Privacy barriers can add a lot of value to a home. Creating a privacy "fence" out of trees, shrubs and other plants can add even more value, thanks to the beauty of the lush greenery of live plants. Privacy fences and other landscaping can add up to 20 per cent to a home's value. It can also enhance the atmosphere of the property by creating a feeling of enclosure.
Trees can make great privacy barriers and windbreaks. Evergreen trees planted close together will soon form a living fence. The graceful Leland cypress grows 6 or more feet tall in a couple of years and can reach 15 to 20 feet tall and 4 feet wide, depending on the variety. Arbor vitae is a similar tree with lovely, dense evergreen foliage. Black Hills spruce, Colorado spruce, white spruce, white cedar and eastern red cedar can also be used as privacy barriers.
Shrubs can be even more dense than trees when planted in a row. Some of the best types of shrubs for a privacy fence include evergreens, dogwood shrubs and hydrangeas. Evergreen shrubs such as boxwood, privet and the many varieties of holly grow very quickly and can be pruned to various heights and shapes, whether you like a dense hedge that is sheared flat on top or whether you like a looser, more natural look. The Halo and the Red Twig are both dogwood shrubs that produce beautiful flowers. Hydrangea shrubs produce large, beautiful blue, purple or pink flowers for several months, but they are deciduous--they lose their leaves in the fall. Intermingling evergreen and deciduous shrubs provides an interesting look with some variety throughout the seasons.
The rose of Sharon and bamboo can also be used to create fast and effective privacy fences or barriers. Bamboo is a fast-growing grass-family plant that grows several feet tall in a few years. The rose of Sharon is a tall shrub that provides beautiful flowers throughout the summer. Miniature crape myrtles, which blossom pink, lavender or red in summer, can also be used in a privacy shrub border.
Enhancing a Manmade Fence
If a metal or wooden fence is already in place, add a climbing plant to it to enhance the look with greenery. This works especially well with chain link fences and rail fences. Climbing plants for a fence include ivy, creeping fig, hardy kiwi, purple-leaved grapes, climbing roses and jasmine.
Read the information on the nursery tag attached to the plants you are considering buying. You must choose plants that thrive in the conditions of your planting area: full sun or mostly shade; dry or moist; sandy soil or clay soil.