The Q&A Archives: Shrubs/Trees for Privacy

Question: We are in immediate need of planting some shrubs or trees which will give us privacy from the house next door! Our Great Room has all ceiling to floor windows looking out over our backyard, however the neighbors (new) can now see directly into our house giving us NO privacy! What kind of shrubs or trees can we plant on the borders of the 2 properties that will be tall, wide, and a great border for privacy? Help, help, help!

Answer: Although the first instinct is always to plant along the property line, that is not necessarily the fastest way to screen a specific spot. In fact, the plants will provide a screen faster if they are planted closer to your house, so you might keep that in mind as you consider your alternatives.

The quickest solution is of course a fence, and the look can be softened by flowering vines. Some fast growing shrubs which hold their leaves late and get large would include forsythia and privet. For evergreens, some varieties of upright junipers grow very quickly; some varieties of arborvitae also grow quite quickly. Most evergreen trees grow fairly slowly, but you might plant several with the intention of removing the extras as they reach some size.

Small deciduous trees with a spreading habit can be an effective screen during the summer, you might consider some of the newer disease resistant crab apples, the native redbud, or perhaps an ornamental cherry. The actual plant choice, however, depends greatly on the sun/shade and soil conditions available so you might wish to consult with a nursery professional or perhaps your County Extension (285-8300) for specific suggestions for plants that will do well in your local area.

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