There are a variety of reasons that we plant a privacy border. Customers come to us all the time looking to screen unsightly views, gain some much needed privacy, or to direct views to specific parts of their yards. You’ve invested in your home and your outdoor space and now it’s time to enjoy it without others looking in on your weekend activities.
The first solution we tend to hear is to simply put up a fence for a privacy border. In some cases, fences do work, but they come with upkeep. And quite honestly, they don’t block everything such as noise. And they don’t have the height you can get from privacy trees. Oftentimes, privacy trees are the best solution to screening and they do it in a natural, more effective way than a fence. While a privacy border with trees and shrubs may sound easy, there are many factors to consider when planning.
How much privacy do you want?
This is an important question. Are you looking to completely block views from the outside. Or do you want to have a filtered view that still lets in light and allows you to just soften views from the road or neighboring properties? Evergreens planted in a staggered row are going to give you the best coverage from sight, noise, wind, etc. While a mixed border of evergreen and deciduous trees and shrubs will give a more natural appearance, and allow filtered views of your property. So before you even begin your privacy border, think of the views you are trying to block or preserve.
How much room do you have?
When planting a privacy border, the amount of space you are willing to devote to the project will come in to play when selecting plants. Do you have a large yard in the country that you can allot a 15 foot wide raised planting berm to? Or do you have a small yard in a subdivision where space is important to you and you are only willing to give up 4 feet on the very border of your property in the name of privacy.
Again, this is where plant selection will come in. If you are short on space, then perhaps a single row of narrow evergreens will be all you can squeeze in. On the other hand, in a larger area, you have room to layer and stagger plants and mix evergreen with deciduous to get a natural looking privacy border. You need to be sure to keep an eye on maturity size in the plants because you want to space them far enough apart that they just touch at full maturity. You don’t want to plant to close or you will end up with an overcrowded, unsightly privacy border within 5 years.
Plant selection is key
As I mentioned before, all of the factors in selecting plants for your privacy border comes from the above considerations. So the plants you choose, evergreen or deciduous, narrow or wide, short or tall, comes from those factors. Not to mention that you should be mindful of the local wildlife. No one wants the arborvitae privacy border that gets pruned into q-tips by the local deer population. Also keep in mind your growing conditions. Things like sun light, soil, and planting zones will all play a part in how successful your privacy border is in the future
Here are some of my favorite screening varieties:
- Deer Resistant- Blue spruce varieties such as the ‘fat albert’; japanese cedar (cryptomeria) is a great deep green color and unique texture; green giant arborvitae is one that deer tend to stay away from as well and is a fast grower
- Great single specimen privacy border: white pines are great planted on their own, as are green giant arborvitae, leyland cypress, american holly, and hemlock
- Tight spaces- privet hedges are a great space saver, along with emerald green arborvitae, which only reach 10-15′ and can be planted as close as 2-3′ apart
- Shade- hemlock and rhododendron will thrive in filtered sunlight whereas most other evergreens need full sun to
- Deciduous plants: my favorites tend to include paniculata hydrangea varieties, ornamental grasses, ‘little king’ river birch which is a dwarf variety and stays nice and full
More tips for your privacy border:
Don’t be afraid to play around with color, texture, and size. A good privacy border often has three varieties of evergreen planted in a staggered row, in a haphazard pattern, mimicking nature’s imperfections. Step down your mature plant height so that you create a tiered effect. Combine both evergreen and deciduous plants for all year interest. Raise the bed with soil to get added height.
Privacy Planting and Landscape Design for the Madison, CT and Surrounding Areas
While a lot of landscaping companies might say that they can plant you a privacy border, it’s important that you look for a company that specializes in design, as it’s not as simple as plunking trees in a line. Plants are an investment, a big investment at that, and it is critical that your landscape company knows what they are doing. You want to feel confident that your plants will not only survive, but thrive.
At Langer Landscapes, we are not only qualified, but we go the extra step and offer a full one year warranty on plant material to offer you piece of mind. We also provide you with a detailed plant description with watering and care list so you can be confident in taking care of your new privacy border. The end result will be a well screened yard that is not only functional, but beautiful.
If you’d like to talk to us about creating privacy for your own backyard, contact us for a Free Consultation or give us a call at (860) 790-0798