From fast and easy to more permanent solutions for your private garden
When it comes to privacy landscaping, there are several options to provide for those private moments you don’t want to share.
1: Annual Vines
The first and quickest option is the annual flower trellis or fence. Using something like a morning glory, you can screen off an area within a few months.
The advantage of this is that it’s fast and very inexpensive (the price of a package of morning glory seeds)
The disadvantage is that you have to start the seeds in the ground in May — and they don’t create an effective screen until some time in July because it’s going to take them 2 months to germinate and grow tall enough to give you privacy. And then they’ll last until the first frost kills them.
Note annual vines can include vegetables such as pole beans – the image below is a young Scarlet Runner pole bean – so they’ll not only give you privacy but food as well.
2: Perennial Vines
These are another option and will give you both fast growth, flowers and season long privacy.
The advantage of using perennial vines in privacy landscaping is that they should hit the top of a trellis in the first year and are relatively inexpensive to purchase from a garden center.
The disadvantage is that you need to create a sturdy support system to hold their weight and they will only give you privacy from May (or whenever they leaf out) to hard frosts.
If you’re trying to create poolside privacy, these are some of your best.
The problems with Living Privacy Landscaping Screens
As an aside, the issue with using living plants as privacy screens is one of dealing with the problems inherent in growing any living plant. Just about every plant at some time or other can experience a growth problem from insects or disease — or can die from unknown causes.
As long as you understand the potential downside, you can make living plants work for you. Always assuming your privacy is a summer -related issue.
These are some of the easiest of “big” screen systems and they do hit whatever height you need — from the 5 foot privacy hedge to tall enough to screen out the nearby condo tower.
The advantage is they’re long-lasting and work during the winter as well as summer.
The disadvantage is they’re slow-growing, of medium expense and require maintenance all summer long from watering and feeding to a yearly pruning to maintain shape (any evergreen hedge can quickly outgrow the property if left unpruned)
And yes, this image is a “little extreme” but still…
4: Woody Shrubs
These form fast (faster than evergreen) visual landscape privacy screens within a few short years and are usually in the same price range as evergreens such as cedars.
The advantage is that with good feeding and watering you can get a flowering privacy hedge into place within 3–5 years (about half the time of a good cedar hedge)
The disadvantage is that they take a lot more space if left unpruned to encourage flowering. And growth habits are not necessarily suited for heavy pruning.
Height is usually limited to 8–12 feet but this size shrub is going to be of almost equal width if left to grow unpruned. Note they only screen during the summer months when they have leaves.
This is the ultimate in privacy landscaping. You build your fence or wall at whatever height is allowed by municipal bylaws and are pretty much done with it.
Advantages of fencing is an almost instant creation of privacy that lasts year-round. It isn’t dependent on weather or plant health and depending on the materials used, the maintenance can be quite simple to non-existent.
Plants can be grown on the fences so this creates a vertical gardening area for added enjoyment and creative gardeners can use an extra wall or two in their backyard for added decoration.
The disadvantage, of course, is that this is the most-expensive option.
Creating that personal privacy landscaping option depends on your budget and how fast you want that space protected.