The Q&A Archives: Evergreens for privacy

Question: I'm new to MI from AZ, and I would like to plant MANY forms of conifers and evergreens on both sides of my home going down to a lake. 4 ft-??? These will be used for privacy. Cost is not an option for this thick-lush project....I'm going wild!
If you have any other ideas, I'm listening...Thanx for your help!
Happy New Year!
Michele Zone 5

Answer: There are so many plants you could consider using, ranging from the hardier rhododendrons such as the Catawbas to the many assorted dwarf conifers. To some extent your selection will depend on what type of soil is there, how much wind hits the area, and how much sun/shade is there. I would suggest you work with your local county extension and/or professionally trained nursery staff to analyze the growing conditions where you want to plant your privacy screening and, based on that, determine which plants would thrive most easily there. Then select your favorites from among those. Remember to leave ample room for your new plants to grow and reach their mature size without becoming too crowded.

One pointer to keep in mind is that if you are trying to provide privacy, it is sometimes more effective to use an island of shrubbery closer to your house or patio, for example, rather than plant a hedge far away along the property line. This is akin to holding your hand up to hide your eyes close to your face as opposed to holding it out at arm's length.

Another pointer is to try to integrate your plantings into a pleasing overall whole, so that the privacy planting seems like a planned extension of your landscape rather than an abrupt demarcation of the perimeter. To do this well you may want to consult with a professionally trained landscape architect for an overall landscape plan, then possibly work with a designer to fine tune the plant choices.

Enjoy your evergreens!

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