Fast Growing, Privacy Hedge for a 'Modern' Landscape

frenderJuly 31, 2012

We are looking to plant a hedge along our property line between our retaining wall and our neighbors fence (we recently removed some ugly dated shrubs and pine trees and it has left a big gap in the yard) Our property sits higher than theirs, so the hedge will be in this ditch between their fence and our retaining wall.

We are going for a "modern" landscape design, as our house was built in the early 1970s and has a very 70s feel to it.

We would love to find something that is fast growing and provides privacy.

We live in the SF Bay Area, north bay, zone 16 and get lots of warm sunny days.

Someone recommended Waxy Leaf Privet or Lugustrum. Another option would be silver sheen pittosporum, but that might take a while to grow. Thanks for any suggestions.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Bob_B(Sunset 14, Ca.)

I grew the Silver Sheen Pittosporum in San Luis Obispo. It grew rapidly, was easily shaped, and was an all around, excellent plant. I would choose it hands down over privet, which as it ages become very woody and hard to manage; it really wants to be a tree. They are also producers of much allergen pollen.


    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 7:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jkom51(Z9 CA/Sunset 17)

You might want to ask this on the Landscaping forum. There's three extremely talented professional landscapers from the SF Bay Area who regularly contribute, and they can give very detailed recommendations for plants (including specific varieties).

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 10:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My Pittosoprum 'Silver Sheen' hedge is just 2 years old planted from 1 gallon pots and is already 6 ft. I started cutting it back a few months ago and it is getting pleasantly dense.

It seems to me like it needs frequent shearing to stay dense and not grow tree sized. Not sure if it ultimately will be bare at base or not. So far I am very pleased with it, because it is just 3 plants, so not a lot of work.

My Pittosporum tenuifolium 'Marjorie Channon' hedge is way longer and about 4 to 41/2 ft. tall also started 2 years ago (give or take a month or so) from one gallon pots. That seems like the more low maintenance one, in that it might stay dense with no or little shearing.

I am also very happy so far with Bambusa multiplex 'Alphonso-Karr', a clumping bamboo.

I have watered regularly while they are growing to desired height , but have begun to cut back on Silver Sheen to once or twice a month, here in SF Bay Area, El Sobrante.

Ceanothus is an extremely fast growing option(after the first few months of it sitting doing nothing), and much more water conserving option as well.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 11:36AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

How dense do you want it. For fast dense privacy, you can't beat plain boring Ligustrum japonicum. It's common because it's reliable. It makes a nice dark background for more interesting plants.

Prunus caroliniana is pretty dense but you need to tip-prune it to get it really dense. It's pretty fast. They get really tall after a couple of decades.

Most of the Pitts tenuifoliums are not super dense. Monrovia has a new introduction called 'Tasman Ruffles' I think that is supposed to be much more dense. Pitts are pretty fast, but not as fast as Ligustrum if watered. They can be a little fussy, and aphids, scale can be a problem. Beautiful, though.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 12:46AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks everyone, I don't think it needs to be too dense. I am worried about too much maintenance. I definitely don't want a tailored look, but I don't want it to go too "crazy" either.

A friend had recommended pittosporum tenuifolium 'variegata'. Silvery leaves contrasted with really nice dark colored bark. The regular pittosporum tenuifolium species or pittosporum eugeniodes would probably grow faster though.

Any suggestions on those?

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 8:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Sara Malone Zone 9b

The Pitt 'Silver Sheen' is a nice choice - it makes a lovely screen. You need to decide what color foliage and what size leaf - the Prunus lusitanica makes a great hedge, too, as does Myrica californica (needs more width) and both have green foliage as opposed to the lighter variegated 'Silver Sheen'. The problem with the Ligustrum (if you can stand the smell of the flowers, which I can't) is that you will have seedlings all over the place and they are vigorous and annoying. And as noted above, produce really annoying pollen.

Where in the SF Bay are you? I am in Sonoma County - if you are up here I can recommend some nurseries.


    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 10:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We have fern pine ( podocarpus) which is nice and an be sheared into any shape. The other suggestions are good too.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 9:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

If you go with podocarpus, consider Icee Blue rather than gracilis if you want a screen rather than 60 foot tall trees or sculpted rectangles. I shear my Hedgezilla three times a year to keep it under control.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 1:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Sara Malone Zone 9b

Icee Blue (Podocarpus elongatus 'Monmal') is gorgeous and is a clear blue in my Sonoma County garden. See link below to a photo, but it doesn't really do the color justice. It is mildly frost tender, but the damaged tips turn a mauvy-pink and are rather attractive. The new growth pushes quickly and so the bushes never look damaged. I have three of them as accent shrubs but a hedge would be gorgeous.

Here is a link that might be useful: Podocarpus e. 'Monmal' in landscape

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 4:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jkom51(Z9 CA/Sunset 17)

The blue podocarpus sounds gorgeous (I'm always looking for interesting shrubs, LOL) but didn't the OP want something fast? Everything I googled called this plant "slow growing".

Here is a link that might be useful: Icee Blue (Podocarpus elongatus 'Monmal')

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 4:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Sara Malone Zone 9b

Yeah, good point. It's not glacial, but no one would call it fast-growing!

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 4:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks everyone. Here is a picture of the property line we are trying to gain privacy for. Do you think that the Pitt Silver Sheen or the other varieties need "excellent" drainage? I am worried about this hedge being up against the fence and gathering all the water that drains down onto it.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 5:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Bob_B(Sunset 14, Ca.)

It does not look like you have a drainage problem. In fact, there seems to be a drop off between your property and the one below. I see no problem with using 'silver sheen'. It seems a perfect choice for the situation you picture.


    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 8:28PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Grow muscat grapes in Bay Area
Hi, I want to grow muscat grapes for eating. Could...
New House - Need Help!
Hi Everyone, I recently moved into my new home in Orange,...
Phil Arnold
Need help with privacy issues - Sunset zone 18
I have an odd side yard that is on a busy street. ...
Please Help Save the Monarch Butterflies
I posted this info to the Butterfly Garden Forum, but...
My moonflowers won't bloom!
Hi. I'm Laura and I'm pretty new to gardening but I...
Laura Casconi
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™