Photographs courtesy of InstantHedge
Are your neighbors getting a clear view of the inside of your home? Do passers-by easily see what you're watching on television, as well as what you're eating for dinner? Does your backyard patio feel less like a private retreat and more like a public display?
Sounds like it's time for a privacy hedge! There is no better way to hide from peering eyes without blocking sunlight or your own view of your yard.
Privacy hedges need to be evergreen, tall, and dense. It can be hard to sort through all the options, so here are the top five varieties for privacy hedges, in descending order:
5. English laurel (Prunus laurocerasus)
A classic. English laurel grows fast. If you want a thick, tall privacy hedge, this is your best option. It tolerates heat, salt, and drought. It has beautiful white flowers in the spring and black fruits in the summer that are attractive to birds. Hardy in USDA Zones 6-8.
4. American arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis)
A super-hardy choice. American arborvitae is incredibly low-maintenance. It tolerates a range of soil types and thrives in urban environments. Its dark green foliage keeps things cheery even in the middle of winter. Hardy in USDA Zones 2-7.
3. Portuguese laurel (Prunus lusitanica)
A real beauty. Portuguese laurel has deep green, glossy leaves with a shape that sets it apart from the other laurels. It has red petioles to complement the green foliage, with white flowers in the spring and black fruits in the summer. It is tolerant of heat, drought, deer, and poor soils. Hardy in USDA Zones 6b-9.
2. Emerald Green arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis 'Smaragd')
The densest hedge. A well-maintained Emerald Green arborvitae hedge is a lovely sight to behold. It has beautiful, feathery, bright green foliage and grows in a tight, upright spire. You will not be able to see anything through this hedge, guaranteed. The tight habit makes it a perfect fit for small yards that can't handle any sprawl. Very low maintenance. Hardy in USDA Zones 2-7.
The popular one. The Skip laurel (also known as Schip or Schipka laurel) grows straight up to the sky with a very narrow footprint. It fills in fast with glossy dark green foliage. It is one of the few hedge varieties that do well in shade, and it has a neat, clean shape when pruned. One of the most popular hedge choices – ever. Hardy in USDA Zones 6-9.