Fast-growing shrubs for screening

Updated February 21, 2017

Landscape design incorporates solutions for problem areas with plants, trees and shrubs. Shrubs in landscape design add beauty and texture, and provide screening of unattractive views and areas. They are planted instead of installing a fence for a living barrier. They provide privacy, protection from wind and snow, and shelter and food for birds. To block an undesirable view or to grow a living privacy fence, fast-growing shrubs are preferable.

Fast-Growing Shrubs

Fast-growing shrubs fill out in one season and grow larger each year. Artemesia is an herbaceous perennial that reaches 4 to 6 feet by the second year and grows into a full, flowing shrub. Arbor vitae, also called thuja, is an evergreen shrub with flat green foliage and a straight, upright growth habit. Arbor vitae grows up to 20 feet high in a few years. Forsythia is a semi-woody shrub grown for its bright yellow early spring flowers. It has varieties that grow upright or in a low-spreading habit. Trumpet creeper is a perennial climbing flowering plant that grows very fast once it is mature. It will grow up to 30 feet from an established vine that is cut back to 1 foot tall. It needs something to support it while growing and is a good plant for arbors and pergolas.

As a Property Border

Fast-growing shrubs planted as a living fence or property border need little attention other than trimming once or twice per year and possibly an application of a mulch layer each fall. Take care not to plant border shrubs too close to the property line, leaving at least a foot or two in order to accommodate future growth and not crowd out neighbouring property or gardens. Also be careful not to plant border hedge plants too close together to leave room for growth and avoid overcrowding.

Around Utility Areas

Shrubs planted around utility areas such as garbage can storage, garden sheds and central air units create attractive natural screens. Shrubs planted around utility areas require regular trimming to ensure access to frequently used areas and overgrowth. Fencing or trellising to back or support plants can make it easier to keep screening shrubs around utility areas neat and attractive.

On a Trellis

Some fast-growing shrubs such as trumpet creeper need support and grow well on a large trellis. Install a post and trellis in front of an area to be screened to support a climbing vine or herbaceous perennial shrub. Pin main branches of shrubs with a loose growth habit to a trellis for a manicured screen in the garden or landscape.

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About the Author

Heidi Cardenas specializes in human resources, business and personal finance, small-business advice, home and garden and home improvement. Her professional background includes human resources and business administration, technical writing and corporate communications. She has studied horticulture and business administration, and enjoys guest blogging for publications including Herb Companion Magazine, Natural Home Living Magazine, and Mother Earth Living.