Pictures of natural privacy fences

jwstric2_2008October 8, 2008

I have found many good messages started in the forums with ideas of plants for natural fences.


Currently I have built a temporary wooden fence in my backyard for some privacy and as a place for fido. However, I am on a corner lot and thus have tons of space in my side yard (about .5 acrs) to work with. One side borders a neighbor and the other borders a side street with a lovely woods on the other side.


As like others, Im looking something fairly fast growing (doesn't have to be Thunja Green Giant fast). A mix of deciduous, evergreens, and shrubs. Something not much taller than 15-20ft, as I would still like to enjoy the view of the woods across the street. At same time, I hope to make it compact enough in the years to come so that I can remove one side of my fence and have a place for fido to play in. Any advice, especially with pictures would be great.

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dottie_in_charlotte(z7-8 NC)

I've been loving my deciduous vitex trees. They can be pruned to most any shape except column. I also have some nice column loropetalum which are only semi deciduous. The vitex has a great bloom and when the leaves drop (after first frost) they drop completely over a few days so clean-up is one time only. The loropetalum bloom in spring and then intermittently. The vitex blooms heavily in spring and if the blooms are clipped off will rebloom over and over. If not clipped, it generally has another bloom in fall(Sept) on the seasons growth. Looks like lilac and more small tree like than butterfly bush. Mine gets about 20' tall and I whack it back to 7' every fall. The loros are pretty carefree if you buy them in the trained column shape to begin with.
The vitex gives quite dense shade and if you don't trim it up from the base you should have full privacy. It looks great with 6' curly ligustrum, another column shape with dense,evergreen , non spiky foliage. Shiny in the sun and interesting to look at.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2008 at 8:54PM
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I currently have planted a hedge/screen of Curly ligustrum,( I cut off the blooms to keep it from going to seed) Hollies,
Skip Laurel, and Alta Magnolias.
So far, it is growing fairly fast and I hope it will fill the area in a few years.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2008 at 10:45PM
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jimtnc(7b Raleigh tttf)

Look at the Chindo Viburnums. They're evergreen, glossy leaves, grow fast to around 8-12' x 6-8' for full sun or partial shade settings. They really look nice. You could also go with wax myrtles or cherry laurels, but those chindos are really the ticket...ask anyone that has them.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2008 at 6:44AM
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Dibbit(z7b SC)

A mix of evergreens, deciduous and flowering/berry-producing shrubs has been used for many years, listed as a tapestry hedge. Try googling, or do a search on the Trees or Shrubs forums.

If you want this hedge to contain dogs, of whatever size or breed, be aware that it will need to be backed by a fence of some kind. Shrubs can develop bare spots at the bottoms, and dogs will crawl under to find cool dirt to lie on in the heat of the summer, never mind hunting out the birds/mice/squirrels, etc. that would make their homes and passageways in the hedge.

One of the things you need to decide is if you want to let the hedge grow naturally in its varying widths and heights, or if you want to do any pruning, whether a clipping several times a year, an annual spring "haircut", or just to take out wayward branches. The last you will probably have to do anyway, since the plants won't have read the books to see how they "should" grow, and will grow as they will. Based on that decision, you can choose plants with an eye to how wide they will mature at, as well as how tall.
If you want a dense hedge, you will have to shorten some varieties of shrubs at least once a year in the spring as it grows, to create a dense hedge with low branching. Some shrubs will do this naturally, but some will shoot out long branches, and these are better shortened to make more dense branching.

Of the above suggested plants, I would go along with any of them, possibly not the vitex, since both of mine (different cultivars) seem to be very open at the bottom, from the time they were planted, out of 1-gal. pots (but then, I don't prune them to speak of). Others would be more hollies, including winterberry (male plant needed); the Little Girl series of deciduous magnolias; camellias, clethra; other viburnums; shrub roses; loropetalums, both green and red-leaf; possibly some of the Hinoki cypress cultivars; and possibly either Thuja 'Smaragd/Emerald Beauty/Emerald Green' which seem to be the same cultivar under different names, growing to 12-15' x 2-3.5' or else 'de Groot's Spire', which will grow to 8-12' x 2-2.5'.

If you don't have one, look for a copy of the Southern living Garden Book - it has lists of suitable plants for hedging in the front, and tells which plants will grow well where.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2008 at 10:54AM
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dottie_in_charlotte(z7-8 NC)

You might want to add a couple of beautyberries if you have the room. The berries are fully colored now and just beautiful and an unexpected color this time of year.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2008 at 8:26PM
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I'm using some tall perennials to help fill in until our privacy shrubs are mature. Elephant ears start out at the ground in spring, but by mid-summer, they provide privacy under our willow and sweet bay magnolia. Brugmansia can be used, too. Of course, those aren't helpful in the winter. Ginger grows tall. Cannas can work. All of those like moisture and similar conditions and provide a tropical ambiance.

Buddliea work well and grow fast. Osmanthus fragrans is evergreen and fragrant. Clumping bamboo spreads wide in an umbrella shape (not running bamboo) very quickly.

Curly willows are smaller than the big weeping type, grow upright and quickly (just don't plant them near a septic system due to roots).

Tall ornamental grasses like miscanthus 'Cosmopolitan' work great.


Nothing planted before fall 2005:

    Bookmark   October 11, 2008 at 8:20PM
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