Choosing the right privacy hedges for your landscape provides numerous benefits. Not only do they serve a practical purpose by establishing boundaries and enhancing privacy, but they also contribute to the aesthetic appeal of your property, giving it a structured and organized look. Additionally, they act as a sound barrier, reduce noise pollution, and serve as a habitat for local fauna, promoting biodiversity. Furthermore, with the right choice of plants, hedges can become a four-season feature, providing colour, texture, and interest throughout the year.

Leyland Cypress (Cupressocyparis leylandii)

The Leyland Cypress (Cupressocyparis leylandii, also called x Cuprocyparis leylandii) is a popular and fast-growing coniferous tree that’s frequently used in landscaping, especially for hedges and privacy screens. Here’s some more information:

Growth Rate and Size: Leyland Cypress is one of the fastest-growing hedge plants. It can grow up to 3-5 feet per year once established, reaching up to 60-70 feet in height and 15-20 feet in width, depending on the conditions.

Appearance: The tree has a columnar or pyramidal shape with dense, dark green to bluish-green foliage. The leaves are scale-like and produce a pleasant aroma when crushed.

Care: Leyland Cypress prefers full sun and well-drained soil, but it can also tolerate a variety of soil types, including clay, loam, and sand. It’s relatively drought-tolerant once established but does best with regular watering, especially in dry periods.

Pruning: To maintain it as a hedge, regular pruning is necessary. It’s usually done once or twice a year, depending on your desired height and shape.

Pests and Diseases: It’s relatively resistant to pests, but it can be prone to some diseases like canker disease and root rot, especially in poorly drained soils.

Planting Considerations: It’s important to provide enough space for the Leyland Cypress to grow, considering its potential size. Also, avoid planting too close to buildings or power lines.

Despite its popularity, it’s worth mentioning that the Leyland Cypress has been overused in some areas and has caused issues due to its fast growth and large size. Therefore, it’s important to consider other suitable alternatives, especially for smaller gardens, or in areas where Leyland Cypress diseases have become prevalent.

privacy hedges

Privet (Ligustrum spp.)

Privet (Ligustrum spp.) refers to a group of deciduous and evergreen shrubs that are commonly used for hedging due to their fast growth and dense foliage. Here are some key points about privet:

Growth Rate and Size: Privets are known for their fast growth rate, often growing more than 2 feet per year. The mature size depends on the specific species, but many commonly used privet species can reach 10-15 feet tall.

Appearance: Privets have oval-shaped leaves that are usually a glossy dark green. Many species bloom in the spring or early summer with clusters of small white flowers, and some produce small black berries.

Care: Privets are very adaptable and can thrive in a variety of soil types and light conditions, although they prefer well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade. Regular watering is essential, especially in dry periods.

Pruning: To maintain the desired shape and size, privets should be pruned regularly, usually once or twice a year.

Pests and Diseases: Privets can be susceptible to certain pests, such as aphids, and diseases, like honey fungus.

Planting Considerations: Privets can spread by seed and sometimes by root suckers, so they can potentially become invasive in some areas. Before planting privet, it’s recommended to check if it’s considered invasive in your region.

In addition, be aware that the berries of some privet species can be toxic if ingested, which is a consideration if you have pets or children.

Thuja Green Giant (Thuja standishii x plicata)

Thuja Green Giant, also known as Thuja standishii x plicata, is a fast-growing evergreen tree that’s popular for hedges and privacy screens. Here’s some key information:

Growth Rate and Size: Thuja Green Giant is a rapid grower, typically gaining 3-5 feet per year once established. It can reach a mature height of 50-60 feet and a spread of 12-20 feet.

Appearance: This hybrid tree has a dense, pyramid-like shape with rich green foliage that remains vibrant throughout the year. The leaves are scale-like and arranged in flattened sprays.

Care: Thuja Green Giant prefers full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil. It’s adaptable to various soil types and has some drought tolerance, although it prefers consistent moisture.

Pruning: Regular pruning isn’t necessary unless you want to maintain a specific shape or size. If you do prune, the best time is in late winter or early spring before new growth starts.

Pests and Diseases: It’s generally resistant to most pests and diseases, but can occasionally be affected by bagworms and leaf blight.

Planting Considerations: Due to its size, Thuja Green Giant should be planted with enough space to accommodate its mature spread. It’s an excellent choice for windbreaks, privacy screens, or noise barriers.

Thuja Green Giant is a hybrid of two native species, Thuja plicata (Western Red Cedar) and Thuja standishii (Japanese Arborvitae), and it combines the best traits of both, which includes fast growth and disease resistance. It’s considered a good alternative to Leyland Cypress in areas prone to canker disease.

Advise: The use of experienced and professional gardening company is crucial in maintaining your hedges, as professionals have the knowledge and skills to properly prune, shape, and treat any pest or disease issues that arise. They can also provide guidance on optimal care practices, ensuring your hedges remain healthy and continue to provide privacy and beauty in your landscape over the long term.

Bamboo (Phyllostachys spp.)

Bamboo, particularly the species in the Phyllostachys genus, is an incredibly fast-growing plant often used for privacy screens and hedges. Here’s more about this unique plant:

Growth Rate and Size: Bamboo is renowned for its rapid growth. Some species can grow up to 3 feet in a single day under optimal conditions. The mature size depends on the species, but many Phyllostachys species can reach over 30 feet tall.

Appearance: Bamboo has tall, slender canes (also called culms) that are green, yellow, or sometimes black, depending on the species. The leaves are typically long and slender, providing a thick, lush appearance.

Care: Bamboo prefers full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil. It’s adaptable to a range of soil conditions and has moderate to high drought tolerance once established.

Pruning: Bamboo doesn’t require much pruning. If you want to control the height or spread, you can cut the canes as needed.

Pests and Diseases: Bamboo is generally resistant to many pests and diseases, though it can be susceptible to bamboo mites or fungal diseases in some circumstances.

Planting Considerations: The major consideration with bamboo is its tendency to spread. Many species of bamboo, including some Phyllostachys, are running bamboos, which send out underground rhizomes that can spread far from the original plant. This can lead to bamboo becoming invasive if not properly controlled. You can control the spread by planting in containers, using underground barriers, or by choosing clumping bamboo species instead of running types.

Despite its potential challenges, bamboo can provide an attractive, fast-growing, and effective privacy screen in the right conditions.

privacy hedges

Forsythia (Forsythia x intermedia)

Forsythia x intermedia is a hybrid species of deciduous shrubs known for their fast growth rate and brilliant yellow flowers in early spring. Here are some key points about this plant:

Growth Rate and Size: Forsythia can grow over 2 feet per year and can reach up to 8-10 feet in height and width, making it a good choice for hedges.

Appearance: Forsythia’s most notable feature is its abundance of vibrant yellow flowers that bloom in early spring before the leaves appear. The leaves are medium to dark green and turn purplish in the fall.

Care: Forsythia prefers full sun for best flowering but can tolerate some shade. It can thrive in a wide range of soil types, provided the soil is well-drained.

Pruning: Forsythia should be pruned right after flowering since it blooms on old wood. Pruning later in the year will remove the next season’s flower buds.

Pests and Diseases: Forsythia is generally hardy and resistant to many pests and diseases, but it can occasionally be affected by diseases like crown gall and fungal leaf spot.

Planting Considerations: Forsythia makes a bold statement when in bloom, so consider its location in your landscape. It can also be used to create a colorful hedge or privacy screen in the spring. However, keep in mind that the densest growth (and thus, the best privacy) will be at the top of the plant where sunlight is most abundant. The lower part of the plant tends to be more open, especially if it’s not pruned regularly.

Forsythia x intermedia is a hybrid of two other Forsythia species (Forsythia suspensa and Forsythia viridissima), combining their best traits. Its ability to tolerate urban conditions and its rapid growth have made it a popular choice in city landscapes.

Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus)

Prunus laurocerasus, commonly known as cherry laurel or English laurel, is a species of evergreen shrub often used for hedges and privacy screens. Here are the details:

Growth Rate and Size: Cherry laurel is a fast-growing shrub, often adding more than 2 feet to its height each year. It can reach up to 20 feet in height, and some varieties can grow even taller.

Appearance: The shrub has glossy, dark green leaves that remain on the plant year-round. In spring, it produces spikes of small white flowers, followed by small, cherry-like fruits.

Care: Cherry laurel prefers well-drained soil and can tolerate full sun to partial shade. It’s fairly adaptable and can even tolerate urban pollution.

Pruning: To maintain it as a hedge, regular pruning is necessary. This is usually done once or twice a year, depending on your desired height and shape.

Pests and Diseases: It’s generally resistant to pests, but it can be prone to some diseases like shot hole disease and powdery mildew, especially in poor air circulation or damp conditions.

Planting Considerations: Because of its potential size and spread, it’s essential to give cherry laurels enough space to grow. Be aware that all parts of the plant are toxic if ingested, so it may not be the best choice if you have children or pets who might try to eat the leaves or berries.

Cherry laurel makes a solid, high, evergreen screen, which can provide privacy and block wind effectively. Its dense growth habit also makes it useful for absorbing sound, making it an excellent choice for urban or suburban areas with high noise levels.

Weigela (Weigela florida)

Weigela florida is a deciduous shrub known for its showy blooms in the spring and its fast growth. Here’s some key information about this plant:

Growth Rate and Size: Weigela is a fairly fast grower, often adding 1-2 feet to its height each year. Depending on the variety, mature plants can reach 4-6 feet in height and spread.

Appearance: Weigela is most notable for its tubular, often pink flowers that bloom in late spring. The leaves vary in color from green to burgundy, depending on the variety.

Care: Weigela prefers well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade. Once established, it is fairly drought tolerant but will do best with consistent watering.

Pruning: Pruning should be done right after flowering, as Weigela blooms on old wood. Regular pruning can help maintain a compact shape.

Pests and Diseases: Weigela is generally resistant to most pests and diseases, but it can occasionally be affected by issues such as powdery mildew or leaf spot.

Planting Considerations: While it can be used as a hedge, its open and arching growth habit won’t provide the dense privacy that other shrubs might. However, it can add a beautiful burst of color to the landscape in the spring.

Weigela florida is native to East Asia, and its beautiful flowers and relatively easy care have made it a popular choice for ornamental planting. There are many cultivars available with different flower colors and foliage, so you can select one that best fits your landscape design.

privacy hedges

Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus)

Carpinus betulus, commonly known as European Hornbeam, is a large deciduous tree that’s often used for privacy hedges due to its dense foliage and relatively fast growth. Here’s some key information about this species:

Growth Rate and Size: The hornbeam has a moderate to fast growth rate, adding 1-2 feet per year. As a tree, it can reach up to 60 feet in height, but when grown as a hedge, it’s usually pruned to a height of 10-15 feet.

Appearance: Hornbeam has oval, serrated leaves that are dark green in summer, turning yellow to orange in the fall. The tree maintains some of its brown, dead leaves through the winter, which can provide added privacy.

Care: Hornbeam is adaptable and hardy. It prefers well-drained soils and can tolerate full sun to partial shade.

Pruning: To maintain as a hedge, hornbeam should be pruned once or twice a year. It’s often pruned into a formal shape.

Pests and Diseases: It’s relatively resistant to pests and diseases, though it can occasionally be affected by leaf spots, cankers, and scale insects.

Planting Considerations: Hornbeam makes a solid, high, deciduous screen, which can provide privacy and block wind effectively. The tree’s ability to withstand heavy pruning makes it a good choice for hedges.

Hornbeam is a popular choice for “pleached” hedges, a technique where the branches of individual trees are interwoven to form a continuous, elevated hedge. It’s also a popular choice for bonsai due to its resilience and the attractive serrated foliage.

Boxwood (Buxus spp.)

Boxwood, or Buxus, is a genus of evergreen shrubs that are widely used for hedging and topiary due to their dense, slow to moderate growth habit and small, glossy leaves. Here are some key points:

Growth Rate and Size: Boxwood tends to grow slowly, often less than a foot per year, but can eventually reach 5-20 feet in height depending on the species and cultivar.

Appearance: Boxwood shrubs have small, rounded, glossy green leaves that remain on the plant year-round. The overall shape is typically round or mounded but can be pruned into almost any shape.

Care: Boxwood prefers well-drained soil and can tolerate a range of light conditions from full sun to partial shade. It is drought tolerant once established but does best with consistent moisture.

Pruning: One of the primary advantages of boxwood is its tolerance for heavy pruning and shaping, which is why it’s commonly used for topiary. Most pruning is done in late winter or early spring, but the plants can be lightly trimmed as needed throughout the year.

Pests and Diseases: Boxwood can be affected by a few pests such as boxwood leafminer and boxwood mites. Diseases, including boxwood blight, a serious fungal disease, can also affect the plants.

Planting Considerations: Boxwood makes an excellent low to medium-height hedge and is also often used for edging or borders. Because of its slower growth rate, it might take a few years for a boxwood hedge to provide substantial privacy.

There are many species and varieties of boxwood, offering a range of sizes and growth rates. Some popular varieties include ‘Green Velvet’ and ‘Winter Gem.’ Remember to choose a type that fits with your desired height and look for your hedge.

Holly (Ilex spp.)

Holly, or Ilex, is a large genus of evergreen and deciduous trees and shrubs, many of which are excellent for privacy hedges. Here are some important points about this plant:

Growth Rate and Size: Holly has a moderate growth rate, generally growing 1-2 feet per year. Depending on the species, mature holly plants can range from 6 feet to over 50 feet in height.

Appearance: Holly is well known for its glossy, often spiny leaves and bright red berries (on female plants). The foliage is typically dark green, though some varieties have variegated or lighter green leaves.

Care: Holly prefers well-drained soil and can tolerate a range of light conditions from full sun to partial shade. Some varieties prefer acidic soil.

Pruning: Holly plants respond well to pruning and can be trimmed to maintain a desired shape and size. Pruning is usually done in late winter or early spring.

Pests and Diseases: Holly is generally resistant to most pests and diseases, but it can be affected by holly leaf miner, spider mites, and whitefly. Some diseases, such as holly leaf spot and tar spot, can also affect the plants.

Planting Considerations: When using holly for privacy, remember that only female plants produce the iconic red berries and only if a male plant is nearby to provide pollination. For a dense, privacy-providing hedge, choose a holly species that has dense branching and foliage all the way to the ground.

There are many species and varieties of holly to choose from, including English Holly (Ilex aquifolium), American Holly (Ilex opaca), and the fast-growing ‘Nellie R. Stevens’ hybrid. These can provide year-round privacy with their evergreen leaves, as well as winter interest with their bright berries.

Photinia (Photinia x fraseri)

Photinia x fraseri, often known as red tip photinia or Fraser’s photinia, is a popular evergreen shrub known for its vibrant red young leaves. Here’s what you need to know about it:

Growth Rate and Size: Photinia is a fast-growing shrub, often adding 2 feet or more to its height each year. It can reach up to 10-15 feet in height and width, making it suitable for medium to tall hedges.

Appearance: Photinia is most known for its young leaves, which emerge a brilliant red in spring before maturing to a glossy dark green. Clusters of small white flowers bloom in spring as well.

Care: Photinia prefers well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade. It’s fairly tolerant of different soil types and is somewhat drought-resistant once established.

Pruning: Pruning should be done in early spring to stimulate the growth of the attractive red leaves and to maintain the desired shape and size.

Pests and Diseases: Photinia can be prone to a disease called Entomosporium leaf spot, which can defoliate plants if not controlled. Good air circulation can help prevent this disease.

Planting Considerations: Photinia’s vibrant new growth and quick growth rate make it a popular choice for privacy hedges. However, it should be planted with enough space to allow air circulation to prevent leaf spot.

Photinia x fraseri is a hybrid of two other Photinia species and has become one of the most popular plants in its genus due to its striking appearance and quick growth.