Our top pick of the best trees for privacy is the Brighter Blooms Leyland Cypress, a robust tree with a unique blue-green coloring that can add a fashionable edge to any garden. Growing a living privacy screen in your garden can help you to add an element of sophistication and seclusion to your outdoor space. Feel free to check out our other recommendations and read up on the best ways to grow your very own privacy wall.
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Tips for Creating a Living Privacy Screen
Why put up a fence when you can create an attractive and eco-friendly privacy screen using trees? Privacy trees are a cost-effective way to spruce up your yard and increase property value while creating a quiet space in your back garden, and can even help to improve air quality.
Choosing Your Plants
When looking at privacy trees, the most important thing to consider is the coverage that each species offers. In order to create an effective privacy screen, you need to plant trees that will grow tall and thick enough to provide a safe haven from wind, sun, noise, and prying eyes.
Ideal species are able to grow quickly and close together so that you can create a uniform wall without any unsightly gaps. There are several evergreen and deciduous tree varieties that you can use to grow a privacy barrier:
- The Thuja Green Giant is easy to grow and easy to care for, making it a popular choice among homeowners as a privacy tree. The species grows at an impressive rate of 3 to 5 feet per year and can reach heights of 40 to 60 feet. Green Giants are tough, able to resist drought and adapt to almost any terrain.
- The Emerald Green Thuja is slightly smaller than its cousin the Green Giant, reaching a maximum height or around 12 feet at maturity. These trees are a good option for small spaces and require little pruning or trimming to maintain.
- The Leyland cypress is a little bit pickier than Thuja tree varieties when it comes to terrain, growing primarily in warmer Southern and Northwestern regions. Like the Green Giant they grow fast, at 3 to 5 feet per year, and can reach up to 60 feet in height.
- Willow hybrids are deciduous trees that can add a wild touch to your privacy screen with their luscious, downy branches. These hybrids grow astonishingly fast, at up to 6 feet per year, and when planted in close proximity reach a height of 35 to 45 feet tall.
- American holly is a thick and vibrant tree that can add color to your evergreen privacy screen with red berries that pop up in the winter, and beautiful white flowers that bloom in the spring. Just be aware that the plant’s berries are poisonous, so American holly may not be the best option for homes with animals or small children.
When choosing which tree to use for your privacy wall, it’s important to take your home’s space limitations into consideration. Walkways, driveways, utility lines and more can all limit the space you have available to grow a proper privacy barrier.
A Green Giant tree, for example, may not be the best choice for someone who lives on a small inner-city property. Conversely, smaller Emerald Green Thuja trees may not provide an adequate level of protection for larger homes or in rural areas.
Planting Your Trees
Privacy trees are not often grown from seed, but are instead purchased as saplings from nurseries or garden centers. The best time to plant these young trees is during early spring when it’s still relatively cool outside. Before planting, make sure that you trim away any protective plastic or burlap wrapped around the tree roots. Bare-root trees should be soaked between 3 and 6 hours before planting to encourage early growth.
Loosen the soil where you plan to plant, removing rocks and weeds before adding water. Plant each tree’s root flare level with the surface of your yard, water again, and then add 2 to 3 inches of mulch around the base of your tree. This will help to keep the roots moist as they grow and regulate soil temperature. Be sure to keep your trees well-hydrated during their first few weeks of growth before switching to a normal watering routine.
Plant Size and Spacing Ideas
The mature height of a tree is an important consideration when planting a privacy wall, but many people don’t account for the mature width of the tree. You need to plant each sapling far enough apart that they have room to grow and don’t encroach on each other’s resources. To create an attractive and effective barrier, though, you also need to plant trees close enough together to avoid leaving any gaps or open spaces.
Luckily, most popular privacy trees are just fine growing in close proximity. Even larger varieties such as Thuja Green Giants are able to grow just 6 feet apart, ensuring that you have thick, lush coverage throughout your entire living privacy screen. You can plant Emerald Green Thujas and other smaller trees even closer together, leaving them 3 feet or so apart to create a smooth and uniform appearance.
It can be difficult to plant your privacy wall in one even row because chances are, not every tree will line up perfectly. This is a particular concern if you end up having to replace any trees at a later date, which can give your privacy screen an uneven appearance. Instead of planting in a single row, you may want to consider a safer alternative design. Cluster planting creates a thicker and more natural-looking screen, while planting in staggered rows offers even and unbroken coverage for your garden.
Caring for Privacy Trees
Soil quality is the foundation of a beautiful garden, and it’s vital for the unhindered growth of your privacy trees. You can test your soil to learn about its quality, including nutrient composition and pH. With this knowledge, it’s easy to choose the perfect fertilizer to help your privacy wall thrive. Once your trees mature, they’ll need access to plenty of water and full or partial sunlight each day to stay green and healthy.
Our Recommendation: Brighter Blooms Leyland Cypress Trees
The Leyland cypress is a visually appealing, low-maintenance tree that provides plenty of privacy for large outdoor spaces. Brighter Blooms Leyland Cypress Trees are a fast-growing evergreen that can form a thick, lush privacy screen around your garden. With proper care, these trees can grow to a height of 60 to 70 feet and a width of 15 to 25 feet. Despite their impressive size, you can plant these Leyland cypress Trees as close as 6 feet apart when creating your privacy wall.
As a cross between the Nootka and Monterey cypress, this variety of privacy tree is incredibly hardy and boasts the ability to grow in pretty much any soil conditions. It thrives in full sun and cool temperatures, and also at high altitudes. The tree’s dense foliage is an attractive blue-green color that stays vibrant throughout the year and offers protection from wind, noise, weather, and curious neighbors