The Best Plants To Use As A Privacy Screen

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Some days, you just want to grill burgers in your robe.

Or lounge on the deck with your hair a mess.

And even if you love your neighbors, you don't necessarily want to watch them skim their pool or wash their dog.

Maybe you love living in the city, but the street noise interferes with your backyard chill.

You need some privacy.

best plants to use for privacy

Brick wall? Too fortress-like. Tall wooden fence? Too much work.

Plants might offer just the privacy you need.

Here's a look at some of the best plants to use for privacy, from trees to shrubs, grasses to vines.


Best Trees For Privacy


  • Swedish Aspen. This tree is hardy, great for screening and offers pretty fall color. Its rounded leaves rustle in the breeze, adding a soothing sound to your private oasis. Plus, it’s narrow, so it’s great for small spaces. And, it’s happy in cold climates. It pretty much has it all going on.
  • Evergreens are great for reducing noise and offering privacy all year long. Bonus: they also act as a snow screen.
  • In a hurry? Green Giant Arborvitae is a vigorous, fast-growing evergreen that grows as much as 3 feet per year. Its rich green foliage is resistant to wind once it’s established, and it can withstand heavy ice or snow.
  • Canadian Hemlock is a great privacy tree for picky conditions. It thrives in the cold, doesn’t mind poor soil, is happy in sun or shade. Plant a few of them together and they’ll grow into a dense privacy hedge that also offers protective winter cover for birds and small furry critters.

Best Bushes For Privacy


The best bushes for privacy are tall, but not too tall, dense, and are pretty as well as private.

Here’s a look at three winners:


  • Juniper ‘Wichita Blue’ has a beautiful blue-gray color all year long, creates a nice thick screen and will eventually grow to 15 to 25 feet tall and six to eight feet wide. No worries about deer with this shrub, but the birds will thank you — they love the silvery blue berries. If you’re anxious for privacy fast, this is a good choice. It’s a speedy grower, adding 6 to 12 inches a year.

  • North Privet creates a fast-growing hedge, growing up to 3 feet per year. Its dense, dark, glossy green foliage makes a nice backdrop for colorful annuals or perennials if you want a layered look.

  • Red Twig Dogwood is deciduous, so it’s a good choice if you’re mostly concerned about privacy for your deck or patio in the summer months, but you’ll be rewarded with its striking red twigs in the winter.  This popular shrub grows up to eight feet tall, spreads several feet wide and has pretty white flowers in the summer.

Best Grasses For Privacy


Don’t forget about ornamental grasses when pondering plants for privacy. Grasses are graceful, beautiful, fit in a narrow space and are perfect for screening a deck or patio.

Here are three favorites:


  • Zebra grass is a striking variegated grass with interesting yellow horizontal stripes. It grows about 5 to 8 feet tall and 4 to 6 feet wide. Watch for a pale pink plume to emerge in late summer.

  • Maiden grass offers great privacy with its full, fluffy growth of 5 or 6 feet tall and 4 to 5 feet wide. This clumping grass gets a bit bigger each year, so your privacy will increase with the passing seasons. It has pretty plumes, too, that start out maroon and change to a creamy silver, then brown.

  • Giant silver grass is technically known as Miscanthus Giganteus, and that “giant” part is no joke. Dare anyone to see you behind this monster grass, which forms huge clumps up to 9 feet tall and 4 feet wide. It’s big enough to hide your whole family. Soft pink plumes form in the fall.

Vines For Privacy


Vines are easy to grow on a wall, fence or trellis, offer great privacy and many sport beautiful blooms or striking fall color.

If you have a chain link fence that you want to make more private, Persian, English or Boston ivy will cover it nicely.

Here’s a look at three vigorous vines that provide quick and pretty privacy:


  • Virginia Creeper is a fast-growing vine that clings nicely to fences and walls. Bonus: the leaves turn a brilliant orange in the fall.

  • Sweet autumn clematis is a vigorous climber that grows both tall and wide. You’ll love its profusion of delicate white flowers.

  • Hops — yes, as in beer. Large leaves, interesting bright green cones on female plants, and it can climb an astonishing few inches a day until it tops out at about 25 feet.

Let Outback Help Create Your Private Oasis


At Outback Landscape, we understand your need for privacy. We're happy to stop over, take a look at your property, then suggest the best plants to use as a privacy screen to give you the secluded space you crave.

Our skills don’t stop there. We offer landscape design, construction, maintenance, irrigation and lighting services to enhance your property.

We serve residential and commercial properties in Idaho Falls, Rexburg and Pocatello, Idaho, as well as Bonneville, Madison and Bannock counties.

Call us at 208-656-3220. Or fill out the contact form to schedule a no-obligation meeting with one of our team members.

We’d love to hear from you

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