The best bushes & hedges for privacy

Written by dan harkins
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The best bushes & hedges for privacy
Evergreen privets are one of the most common natural privacy buffers. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Landscaping for privacy often involves the densest, fastest-growing shrubbery. The best privacy hedges provide the optimum, consistent coverage you seek with an aesthetic appeal that adds flair and not clutter to your view. Find the bushes or trees that suit your taste, then make sure they can grow where you live.

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Some of the most ubiquitous perimeter hedges are the spike-leafed varieties that best block the wind and provide privacy. Columnar evergreens like spruce, often seen in rows as wind shields on farms or in backyards, have needles for leaves. A popular variety is the Norway spruce, which provides thick, largely impenetrable wind screening with very little maintenance required. These trees are native to most of the United States, hardy in warm or frigid temperatures, and grow to as large as 50 feet tall.


Cypress and holly also offer densely shielded fence lines at an affordable price. In numerous varieties like Leyland, Italian and Murray, cypress grows relatively fast, at 3 to 4 feet a year to reach a mature height of about 30 feet tall in a hedge. The cypress' lush foliage ranges in more striking hues of green than spruce, and it doesn't convey that impenetrable feeling -- making it a softer, more manageable part of your landscaping.


Though sometimes known to spread where not wanted, bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants on earth, able to stretch about 10 feet every year. That means you can have pretty tall fence and privacy screen in a year or two. Some varieties of bamboo, like a dark-hued black bamboo, also have been bred to be less invasive. And contrary to some misconceptions, bamboo grows quite hardily even in many northern states like Ohio.

Add Other Colors

The typically green hues of the average hedge row aren't all you're confined to. American holly, used prevalently in holiday decorations, is a fast-growing hedgerow that sprouts colourful red berries every year. It's barbed leaves provide excellent security as well. If you prefer vivid or distinct colouring all year long when it comes to your hedgerow, blue junipers reach 15 feet and densely pack a fence line. And red or yellow dogwood twigs rise 8 feet, though somewhat sparsely, to provide a burst of colour to a privacy fence.

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