We’ve all heard of “love thy neighbor,” but what if their prying eyes pierce into your backyard all the time? Chilling in your PJs or having barbecues in the yard can get rather uncomfortable.
While homeowners may find installing a privacy fence too expensive for a barrier, trees can help protect your privacy by acting as a living fence. What’s more, the trees will beautify your backyard while simultaneously shielding your privacy!
Privacy trees are not just pocket-friendly but environment-friendly as well. Having too many trees around you is never a bad thing. Let us dive right in and look at the best trees for backyard privacy and other important things to keep in mind.
What To Consider Before Planting Privacy Trees
A lot of different factors need to be considered while you plant privacy trees. Here are some significant considerations to keep in mind before planting the best trees for backyard privacy. These features distinguish privacy trees from regular trees.
1. Yard Area
The size of your yard plays a crucial role in determining which trees you should plant. Trees require a sufficient amount of area to grow. Without the necessary space, they may grow skewed and be ineffective as privacy screens.
The roots of the tree can also affect some architectural elements of your house property, such as pavements. It is best to be careful when you plant these trees and ensure they have enough space to grow.
2. Maintenance Time
Trees and shrubs require plenty of care and maintenance for healthy growth. Shrubs need to be pruned, while trees need trimming on a regular basis.
You should set aside some time for the maintenance of your plants and ensure that they grow well. If you do not have enough time for gardening, pick plants that require minimal attention and thrive even without constant care.
3. Privacy Level
The amount of privacy you want also influences the kind of trees that you should plant. When a tree reaches maturity, it has a different width and height from when you initially plant it.
Be aware of what your tree will look like when it matures. Invest in trees that will give your desired degree of privacy without crowding your backyard.
Since privacy isn’t a seasonal requirement, even the trees you are planting should not be seasonal trees. It is recommended to pick an evergreen tree variety that remains green and dense all year round.
These privacy trees are going to change the way your yard looks. They will also take up a considerable amount of area and become a distinct feature of your house.
You do not want to plant ill-looking trees that change the look of your home with their ugly shapes and needles. Invest in plants that create beautiful foliage.
Use shrubs or other plants to create a more natural-looking living fence. They will add texture to the privacy trees and beautify your yard.
If you wish to shut off your neighbor’s view, your trees need to have a decent height. Pay attention to the height till which you want privacy, and find trees that grow a little taller than that upon maturity.
The standard privacy screen height is about 6 to 8 feet. Many homeowners prefer even taller trees.
7. Can Be Closely Planted
The primary purpose of a privacy screen is to ensure a kind of privacy fence around the yard. Trees that don’t thrive so close to other greens are not fit for this purpose.
Look for trees that prosper in dense plantings. They will lead to thick and bushy privacy trees.
8. Growing Time
If you’re planting trees for privacy, you don’t have the time to wait for trees that take almost a decade to reach their maturity. Always pick trees that can quickly blossom into a privacy screen.
Best Trees For Backyard Privacy
Let us look at some of the best privacy trees to plant in your backyard. They are known and trusted to be used as privacy screens.
1. Green Giant Thuja (Arborvitae)
Arborvitae is one of the most popular picks for privacy trees. They have been used for this purpose for decades. The Green Giant Thuja trees offer deep green foliage and are fit for hardy conditions as well. They can survive temperatures as low as -40°F.
With a height between 20 the 30 feet and a width of almost 10 feet, these trees are ideal for medium-sized yards. They grow quickly in contrast to other trees. You can also use these trees to accompany any pre-existing fence line.
They are evergreen trees that form grow into a conical shape while providing a thick shrubbery. They do not lose their beautiful color despite the weather and stay green all year round.
Maintaining these Thuja trees is not a very challenging task. They require very little pruning. They grow uniformly with an annual increase of 3 to 5 feet in height. You simply need to trip the tops of the trees for a classic look. If you like to keep it natural, trimming is not necessary.
In ideal growing conditions, these trees live up to 40 years. They should receive up to four hours of sunlight daily. Be careful with the watering, and do not let the soil get soggy.
2. Leyland Cypress
These trees are a prevalent choice for use in a privacy screen as they grow pretty fast in comparison to other trees. They can increase by almost 3 to 4 feet every year.
Leyland Cypress trees are evergreens and have dense feathery branches. They sport a lovely green color that is sure to beautify your garden. When it comes to hardiness, they can thrive in conditions going down to -10°F.
These trees grow as huge as 60 feet in height and 10 feet in width. They do a great job of blocking out prying eyes and protecting your privacy. They also look great along existing fence lines. The best time to plant these trees is during mid-fall. They have a shallow and non-invasive root system. They require at least six hours of sun every day.
Leyland Cypress has a high tolerance to salt, making it ideal for coastal areas. However, their shallow root systems make them unfit for hot summers. They are also susceptible to root rot. These trees thrive in well-drained soil. They require mild to moderate temperature highs to grow well.
The trees provide full coverage to yards and create an impenetrable mass of branches that shield against wind, snow, and often street noise as well. They are tough enough to handle pests, pollution, and droughts.
3. Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus Virginiana)
Red Cedar trees are a fantastic choice that can survive harsh winters going down to -50°F. They are native across a significant part of Eastern Noth America. They have dense growth and provide full coverage.
Their thick and wide foliage makes them an ideal choice for homeowners. Upon maturity, their height is anywhere between 40 to 60 feet tall. Their maximum width is a whopping 20 feet, making them excellent privacy trees.
Eastern Red Cedar trees should be planted at a gap of 8 feet from each other for an ideal privacy screen. It would be best to plant them at least 20 feet away from neighboring homes or power lines.
They are an evergreen tree variety that will protect your privacy all year round. The aromatic wood will fill your yard with an earthy fragrance. These trees also attract birds and other forms of wildlife.
The tree has prickly foliage and is not liked by deers. They also keep out pollution. Moreover, these trees can withstand drought, cold, and sun exposure.
These trees can tolerate alkaline soil, dry soil, and even wet, swampy land. They are also undisturbed by extreme winds. Their soil tolerance makes them fit for coastal areas as well.
4. Concolor Fir (Abies Concolor)
Concolor Fir is an evergreen variety of trees. These trees sport blue-gray needles that are soft and chubby. They are an excellent choice for yard privacy.
These trees are pretty low maintenance. They feature a conical shape that does not need any pruning. They can withstand strong winter conditions, as extreme as -40°F. Their needles have a citrus or orange odor when crushed.
Concolor Fir tree grows up to 40 feet tall and 20 feet wide. They have a moderate growth rate and are great for large properties. They prefer plenty of sun exposure. While they are lovely for landscaping, they might need some protection on windy sites.
They are drought-resistant and thrive in rich, well-drained soils. You should keep them away from heavy clay and wet spots, such as over-irrigated lawns.
Their oblong cones remain upright and can be found in many different colors, from yellow-green to purple. They have a smooth grey bark that can sometimes develop flattened scales and deep furrows. They make great privacy screens.
5. Emerald Green Thuja
Another one of the Arborvitae varieties, the Emerland Green Thuja. It is a smaller variety of the Green Giant Thuja. They are excellent trees for privacy in yards.
The maturity height of the Emerland Green Thuja is generally 12 to 14 feet. It can reach a maximum height of 15 feet tall, and the width is usually around 4 feet. They grow at a rate of 6 to 9 inches annually. Trimming and maintaining these trees is quite simple owing to this modest growth rate.
The height of these Arborvitae is ideal for protecting your privacy from nosy neighbors and blocking any street noise. Furthermore, their pyramidal shape makes them one of the best trees for privacy. They have rich green foliage and do not need to be pruned.
The trees don’t lose their glossy green color even in the winters. While they thrive in heat and humidity, they can also tolerate dry spells. They are evergreens that need adequate sun exposure and regular watering.
These trees are insect resistant and disease resistant. They prefer loamy and well-drained soil with a neutral to alkaline pH level. While they do not require pruning, it is advised to trim the branches to encourage denser growth.
6. Hybrid Willow Tree
The hybrid willow tree is one of the fast-growing trees in the world, with a growth rate of 6 to 12 feet per year. This awesome privacy tree reaches its mature height in just 5 years.
This is a disease-resistant plant and can grow well in a cold atmosphere. Furthermore, their dense foliage makes them amazing windbreak trees. The hybrid willow requires ample water and can withstand periods of drought if maintained well.
These trees are perfect for large and mid-sized yards, but it is essential to plant them at the correct distance. If they are placed incorrectly, they can reach a towering height of 75 feet. In addition, you need to ensure that you plant them 5 feet apart to create an instant privacy hedge. If you give them the right environment, they can reach a height of 15 feet in the very first year.
They are easy to maintain and can survive for 70 years if taken care of. Moreover, these amazing trees offer privacy and are great for erosion control, producing oxygen, and filtering the air in the house. Plus, they are deer resistant.
These winter interests hearty are perfect for growing in all growing zones. Having a width of 20 feet, these hybrid are amazing at adding cooling shade to your house.
7. Sky Pencil Holly
Are you looking for trees and shrubs that can provide you privacy by just occupying a little space? The Sky Pencil Holly is the perfect privacy tree for the homeowners.
The maturity height of the Sky Pencil Holly tree is generally 8 feet. It can reach a maximum height of 10 feet, and its width is usually around 2 feet. Plus, they can survive in partial sunlight with a minimum of 3 hours of sunlight each day.
The Sky Pencil Holly comprises small oval green leaves that will keep your place green all around the year. However, during heavy snow, it will be better to wire them up to prevent splits.
These plants can survive in-ground as well as in decorative containers. The flora of these trees is soft to touch, making them an excellent choice for privacy on patios and small backyards. These are evergreens plants; hence they are prone to rot root if overwatered. Therefore, it is essential to offer them a well-drained condition.
These plants are perfect for space-saving privacy fences and also offer solid protection from wind, noise, or wandering eyes of your neighbors. However, it is necessary to keep your pets away from these plants. The leaves of Japanese sky pencil are mildly poisonous and can cause vomiting and diarrhea on consumption.
8. Goldspire Ginkgo
For privacy trees that are not just functional but beautiful, too, you can line up your yard with Goldspire Ginko. These trees and shrubs will enhance the beauty of your backyard.
These Golden Gingko have a narrow unique pyramid shape with deep green leaves during the summers and mesmerizing golden hues in fall. The plant is smog resistant and is perfect for a mid-sized backyard.
The mature height of these is 14 to 16 feet, and its width is 5 to 6 feet. The plant can grow as fast as 1 to 2 feet yearly. At the time of shipping, the height of the tree is approximately 2-3′.
The Golden Ginkgo are pretty low maintenance and can sustain a variety of climate conditions. However, you need to ensure you do not confuse yourself with its cousin, the Gingko. Ginkgos are the fruit trees, but their berries smell awful. Whereas the Golden Ginkgo does not have any pungent smell and is specially bred for smaller structures.
While you plant your Ginko, you need to take care of few aspects. First, the settling in deep and second, the well-draining soil with full to partial sunlight. These ancient species are widely known for being resistant to pests, diseases, and wildlife such as deer.
9. Japnese False Cypress (Chamaecyparis Pisifera)
As the name suggests, the plant is native to Japan and is a genus of conifer in the cypress family. It is native to Eastern Asia and western Eastern North America.
This is a low-maintenance tree and requires no pruning. Plus, you can find a lot of variety of these plants with blue-, silver- and yellow-colored flora. Most varieties of these plants are hardy to -30 degrees F, making them an excellent plant for screening. The false cypress is a medium to large evergreens shrub for the United States zones (4-8).
These plants are feathery and soft. If grown in the wild, the plant can reach a height of 70 feet, with a width of 20-30 feet. Whereas shorter cultivators top out at just 6 feet, it is suggested not to use Mop types as they are too short for privacy settings.
The plants grow best in a moist and well-drained environment. Moreover, they need full sun to grow. It is better to grow false cypress in a natural form rather than pruned unless using them for a hedge.
10. Eastern White Pine (Pinus Strobus)
One of the fastest-growing privacy plants is Eastern White Pine, with a rate of 24 feet a year. It is an evergreen tree that aids in keeping your backyard fresh through the year.
If given the right conditions, it can grow to a height of 50-80 feet along with 20-40 feet spread in the landscape. The white pine is a great option for all landowners who do not like high maintenance privacy trees.
The pines are ideal to be grown on the property line as they are excellent at blocking out a massive view. They are tolerant of city pollution and bear elongated cones, making themselves ideal for screening.
These privacy trees are hardy with clusters of soft blue-green needled. Although, it is best grown in acidic and moist soil. But is well-known to thrive in all types of conditions from dry to rocky to bogs.
Our yards need just as much privacy as the inside of our homes. After all, nobody wants people to peep into their personal time. If you don’t want to spend on installing and maintaining a fence, you can use privacy trees along your property lines.
A privacy tree can block out not just your neighbors but even noise pollution and air pollution. While selecting the perfect tree, look at all the essential considerations and make an informed decision.
Privacy trees are an outstanding eco-friendly solution to fencing without spending copious amounts of money. We hope this guide helps you in picking out the best trees for your yards.
James Fields is the founder of Gardener to Farmer. His passion for gardening goes back to his childhood days when he would visit his grandfather during the holidays and help him with the plants in the backyard. This has now translated to creating a dependable resource for gardening.