you suggest some shrubs that would work well as a "living fence." I'd like to create a living, growing screen between my house and the road.

Answer: "Living fence" is a broad term used to describe any type of barrier made by shrubs--it can be a formal clipped privet hedge, a line of naturally symmetrical or clipped evergreens such as junipers or arborvitae, or an informal line of mixed kinds of shrubs left untrimmed. Forsythia, spirea, lilac and rose of Sharon would all work in a "living fence", too.

You'll need to decide how tall you want it, whether you want it to be deciduous or evergreen (I'm guessing evergreen so it will provide screening in the winter), and you'll need to determine how much sun the area receives. Since shrubs will take a few years to grow large enough to provide an effective screen, you might consider interplanting with some tall, bushy annual flowers for the first few years.

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