Planning What You Want from Your Privacy Plants

Privacy plants can have many purposes. They can cover an unsightly fence, divide an area in your yard to give you privacy from your neighbors or to hide your own view from a neighbor’s yard. With the right planning, it can be a beautiful addition to your yard.

Speed of Growth

One of the first things to consider is how fast you need to develop this wall of privacy. Some plants grow quickly but usually need more maintenance to keep trimmed.

Height and Area of Growth

Another item to consider is the how wide of an area you are willing to give the plant. Some grow narrow and tall where others become wide and thick, but do not grow to large heights.

If you have a narrow path along the area it will be better for a plant that grows tall and thin, such as an Italian Cypress. To hide a fence, add to a perimeter around the property or divide an area to show some type of boundary, a hedge will do well.

Types of Plants

There are two main classifications to these types of plants: deciduous and evergreen. A deciduous plant loses its leaves yearly, mostly in the winter months. If you want to maintain the privacy year round, the bare leaves can be a problem. An evergreen  keeps it foliage all year. As new growth occurs the old growth will fall off.

Decorative Growth

There are other types of privacy plants that are in the vine category and need a structure to attach itself, such as a trellis. If you’re planning to just divide an area in your yard, an arched trellis or a lattice partition covered in ivy is an attractive addition. Over time, this ivy will need to be cut back, or it will grow on everything nearby.


There is also a danger using some of these types of plants. Many of these plants develop strong and sometimes shallow root systems. If planted too close to a driveway, a wall or even a home, the roots can destroy the structure by lifting the driveway or cracking underground footings and basement walls.


Many of these plants need maintenance, including trimming and pruning. If you’re planning to use these plants to create a privacy screen from your neighbor’s yard, some of this maintenance might have to be done from your neighbor’s side. It is best if you discuss this situation with your neighbor and have an understanding of your plans.  There is an old saying “good fences make good neighbors,” but when this fence is growing onto your neighbor’s property or destroying his driveway, it can be tricky.