What to plant when privacy is a priority
A backyard oasis can feel like an even more welcoming retreat when the area is private.
Homeowners and their families often find that a backyard is most relaxing when they cannot hear or see their neighbors, and creating such an environment can be as simple as planting some privacy trees.
Fencing is an option when homeowners want to make their backyards more private. But HomeAdvisor reports that the average cost to install a privacy fence is just under $3,000, and those costs can be considerably higher depending on where homeowners live and how big a fence they need. On the other hand, privacy trees can be considerably less expensive, and homeowners can spread out those costs by planting over time, an option that's not possible when installing fencing.
When planting privacy trees, homeowners can consider these varieties that can do the job while also providing some aesthetic appeal.
The Arbor Day Foundation® notes that the emerald arborvitae is unique among arborvitaes because it maintains its green color even in the coldest months of the year. The emerald arborvitae can grow to between 10- and 15-feet-tall and spread as wide as four feet at maturity. The tree features a pyramid shape and is considered slow-growing at less than 12 inches of growth per year. Full sun and partial shade are best for this tree.
Carolina cherry laurel
Carolina cherry laurels are popular choices for privacy seekers. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center notes the trees can grow very tall and boast a pyramidal shape. The Carolina cherry laurel requires sun and thrives in moist, well-drained soils. Parents with young children should know that the leaves of this family of plants contain hydrocyanic acid and should never be eaten.
Boxwoods are renowned for their use in formal gardens. That can make them ideal for homeowners seeking a traditional garden aesthetic in their backyards. Boxwood trees can grow up to 20 feet tall, but they can vary greatly in height. Homeowners purchasing them as privacy trees should speak with their local gardening center to ensure they're getting boxwoods that will provide ample privacy. Though they still have aesthetic appeal, smaller boxwoods may only reach a foot tall. Boxwoods vary considerably in terms of their growth rate, so homeowners should inquire about this before purchasing and planting any trees.
Privets are dense privacy hedges that grow very quickly — up to three feet per year. Privets may reach 12 feet in height and spread as wide as six feet at maturity. Privets tolerate shearing well, making them ideal privacy options for those looking for a formal appearance. However, privets require full sun for uniform growth. Privets are considered invasive in many areas of North America, so homeowners should consult their local garden center before planting.
The right privacy trees can be just what homeowners need to turn their backyards into relaxing respites.