Discover 10 Excellent Evergreens Hedges to Increase Your Privacy (2023)



Trees and Shrubs as Screens


Marie Iannotti

Discover 10 Excellent Evergreens Hedges to Increase Your Privacy (1)

Marie Iannotti

Marie Iannotti is a life-long gardener and a veteran Master Gardener with nearly three decades of experience. She's also an author of three gardening books, a plant photographer, public speaker, and a former Cornell Cooperative Extension Horticulture Educator. Marie's garden writing has been featured in newspapers and magazines nationwide and she has been interviewed for Martha Stewart Radio, National Public Radio, and numerous articles.

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Updated on 09/06/21

Reviewed by

Barbara Gillette

Discover 10 Excellent Evergreens Hedges to Increase Your Privacy (2)

Barbara Gillette is a master gardener, herbalist, beekeeper, and journalist. She has 30 years of experience propagating and growing fruits, vegetables, herbs, and ornamentals.

Learn more about The Spruce'sReview Board

Discover 10 Excellent Evergreens Hedges to Increase Your Privacy (3)

Evergreens make wonderful, quick hedges and privacy screens. Some mature quickly into dense hedges and others develop with you, over time. When planting your living screen, do not plant in a straight line. Instead, zig-zag the trees to give a fuller effect and to allow the trees to get air and the sun. This will also help the hedge give with the wind, preventing breakage and wind tunnels.

Choose a couple of your favorite evergreen varieties. It is wise to plant more than one variety of evergreen in a border so that disease and pests will not destroy the whole planting. Take a look at the top 10 choices.

19 Classy Living Privacy Fences (Plus Plant Examples)

  • 01 of 10

    Boxwood (Buxus)

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    Long a European favorite, boxwood responds very well to pruning and shaping. Besides making great hedges, boxwoods are a favorite tree for a topiary. The tiny, evergreen leaves remain tidy when clipped. Korean boxwood is proving to behardier than the English varieties. Prune in late spring, as new growth darkens. Size varies with species and it prefersfull sun to partial shade.

    • USDA Growing Zones:6 to 8
    • Sun Exposure:Partial or dappled shade
    • Soil Needs: Well-drained soil in the 6.8 to 7.5 pH range
  • 02 of 10

    Yew (Taxus baccata)

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    Yew makes a dense hedge that responds well to pruning. Overgrown yew hedges can often be restored by hard pruning in late winter. Many yews used for foundation plantings remain squat. T. baccata grows to 6 feet tall and 16 feet spread, making it great for hedging. The uniformity of a yew hedge makes a great wall for enclosed gardens. It is a slow-to-medium grower.

    • USDA Growing Zones:2 to 10, depending on the variety
    • Color Varieties:Non-flowering; dark green needles and red berries
    • Sun Exposure:Sun, partial shade, or full shade depending on variety
    • Soil Needs:Well-draining soil with a neutral pH
  • 03 of 10

    Arborvitae Green Giant (Thuja Green Giant)

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    Arborvitae Green Giant was introduced by the U.S. National Arboretum. You can grow it in almost any soil conditions from sand to clay. It forms a pyramid shape and requires no pruning. It is pest resistant and even deer resistant. For a quick hedge or windbreak, plant these plants 5 to 6 feet apart. For a more gradual hedge, plant 10 to 12 feet apart. These fast-growers can reach a height of 60 feet and a spread of 20 feet.

    • USDA Growing Zones:2 to 7
    • Sun Exposure:Full to partial sun
    • Soil Needs:Tolerates a range of soils but prefers moist well-drained loams
  • 04 of 10

    Holly (Ilex)

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    Popular for its glossy green leaves, and bright red berries,hollies look best if kept trimmed and full. Only the females set berries, but you will need a male to cross-pollinate. There are some new varieties that do not require two sexes. Hollies prefer acidic soil and the addition of peat or garden sulfur may be necessary. The American holly is more widely adaptable than English holly. It is a medium grower, reaching a height of 6 to 10 feet and a spread of 5 to 8 feet. Plant hollies 2 to 4 feet apart.

    • USDA Growing Zones:5 to 9
    • Color Varieties:Greenish-white flowers and red berries
    • Sun Exposure:Full sun to partial shade
    • Soil Needs:Well-drained,slightly acidic, fertile soil

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.

  • 05 of 10

    Firethorn (Pyacantha coccinea)

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    Firethorn can be a bit unruly, but it still looks striking in the landscape. It is an evergreen with white flowers in spring and orange-red berries from summer into winter and is popular for Christmas decorations. This drought-tolerant plant likesfull sun to partial shade. Plant firethorns 3 to 4 feet apart. It is a fast grower and can reach a height of 8 to 12 feet and a spread of 3 to 5 feet. Prune if necessary, after flowering.

    • USDA Growing Zones:6 to 9
    • Color Varieties:Small white flowers resulting in orangey fruits
    • Sun Exposure:Full sun to partial shade
    • Soil Needs:Moist, well-drainedsoil
  • 06 of 10

    Leyland Cypress (x Cupressocyparis Leylandii)

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    The Leyland cypress is a column-like evergreen with flat scale-like leaves. It makes a tough privacy screen or windscreen that is salt tolerant and grows best infull sun. Many new cultivars are being bred for bluer color, variegation, and more feathery foliage. It is a fast grower and you can prune to shape it as new foliage deepens in color. It can reach a height of 60 to 70 feet and a spread of 15 to 20 feet.

    • USDA Growing Zones:6 to 10
    • Color Varieties:White
    • Sun Exposure:Full to partial sun
    • Soil Needs:Acidic or neutral clay, loam, and sand
  • 07 of 10

    Variegated Japanese Laurel (Aucuba japonica)

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    Also known as the gold dust tree,'Variegata' has leathery pale bright green leaves mottled with yellow variegation. This tree is a standout, especially when used to light up a shady area, which it prefers.'Variegata' is a female and requires a male for pollination, to produce red berries. Good choices include 'Mr. Goldstrike' and 'Maculata.' This laurel likes moist soilbut can handle periodic dry spells. It is a slow grower that can be pruned in early spring to summer. It can reach a height of six to nine feet and a spread of three to five feet.

    • USDA Growing Zones:7 to 10
    • Color Varieties:Variegated foliage, gold spots, red berries
    • Sun Exposure:Full sun to partial shade
    • Soil Needs:Almost all well-drained soils
  • 08 of 10

    Cotoneaster (C. lucidus, C. glaucophyllus, C. franchetii)

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    The more upright cotoneasters can be used to form a solid hedge. Several cotoneaster species are evergreen or semi-evergreen. There are several varieties; C. lucidus grows up to 10 feet tall, C. glaucophyllus grows three or four feet tall with a six-foot spread; and C. franchetii grows 6 feet tall with a 6-foot spread.

    • USDA Growing Zones:5 to 9 depending on the variety
    • Color Varieties:Red berries and bright foliage in fall
    • Sun Exposure:Full sun to partial shade
    • Soil Needs:Moist but well-drained,loamysoil

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.

  • 09 of 10

    Heavenly Bamboo (Nandina domestica)

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    Nandina domesticais popular in the southern U.S., where its fall/winter berries are the most striking. However, Nandinais tougher than its delicate foliage would suggest. White spring flowers come in hydrangea-like panicles and are followed by bunches of red berries. The foliage blushes red for fall and winter. It is a medium-to-fast grower and can be pruned before new growth. Expect a height of five to seven feet and a spread of 3 to 5 feet.

    • USDA Growing Zones:5 to 10
    • Color Varieties:white or pinkish blossoms; red berries; fall foliage
    • Sun Exposure:Partial sun
    • Soil Needs:Rich, acidic soil
  • 10 of 10

    Privet (Ligustrum)

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    A classic hedge plant, not all privets are evergreen. The dense foliage responds extremely well to pruning and can be pruned after flowering. Most have white summer flowers followed by black berries. Privet is very adaptable and will grow in just about any conditions fromfullsun to shade.These fast growers reach a height of 15 feet and a spread of 5 to 6 feet.

    • USDA Growing Zones:3 to 8
    • Color Varieties:White flowers, black berries
    • Sun Exposure:Full to partial sun
    • Soil Needs:Tolerant of a variety of soil types

Watch Now: 7 Ways to Save Time in Your Garden


What is the best evergreen hedge for privacy? ›

All-Around Best Evergreen Hedge for Privacy

If we had to pick one evergreen as the best choice for privacy hedging, Cherry Laurel (Prunus Laurocerasus) boasts so many fantastic qualities that it really deserves the title. This evergreen hedge is fast-growing and resilient, and it is relatively undemanding.

What is the fastest growing evergreen hedge for privacy? ›

With growth rates from 3 to 5 feet per year the fastest growing privacy hedges are Thuja Green Giant, Leyland Cypress, Cryptomeria Radicans, and Wax Myrtle. Carolina Sapphire Cypress, Nellie Stevens Holly, Oakland Holly, and Wavy Leaf Ligustrum offer fast privacy with 2 to 3 feet of upward growth per year.

What is the best hedging for privacy? ›

Emerald Green Arborvitae is the ultimate choice for a dense privacy hedge. With an Emerald Green hedge, there is zero chance of seeing anything through it. It grows slowly and requires very infrequent pruning. Although it grows slowly, it will become quite tall if given enough time.

What is a tall green bush for privacy? ›

Arborvitae (Thuja)

A good choice for large privacy hedges is the fast grower 'Green Giant', which can reach 50 to 60 feet tall (with a spread of 12 to 20 feet). If you want a bush that is more compact and do not mind waiting a bit longer, 'Emerald Green' arborvitae is a better option.

What grows fast and tall for privacy? ›

What are the fastest-growing trees for privacy? Hybrid poplar tops the list. It can grow upwards of five feet per year. The Leyland cypress, green giant arborvitae, and silver maple are all close seconds because they add about two feet to their height each year.

What is the easiest evergreen hedge to grow? ›

The Leylandii is a conifer that's the fastest-growing, evergreen hedge and will create one quickly. If it is pruned every year, Leylandii will create a formal dark-green evergreen screen or box-shaped hedge, similar to a Yew hedge. Leylandii can be kept to any height as long as you trim it once or twice a year.

What is a cheap and fast-growing hedge? ›

English laurel (or Cherry Laurel) can make an enormous fast-growing hedge. Under the right conditions, it can grow up to 3 feet per year! It does very well in heat. It has glossy evergreen foliage and makes a very attractive large hedge with regular pruning 1-2 times per year.

What is the cheapest privacy hedge? ›

Try Some Inexpensive Evergreens

The Leyland cypress (× Cuprocyparis leylandii) is another fast-growing, inexpensive option that thrives in USDA zones 6 through 10. It is slightly smaller than Thuja 'Green Giant' and reaches up to 50 feet at full maturity with a growth rate of up to 3 feet per year.

What is the fastest growing hedging? ›

Cherry Laurel

fast-growing. Also known as Common Laurel, this evergreen species thrives in shadier conditions as well as in direct sunlight. Expect it to grow by about 60cm per year in average conditions, growing up to 8 metres total.

What is the best Bush for front of house? ›

Best Shrubs To Plant In Front Of The House
  1. Boxwood. One of the most common foundation shrubs is the boxwood because it's easy to shape with some hedge trimmers. ...
  2. Roses. This classic bush comes in a bunch of different shapes and sizes. ...
  3. Hydrangea. ...
  4. Japanese Maple. ...
  5. Juniper. ...
  6. Dogwood. ...
  7. Elderberry. ...
  8. Dwarf Lilac.

What is the best shrub for a privacy fence? ›


Arborvitae are the most commonly used privacy plants. They grow tall and form a solid wall when planted close together. They are one of the best tall plants for privacy. They are some of the hardiest plants both in and outside of cold weather.

How do I make tall privacy in my backyard? ›

Stagger taller trees, grasses, and greenery near the fence line to block the view from your neighbors and add more protection to your backyard. Then, plant a mix of shorter shrubs and perennials to fill in the gaps and make a more unified, natural privacy wall in your backyard.

What are hedges that don't lose their leaves? ›

Bushes that do not drop their leaves are known as evergreens. Unlike deciduous plants that shed their leaves each autumn, evergreens lose their leaves gradually, replacing them throughout the year. By definition, broadleaf evergreens bear flattened foliage that remains green year-round.

What is the best year-round hedge? ›

1. American Arborvitae: Best for Year-Round Privacy. American Arborvitae is an evergreen shrub or tree that comes in many heights, from smaller Emerald Green arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis 'Smaragd') to the towering Green Giants. Arborvitae cultivars are widely used as evergreen hedges in home landscapes.

What can I use instead of a hedge? ›

5 practical alternatives to Box hedging
  1. Yew (Taxus baccata) For many homeowners, Yew (or Taxus baccata) is the replacement plant of choice. ...
  2. Euonymus. Euonymus japonicus is a compact, glossy evergreen that makes for good low hedging. ...
  3. Lavender. ...
  4. Maigrun. ...
  5. DuraPost fencing.
May 13, 2022

What months can you plant a hedge? ›

The best year for planting bare-root hedging and trees is between October and April, when the trees are dormant. Keep an eye on the weather and avoid planting when the soil is waterlogged or frozen. When you receive your plants, ensure the roots of your trees have moisture.

What can I use instead of trees for privacy? ›

Laurels, particularly the Russian Laurel, are another great choice for privacy hedging. They grow rather quickly and do well in full sun or partial shade.

What plant makes a great hedge? ›

Yew Bushes (Taxus)

Among needle-bearing evergreens, yew bushes are perhaps the most classic hedge plants. They are popular partly because they tolerate shade. While some yews grow tall enough to serve as privacy screens, yews are slow growers. So don't expect privacy for many years.

What are the easiest hedges? ›

Many species of holly work well as hedges. Smaller hollies, such as yaupon holly (pictured here), meserve holly, and inkberry, are the easiest types to use because they don't require much pruning. Many varieties of holly bear red or orange berries, but may require a male pollinator nearby.

What time of year should you plant a hedge? ›

Bare root hedging should be planted between mid-October and the end of March. Rootballed evergreens are best planted from the start of September to mid-October or from the beginning of April to mid-May. Good soil preparation before planting will go a long way to getting your new hedging off on the right track.

What time of year should you lay a hedge? ›

Hedge laying is a seasonal job carried out between October and March when trees and shrubs are dormant, and birds have finished nesting in the hedges.

What can I plant to block neighbors view? ›

Plants for Privacy
  1. Clematis. Vines make great screens. ...
  2. Climbing Roses. Train climbing roses over fences, walls, pergolas and gazebos. ...
  3. Cherry Laurel. Cherry laurel is an evergreen shrub or small tree native to the southeastern United States. ...
  4. Ivy. ...
  5. Boxwood. ...
  6. Privet. ...
  7. Japanese Holly. ...
  8. Buckthorn.

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