Privacy is an important consideration for any backyard. Other than privacy fencing, what are your options? The best and most beautiful way to make your landscape more private could be creating a living wall of evergreen plantings. Here are four that can improve the privacy of your Hinsdale, IL landscaping.
Arborvitae (the “tree of life”) is one of the most popular evergreen shrubs used for privacy. Spaced properly, arborvitae creates a dense wall of green, which not only creates privacy but also blocks the wind. The greenery of this fast-growing, hardy, and drought-tolerant plant is soft and remains a bright green or yellowish all year. Arborvitae generally grows upright to heights of a few feet up to 30 feet tall; today, more rounded varieties are also available. Best of all, these are aromatic shrubs with a faint cedar or lemon scent.
You can also choose from several varieties to provide exactly the mature height you want. Smaller dwarf varieties can be planted on an upper level of a terraced landscape to provide privacy without blocking out the sky, and taller varieties look absolutely stunning next to a pool or patio, giving your outdoor space the look of a luxury spa.
Hardy Bamboo Plants
Some bamboo has been known to thrive in the Illinois climate and can make for a great privacy screen. Keep in mind that this type of plant is viewed as invasive and may be difficult to control. It has such a bad reputation for invasive characteristics that some Illinois municipalities have banned “running” bamboo, which grows and spreads rapidly. If you love the look of bamboo and have it planted it in the ground, choose a “clumping” variety that grows slowly and doesn’t spread aggressively. An alternative is to have it planted in large raised planters to control its spread.
Laurel is a favorite shrub used for privacy thanks to its dense green foliage and beautiful flowers. It’s also the perfect backdrop for flowers. While there are several varieties of laurel, only a few (Mountain Laurel and Skip Laurel) are well adapted to the Hinsdale climate.
Mountain Laurel is a slow-growing shrub. This rhododendron relative loves the sun (for best results, plant it out of harsh winter winds). It grows to 6 to 8 feet tall, and features white, pink, or maroon flowers.
Skip Laurel is a type of cherry laurel (not a true laurel). Its lustrous evergreen foliage is durable, deer-resistant, and the plant does well in sun as well as partial shade. Its aromatic white flowers bloom in spring and its dark purplish cherry fruits are favorite meals for robins, bluebirds, waxwings, and other birds. Yearly pruning will not allow for the growth of flowers or fruit, however; so where possible, avoid pruning this wild bird-friendly shrub.
A very fast-growing evergreen shrub with glossy green foliage, Privet grows to 8 to 12 feet high and 4 to 6 feet wide. With some of these shrubs having a growth rate of about 2 to 3 feet per year, they can be a great option if you want to grow a privacy hedge quickly in a full-sun area.
Avoid the temptation to use spruce trees and other coniferous trees as privacy screens. This is usually not recommended because evergreen trees need a lot of space to thrive. They are also slow growing and it can take decades before saplings “grow in” to form a hedge.
Photo Credit: Unilock