Planting Hedges as Screens

Whether you can wait years for the screen to grow in place, or need a screen right away, you have many options when planting hedges for screens. 

A Rear Terrace Leads to the Swimming Pool

A Rear Terrace Leads to the Swimming Pool

The rear terrace is framed by stone balustrades with decorative urns, leading to an inviting swimming pool. The line of the terrace is continued with the use of a linear hedge to further define the garden's spaces.

Photo by: Doug Young

Doug Young

Tools and Materials

  • Books
  • Drawing materials

Step 1: Assess your needs. 

Are you looking for a living fence for year-round privacy, or just for seasonal screening? How much maintenance can you manage? Do you want a mixture of plants with multiseason interest (flowers, changing foliage, winter color, fruit), a formal clipped hedge, or potted plants for portable screening? What is your minimum height requirement? How much money can you invest in this project?

Step 2: Assess the site. 

Evaluate the area in terms of dimensions, sun and shade exposure, soil type and drainage, and proximity to underground features such as gas and water lines. Talk to your neighbors to alert them about your intentions, and make sure the project works for them, too.

Step 3: Choosing plants. 

Once you have information about the site, you can decide what kind of plants will thrive there and meet your needs. When your desire is for immediate results, only a fence or a substantial investment in mature plants and landscaping will do the trick.

Mixed plantings of evergreen and deciduous shrubs provide interest in many seasons.

Deciduous plants provide more shade in summer but allow light to reach your yard in winter.

Fruiting trees, bushes, and vines provide snacks for you and the birds and for your neighbors.

Tall potted plants make a fast portable screen around a pool, patio, or deck.

Clumping bamboo and ornamental grasses grow quickly and lend an exotic air.

Annual vines grow quickly up a trellis. Perennial vines can climb an arbor or trellis, or soften a fence.

Tips

Excellent plants for traditional hedges include evergreens such as boxwood (Buxus), oleander (Nerium), yew (Taxus), arborvitae (Thuja), and hemlock (Tsuga). Deciduous hedge plants include Japanese barberry (Berberis), and privet (Ligustrum). Be sure to check the USDA Climate Hardiness Zone of each plant and compare it to the zone where you live.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Pruning a Hedge

No matter what type of hedge you may have in your landscape, follow these steps to keep it healthy and shaped beautifully.

Q&A: Using Vertical Plants for Privacy

Tips on which plants are a good choice for verticals.

How to Make an Outdoor Privacy Screen From PVC Pipe

Can’t hang curtains from your deck or patio? Get the look by making this portable privacy screen with PVC tubing and simple, inexpensive bedsheets. You can use any color sheets for this customizable project to complement your other outdoor decor.

Fire Pit Covers, Screens and Grates

Make the most of your fire pit with the right accessories that protect your investment and family.

Plant a Child-Friendly Garden

Even 2- and 3-year-olds can help plant their own little patch, and watch as life unfolds around them.

How to Add Curb Appeal With Colorful Walkway Plantings

Plant an inviting entry to make your house the envy of the whole neighborhood. A mixture of evergreens and annuals will mean an easy-to-maintain walkway that looks great year-round.

Choosing Plants for Arches and Pergolas

Add life to your arch or pergola with these suggestions for colorful and exotic climbing flowers.

Landscaping Plants

It’s easy to find landscaping plants and flowers that work well with your yard no matter where you live.

Q&A: Narrow Privacy Screens

Here's a tip on privacy plants.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.