Best Hedges for Privacy

by | Sep 2, 2020 | ground-cover

If you’re anything like me, you like privacy.  

I like to socialize and have gatherings but I certainly don’t like having a nosy neighbor peering into my yard.

It wasn’t until the new neighbors moved in that I looked into privacy hedges.

The old neighbors had maintained a large hedge that acted as a thick privacy screen providing us with a carefree sense of solitude.

Our new neighbors in all of their wisdom decided to completely cut down the brush leaving us exposed…feeling a bit violated.

I did a lot of digging and needed to either raise the block wall a few feet or find a hedge that grows quickly.  

For financial reasons, I chose the latter.  

But before we get into providing you with a list of the best hedges for privacy, here are few things to consider:

Roots

Depending on where you intend on placing your hedges, choose your plants carefully.  Some hedges have very invasive and roots.  

Take Ficus as an example.  They are notorious for their destructive roots.  You don’t want to plant these next to anything because if you do, expect to see some serious buckling. 

Growth Rate

Some hedges have a very rapid growth rate where you could get the desired coverage within a few months.

Others take ridiculously long.  Way longer than one would need or hope for.  We’re talking the speed of tree sap.

Hardiness

As with all plants, if you’re terrible with maintenance, you won’t have much of a hedge.  

So, as to not kill your plant, get yourself a hardy one (drought tolerant and can withstand cold or hot temperatures).  

But if you have a green thumb, you can obviously choose whatever you want.

Sun or Shade?

This should be pretty self-explanatory.  Make sure the plants you choose can handle the environment you place them in.  Most hedges thrive in full sun but you still need to be careful so you don’t end up burning the plants, especially in extremely hot climates.  

Evergreen

Choose evergreen hedges if you want your plants to remain green year-round.  Since the whole purpose of having a privacy hedge is to improve your yard’s appearance and provide privacy, I doubt you would want bushes that are brown or without leaves for half a year.

With all of these factors considered, here’s a list of the top five best hedges for privacy.

Privets

This is one of my favorites.  With non-invasive roots and relatively quick growth, this one is perfect to plant along any pavement or next to any pool.  There are several species of Privets with different growth rates and sizes.  The California Privet (Ligustrum ovalifolium) is one of the popular hedges which grows anywhere between 10 to 15 feet in height and requires very little maintenance.

Sun Exposure: Can tolerate full sun or shade

Growth Rate: 3 feet per year

Hardiness: Zones 4 – 8

Bamboo

Want fast?  This is the plant to have if you’re eager to get some privacy right away.  It’s a great privacy hedge and most species grow at an unbelievable rate.  Considered to be one of the fastest-growing plants, some of them can grow 3 feet in a day!  Bamboo can grow in clumps or run so choose your area carefully if you elect to go with running bamboos.  These will spread very fast.

Sun Exposure: Can tolerate full sun or shade

Growth Rate: Varies but grows at a very rapid rate

Hardiness: Zones 6 – 11

Laurels

Laurels are another beautiful option.  Depending on the species, you want to make sure you keep these trimmed because they can get out of control.  Some species like the English Laurel can grow up to 30 to 40 feet high at a pace of 5 feet a year!

Sun Exposure: Full sun and can tolerate shade

Growth Rate: 1 to 2 feet per year

Hardiness: Zones 6 – 9

Green Giant Arborvitae

These plants provide a thick, dense hedge and require very little maintenance.  This species grows at a rate of about 3 feet per year and can grow very tall.  If you leave it untrimmed, you can expect it to reach up to 60 feet or more so if you want to make privacy hedges out of it, you better keep it trimmed to make it manageable. 

Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade

Growth Rate: 1 to 2 feet per year

Hardiness: Zones 8 – 11

Holly

Not only do Hollys make a great privacy hedge but the sharp spines on the leaves make it a great protective barrier as well.   Hollys are thick hedges and can grow at a rate of about 2 feet a year.  Some species grow up to 25 feet at maturity so can you get a great thick and beautiful hedge year-round.  Come holidays, the holly plant can make your landscape festive as the red berries and the prickly green leaves make popular decorative ornaments.  

Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade

Growth Rate: 1 to 2 feet per year

Hardiness: Zones 3 – 11

Whichever plant you choose, there’s nothing like having a beautiful privacy hedge surrounding your yard.  Not only does it add beauty but it turns your yard into a private retreat.   Add a little water feature and you have a secluded oasis right in your backyard.  

However, if you’re going to plant the privacy hedges alongside a wall or next to any concrete slab, choose carefully.   I can’t stress enough, the importance of selecting a hedge that doesn’t have invasive roots.  You will end up regretting it within a short period of time.  The roots will eventually push itself underneath the foundation and cause all kinds of havoc.