Best Privacy Bushes: Top Varieties for Your Secluded Sanctuary

Best Privacy Bushes: Top Varieties for Your Secluded Sanctuary

Best Privacy Bushes 

Clumping Giant Timber Bamboo - Bambusa oldhamii

Clumping Giant Timber Bamboo, botanical name Bambusa oldhamii, is a fast-growing bamboo melding style and functionality to beautify any landscape. Native to southeast China, this bamboo is an excellent choice for tropical and Asian-themed landscape. It's a small to medium bamboo tree that features beautiful golden stems and thick growth, making it an attractive option for homeowners in search of a privacy hedge. In fact, it's one of the best choices for creating a lush living wall because of its fast growth and tropical features. The golden shoots contrast beautifully with the dark green evergreen foliage.

Clumping Giant Timber Bamboo - Bambusa oldhamii

Pacific Wax Myrtle - Myrica Californica

Pacific Wax Myrtle is a powerhouse evergreen shrub that produces glossy green foliage and small, white berries that are edible and often used medicinally. It is drought tolerant, grows quickly and has high deer resistance, making it an excellent choice for gardeners.

Pacific Wax Myrtle - Myrica californica

Waxleaf Privet (Ligustrum japonicum ‘Texanum’)

Wax Leaf Privet, botanical name Ligustrum japonicum 'Texanum', is an evergreen shrub that adapts well to most landscape styles in the Southwest, including California, Nevada, and Arizona. Originating from northern China, Korea, and Japan, this lush and compact shrub can be pruned into topiary forms, bringing a formal look to gardens across the Southwest. Wax Leaf Privet is commonly found in landscapes shaped into cones, globes or other classic forms. 

Waxleaf Privet (Ligustrum japonicum ‘Texanum’) - Pulled Nursery

Indian Laurel Fig Green Gem - Ficus Nitida Green Gem

This is a beautiful glossy, thick slightly undulating, green leaved shrub that densely forms a privacy screen. It can be kept as a low, dense hedge or even grown as a tall screen. This variety is especially resistant to thrips, and it tends to grow more densely than the regular Indian Laurel Fig.

Indian Laurel Fig Green Gem - Ficus Nitida Green Gem - Pulled Nursery

Fragrant Himalayan Champaca (Michelia champaca)

An excellent ornamental tree or tall privacy hedge that produces an abundance of extremely fragrant yellow flowers over a long season, from the middle of winter and throughout spring, nestled between handsome, large, lush, glossy, bright green leaves.

It matures to a bold, broad, upright form. A handsome specimen for any garden or privacy wall. 

Fragrant Himalayan Champaca (Michelia champaca)

John Edwards Italian Buckthorn (Rhamnus alaternus 'John Edwards')

An evergreen shrub with an adaptable growth habit, often placed as a hedge or screen. Bright green leaves are oval and glossy. Pea-sized berries ripen from green to dark red by fall. A fast growing, long lived variety.

John Edwards Italian Buckthorn (Rhamnus alaternus 'John Edwards') - Pulled Nursery

What You Need to Know About Privacy Bushes

Privacy bushes offer a natural barrier, creating secluded spaces within gardens and shielding against noise and onlookers.

These living fences are chosen for their ability to grow dense foliage, both broadleaf and coniferous, offering year-round privacy when selecting evergreen varieties.

Evergreen shrubs maintain their leaves throughout all seasons.

Examples include Arborvitae ('Green Giant'), which reaches heights of 50 to 60 feet, and Leyland Cypress, known for adding three to five feet annually.

These species are ideal for a permanent privacy screen.

On the other hand, deciduous shrubs lose their foliage in autumn, which may offer less privacy during winter months but often feature vibrant seasonal changes and flowers.

The Cherry Laurel, for instance, can grow to 35 feet, and the Oakleaf hydrangea adds visual interest with distinctive flowers and bark.

When choosing privacy bushes, consider:

  • Growth Rate & Mature Size: Fast-growing species provide privacy more quickly, but consider space and maintenance.
  • Hardiness Zone: Match the bushes to the area's climate for best growth.
  • Deciduous or Evergreen: Decide between year-round coverage or seasonal variation.

Make sure they’re planted at an appropriate distance apart to ensure they grow together into a continuous hedge without overcrowding.

Selecting the Right Species

Choosing the appropriate shrubs for privacy involves considering their growth rates, maintenance requirements, and adaptability to your climate and soil conditions.

Opt for species that not only fulfill privacy needs but also complement the garden aesthetics throughout the year.

Evergreen Shrubs for Year-Round Privacy

Evergreen shrubs provide a constant screen of lush foliage throughout the year.

Arborvitae, particularly the 'Green Giant' variety, can reach heights of 50 to 60 feet, offering a tall and dense barrier.

Similarly, the boxwood and holly are notable for their dense leaves, making them excellent choices for a living fence.

When selecting evergreens, make sure to assess the space available, as some varieties can spread significantly.

  • Common Evergreens:
    • Arborvitae
    • Boxwood
    • Holly
    • Yew

Deciduous Shrubs for Seasonal Appeal

Deciduous shrubs, such as forsythia, hydrangea, lilac, and red twig dogwood, provide seasonal color and texture to your privacy landscape.

These shrubs lose their leaves in winter but exhibit vibrant flowers and foliage during other seasons.

They require planning in terms of placement so that privacy is not compromised when the plants are bare.

  • Seasonal Deciduous Shrubs:
    • Forsythia (spring blooms)
    • Hydrangea (large summer flowers)
    • Lilac (fragrant spring flowers)
    • Red Twig Dogwood (colorful winter stems)

Fast-Growing Options for Quick Coverage

For quick coverage, select fast-growing shrubs such as the Leyland cypress or the privet.

The Leyland cypress can grow three to five feet per year under optimal conditions, while privet hedges are known for their rapid growth and dense foliage.

These options provide privacy in a short period but may require more frequent pruning to maintain shape and size.

  • Fast-Growing Shrubs:
    • Leyland Cypress
    • Privet

Special Considerations for Plant Hardiness and Climate

Plant hardiness and climate are key factors when installing privacy hedges.

Hardiness zone information ensures that the selected plants will thrive in your local conditions.

For instance, Leyland cypress is suited to USDA zones 6-10.

Also, consider the plant's tolerance to drought and its role as a windbreak, especially in harsh climate areas.

Assessing soil conditions before planting will also contribute to the health and success of the privacy shrubs.

  • Key Considerations:
    • Hardiness Zone Compatibility
    • Drought Tolerance
    • Windbreak Suitability
    • Soil Conditions

Designing Your Landscape for Privacy

When seeking to enhance the privacy of their property with a natural touch, homeowners can strategically employ bushes and shrubs to create a living fence.

Thoughtful landscape design not only secures privacy from neighbors but also adds aesthetic beauty through the inclusion of various flora such as beautyberry and viburnum.

Creating a Natural Fence

A natural fence involves selecting the right species of bushes and shrubs to form a dense barrier along the property line.

Euonymus is a versatile option, offering year-round foliage and durability.

For a taller privacy screen, Arborvitae 'Green Giant' can achieve heights of up to 60 feet.

Meanwhile, for a more compact space, the Arborvitae 'Emerald Green' maintains a moderate height of 2 to 14 feet.

These living fences provide not just privacy but also serve as windbreaks and noise barriers.

Combining Function with Aesthetics

The integration of functional plants with ornamental qualities can elevate the overall appeal of the garden space.

Shrubs like Beautyberry and Viburnum yield vibrant flowers and berries that attract wildlife and provide seasonal interest.

When planning a privacy landscape, consider the flowering season and the growth pattern of each plant to ensure that the garden retains its appeal across different seasons.

Layout Considerations for Optimum Privacy

The layout of the privacy bushes should be planned to make the most of the available space, taking into consideration the mature size and growth rate of each chosen species.

For instance, arranging the higher Viburnum at the peripheral and blending in the lower-growing Beautyberry can create a layered effect, enhancing both privacy and aesthetic charm.

Furthermore, the placement of bushes should account for their need for sunlight, soil type, and water requirements to ensure healthy growth and longevity of the living fence.

Bush Maintenance and Care

Proper maintenance and care of privacy bushes are critical for fostering thick foliage, vigorous growth, and resilience against environmental stressors.

Pruning, watering, and addressing soil fertility are fundamental aspects of bush care complemented by integrated pest and disease management.

Pruning for Health and Density

Pruning is essential for maintaining the desired shape and size of privacy bushes, encouraging dense growth, and removing dead or diseased branches.

One should prune during the plant's dormant season to invigorate spring growth.

For bushes like forsythia, pruning immediately after flowering ensures they do not lose next season's blooms.

When pruning, make strategic cuts to promote air circulation and light penetration, ultimately supporting a healthier plant.

Addressing Water and Fertility Needs

  • Watering: Regular watering is fundamental, particularly for newly planted bushes until they establish. Afterward, most mature shrubs require less frequent but deeper watering to encourage root growth, only adjusting based on the prevailing climate conditions.
  • Soil Fertility: Shrubs thrive in fertile soil enriched with organic matter.
  • Compost or a balanced, slow-release fertilizer applied in early spring fuels the growth rate and health of the bushes.

Protecting Against Pests and Diseases

An integrated approach to pest and disease control keeps shrubs robust and attractive.

One should regularly inspect bushes for signs of trouble and implement controls promptly.

Natural predators, beneficial insects, and appropriate treatment with pesticides or fungicides can deter pests and diseases.

Always choose treatments that pose the least risk to beneficial organisms and the environment.

Considering Seasonal Changes

Maintenance routines should adapt to seasonal changes to capitalize on periods of active growth and dormancy.

For example, reduce watering as bushes prepare for winter, and adjust pruning schedules for different species to preserve fall color and healthy spring growth.

Monitoring growth rate and seasonal observations helps in planning maintenance schedules effectively.

Benefits Beyond Privacy

Planting privacy bushes provides value that extends far beyond the creation of a secluded space. These shrubs contribute significantly to wildlife habitats, serve as natural windbreaks, and offer visual screening in combination with noise reduction, enhancing the overall environment.

Enhancing Wildlife Habitats

Privacy bushes such as the butterfly bush not only shield your garden from prying eyes but also support local ecosystems.

Birds and insects, including essential pollinators like bees and butterflies, are attracted to the shelter and food these plants provide.

For instance:

  • Butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii): This plant is known for attracting a variety of butterflies and other pollinators.
  • Oakleaf hydrangea: Offers dried flower heads that provide seed sources for birds in colder months.

Natural Windbreaks and Dust Barriers

Dense privacy hedges act as excellent natural windbreaks, protecting against soil erosion and property damage while also filtering dust and air pollution.

Evergreens like the Leyland Cypress and Arborvitae 'Green Giant' grow tall and thick, creating a living barrier against harsh winds.

These living windbreaks contribute to:

  • Reducing cooling costs: By lessening the wind chill near your home.
  • Protecting sensitive plants: Those in your garden which may be vulnerable to strong wind.

Visual Screening and Noise Reduction

Apart from providing privacy, these hedges serve as a form of visual screening, camouflaging unsightly views, and creating stunning green backdrops.

They also contribute to noise reduction, absorbing and blocking sound waves from traffic or neighbors.

For example:

  • Cherry Laurel: Its dense foliage not only blocks unwanted views but also muffles urban noise.
  • Arborvitae varieties: Their thick growth habit creates a quiet, tranquil outdoor space.

Common Varieties of Privacy Bushes

Privacy bushes are a favored choice for creating natural screens that add beauty while ensuring solitude.

Arborvitae is a popular evergreen with several varieties. The 'Emerald Green' has a compact growth of 2 to 14 feet tall, and the 'Green Giant' can achieve an imposing height of 50 to 60 feet.

Junipers are valued for their dense foliage and hardiness, effectively serving as privacy screens in many landscapes. Privet, with its lush, leafy appearance, fast growth, and easy pruning, is another common hedge.

Polished and refined, Boxwood hedges introduce a structured look due to their ease of shaping. Holly variants, particularly the 'English Holly' and 'American Holly', are distinguished by their prickly leaves and red berries, offering both privacy and ornamental value.

For those seeking a unique texture and foliage, Yew presents a dense, coniferous option. It is known for its adaptability and shade tolerance. Cherry Laurel also serves as a popular choice, growing up to 35 feet with attractive evergreen foliage.

Photinia x fraseri stands out with its red leaf tips which add a splash of color to privacy hedges.

Bush Height Unique Feature
Arborvitae 'Emerald Green' 2-14 ft Compact growth
Arborvitae 'Green Giant' 50-60 ft Rapid growth
Juniper Varies Dense foliage
Privet Varies Fast growth
Boxwood Varies Shapeable
English/ American Holly 15-50 ft Ornamental berries
Yew Up to 20 ft Shade tolerance
Cherry Laurel 15-35 ft Evergreen leaves
Leyland Cypress 40-60 ft Fast-growing conifer
Photinia x fraseri 10-15 ft Red leaf tips

Choosing the Right Bushes for Your Needs

When selecting the ideal bushes for privacy, one must assess specific criteria such as growth rate, mature size, and maintenance.

Growth Rate & Mature Size:

A key consideration is how quickly a bush reaches its mature size.

Bush Name Growth Rate Mature Size
Green Giant Fast Up to 60 ft tall
Emerald Green Slower 2-14 ft tall

Sun Exposure and Evergreens vs. Deciduous Shrubs:

One must also consider the sun exposure of the planting location.

Full sun to partial shade is ideal for species like the Leyland Cypress, which thrives in USDA zones 6-10. Evergreens provide year-round privacy, while deciduous shrubs offer seasonal foliage.

Landscape Integration:

For integration into the landscape, choose shrubs that complement the existing garden.

Incorporate varieties that align with the garden's design, considering factors like leaf texture, color, and the overall form of the privacy hedge.

Installation and Planting Tips

When installing privacy bushes, the initial steps lay the foundation for a healthy hedge.

Begin by selecting a location that meets the sunlight and soil requirements of your chosen species. For a continuous privacy screen, consider mature size of the bushes to determine appropriate spacing.

It's important to avoid overcrowding, which impedes growth and can lead to disease.


Dig each hole twice the width and the same depth as the root ball. This encourages the roots to expand into the surrounding soil. To facilitate root growth and reduce transplant shock, gently loosen the roots before planting.


A general guideline is to space the plants about half of their mature width apart.

This ensures they grow together to form a solid hedge, while still allowing each plant enough room to thrive.

Plant Type Suggested Spacing
Arborvitae 3-4 feet apart
Leyland Cypress 5-6 feet apart
Ninebark 6-7 feet apart

Root System:

Watering deeply after planting helps settle the soil and hydrates the root system. For the first few weeks, water regularly to assist the plants in establishing themselves.


If transplanting established shrubs, it is crucial to extract a generous amount of the root system to ensure successful transplantation.

Water thoroughly after transplanting to encourage new root development.

Incorporating a slow-release fertilizer can provide essential nutrients and promote vigorous growth.

Frequently Asked Questions

When considering privacy bushes, homeowners often have questions about growth, maintenance, and suitability for specific uses. The following FAQs address common concerns regarding the best shrubs for privacy.

What types of evergreen shrubs are recommended for creating 5 to 6-foot-tall privacy screens?

Evergreen shrubs like Boxwood and Cherry Laurel are recommended for creating privacy screens in the 5 to 6-foot height range. They maintain their foliage year-round and can be trimmed to maintain the desired height.

Which privacy bushes are considered the fastest-growing when creating a natural barrier?

The Leyland Cypress is known to be one of the fastest-growing privacy bushes, often increasing in height by three to five feet annually. It is highly effective in quickly establishing a natural barrier.

Which shrubs are best suited for maintaining privacy from neighbors and are also low-maintenance?

Shrubs such as Arborvitae and Wax Myrtle are well-suited for privacy and require minimal maintenance. They are hardy and can grow well in various conditions with little upkeep.

What plant options are available for achieving a tall, dense barrier for privacy purposes?

For a tall, dense barrier, the 'Green Giant' Arborvitae is an excellent option, as it can reach heights of 50 to 60 feet and provides a thick screen. Black Bamboo is also effective, especially when a dense screen is needed quickly.

Which plants are ideal for quickly blocking views from neighbors when planted along property lines?

The Leyland Cypress and Wax Myrtle are ideal for quickly blocking views from neighbors when planted along property lines due to their fast growth rates and dense foliage.

What are suitable bush varieties to plant along a fence for an optimal privacy screen?

Suitable bushes for planting along a fence include the Boxwood and Cherry Laurel for moderate heights. The 'Green Giant' Arborvitae or Leyland Cypress are suitable for taller screens, providing a full, dense barrier.

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