Many urban dwellers live close to their neighbours. Property line hedges work well to create a privacy screen, offering wind protection and bird habitat, as well. By selecting fast-growing hedge plants, you cut down significantly on wait time.
If your zoning permits tall hedges, the leyland cypress (x Cupressocyparis leylandii) is a top option. This evergreen hybrid--a cross between Pacific cypress and Alaska cedar--grows 2 to 3 feet a year every year, until it tops out at about 100 feet. Its lacy, flat needles create a dense wall of green that accepts pruning and even topping.
Native to the Southeast, the wax myrtle (Morella cerifera) is a tough, versatile hedge plant. It grows rapidly in virtually any soil or type of exposure. The evergreen foliage is wonderfully fragrant when pruned.
For summer houses, deciduous plants create as effective a privacy screen as evergreens. Winter honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima) is particularly attractive, with creamy white flowers in spring and red berries in fall. This honeysuckle spreads up and out rapidly until it achieves 6 to 10 feet in both height and width.