What are the best shrubs for privacy?

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Rusty Thompson on April 12th, 2022

Privacy is a big concern in our personal lives and at our home. We all have been spending much more time at home and while we love our neighbors (ok, we hope to be that lucky!) having that private space when you are outdoors is important to what your outdoor living space is all about. Not everyone wants to build a fortress around their property. If you’re tired of being on display for all the neighbors to see, you probably want to find a way to add some privacy.

Well, we have a solution. Privacy with plants! Shrubs are a great way to shelter your home from the curious looks of passersby while adding more green to your landscape.

Below is a list of our top 6 shrubs used for privacy in landscape:

1. Sweet Viburnum

This is an evergreen shrub that grows to as much as 30 feet tall. The small flowers that come in late spring to early summer aren’t very showy but they are extremely fragrant. This is a favorite of mine for use as a hedge or privacy screen and performs very well in our climate, and thrives in sun and some part shade as well. This low-maintenance and usually pest-free shrub is a top choice for North Florida lawns.

2. Wax-Leaf Ligustrum

You will often see ligustrum used as a hedge or shrub, but it can also grow into a lovely tree with multiple trunks and dark green canopy creating an interesting architectural focus. When used as a hedge it  provides great coverage with thick lush foliage with glossy evergreen leaves. Ligustrum will need to be kept trimmed as it can grow over 20 feet tall! As a tree it can be kept manicured for a more formal shape, or it can be left to grow naturally for a more casual look.

3. Little Gem Magnolia

Although typically known as a tree, this plant is perfect for a large privacy hedge as well. Thanks to its compact growth and evergreen foliage, the Magnolia makes a handsome hedge that can rise as high as 30 feet tall!. Plant the trees several feet apart to accommodate for growth, or tighter as a hedge. Many people use Magnolia’s as a privacy screen through layering more than a planted hedge. Either way, their large green leaves do a great job of blocking views in North Florida landscapes.

4. Podocarpus 'Southern Yew'

This is an ideal shrub for privacy screens, hedges, windbreaks, or natural evergreen barriers. Plant the shrubs about 3 feet apart and trim them regularly to create a hedgerow. These shrubs are also great for narrow spaces, such as tight backyards where space is valuable, although they grow slower than the Viburnum and Ligustrum. They can also be pruned to topiaries, too!

5. Loropetalum

The textured purple foliage and attractively tiered branching pattern make this a great choice for shrub borders, and privacy hedges.These low maintenance shrubs generally require no pruning except to maintain the desired size. You can even prune your shrub into a loropetalum tree form if you wish. If you want to add color to your landscape, the loropetalum’s deep rich purple foliage holds its color all season combining colorful pink flowers in the spring. It is a great shrub for tiers and layering against greenery or variegated plants in Gainesville and Jacksonville lawns.

6. Holly

Holly is another ideal plant for hedges because of its relatively rapid growth and dense form. There are two common varieties of holly we use here at The Master’s Lawn Care.

  • Nellie R Stevens Holly is fast growing, dense, and, because it tolerates severe pruning, can be trimmed to form a rounded large shrub, Pyramid shaped tree, or hedge. The Burford holly grows up to 15 feet tall!
  • East Palatka Holly has a moderate to fast growth rate(about 1 foot per year), so if you are looking to make a hedge or screen to block unwanted views, it can do it rather quickly! The East Palatka Holly thrives in full sun or partial shade, although it's slightly less dense than other Holly varieties.

We hope that this list has inspired greener approaches to solving your landscape privacy concerns. Instead of building a fence all the way around your yard, give one (or some) of these plants a try!

If we can be of help with any of your landscape privacy design and install needs- please don't hesitate to reach out to us at (352) 378-LAWN or fill out our form at the top of the page!


landscape, Landscape Design