Textile Museum

American boxwood lines a walkway. ATTRIBUTION: Photo by Tim Evanson (Wikimedia Commons)

Cypress Tree Avenue

Cypress trees can provide ample privacy. ATTRIBUTION: Photo by Frank Schulenburg (Wikimedia Commons)


English ivy grows on a building. ATTRIBUTION: Photo by Spikebrennan (Wikimedia Commons)


Bamboo plants create a privacy screen along a fence line. ATTRIBUTION: Photo by François Obada (Wikimedia Commons)

Rose of Sharon

Rose of Sharon is ideal for summer privacy. ATTRIBUTION: Photo by Tiffany825 (Wikimedia Commons)

Living on the corner lot at one of the busiest intersections in my hometown taught me a lot about the value of privacy. As an avid gardener, I soon found the perks of using some of my favorite plants not only to beautify my home but as a source of solitude from the outside world. There are dozens of fast-growing plants that can double as privacy hedges, living fences, or attractive shields from frequented streets. Create your own backyard retreat by incorporating some of these privacy-friendly plants into your landscape design.

American Boxwood

American boxwood provides excellent privacy due to its dense evergreen foliage. The cold-hardy and drought-tolerant shrub grows to a mature height of approximately 10 to 12 feet and spans 8 to 10 feet wide. It’s both pest- and disease-resistant and is able to withstand excessive ice and snow exposure without succumbing to damage. While growing boxwood is relatively low-maintenance, the shearing or pruning of the plant can be time-consuming when grown as a hedge.


Cypress is a North American native that can grow 50 to 80 feet tall and spread 20 to 30 feet wide. This fast-growing tree is perfect for homeowners who desire mass evergreen foliage to act as a border around their property or to create a privacy screen. Be aware that growing cypress comes with a few challenges. These trees require full sun to grow well and can rapidly shed and thin if planted in the shade. While cypress is often planted close together to create a privacy screen, planting the trees too close can lead to overcrowding at maturity.

English Ivy

English ivy is an evergreen woody perennial that can be grown as a vine or a shrub. The creeping vines, which can grow up to 99 feet, can be made to climb houses, fences, trellises, and other structures, and when mature, they can produce white balls of flowers. English ivy requires rich, moist, well-drained soil and moderate to full shade. While beautiful, English ivy is well-known for its invasiveness. The rapid-growing vines can be difficult to eradicate in areas where they’re not wanted.


Bamboo is one of the fastest-growing plants in the world. Its attractive evergreen foliage offers a quick and inexpensive option for creating a privacy screen around your property’s perimeter. It can also be purchased in 10-, 20-, or even 30-foot-tall plants for an instant screen. Running bamboo is the best option for privacy, as it grows and spreads fast. Spacing between three and five feet is ideal for a dense hedge. While bamboo is an exotic privacy option, it’s also extremely invasive and can easily grow out of bounds if not controlled in containers.

Rose of Sharon

Rose of Sharon is a shrub that produces flowers of various colors. The plant grows well in full sun or shade and can reach heights of up to eight to 10 feet. Due to its ability to be shaped, Rose of Sharon makes an effective hedge or privacy border during the summer months. One problem that can occur after planting is the dropping of seeds, which can lead to additional plants in unwanted areas. However, these plants can be easily relocated to a more desirable place.