Privacy is a big concern in our gardens. While we love our neighbors (ok, we hope to be lucky enough to love our neighbors), having that private space when you are outside is important to what a garden is all about. None of us want to build a ten foot wall all around our property. Fortunately, there is a better way. Privacy with plants!

Using plants to create privacy is not only a friendly way to keep out prying eyes of passers-by, it also makes your garden space more green! And who doesn’t want more green in a garden?  Plants can be used in the ground or in movable containers, or can be trained to grow up and over a structure. Use fast growing evergreens for year round privacy. Or, use a plant that drops it’s leaves in the winter and let’s in all that light. (Are you really gonna be out by the pool then anyway?)) Think ornamental grasses or climbing vines, trees, outdoor bamboo or shrub hedges. Whatever the privacy needs are for your space, there is a plant that can provide it!

Privacy with Plants

Privacy with Plants

Trees – Best Plants for Privacy

This plant privacy idea from ‘Ivy Clad‘ is using the technique of “pleaching”. Apparently around since ancient times, pleaching involves weaving the overhead branches of plants together so that they form one unit. This is great for keeping the feeling of the garden open, yet blocking off unsightly views at eye level. Plus, it just looks so cool. ;)

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Evergreen Shrubs for Privacy

Want an evergreen choice that doesn’t look like a Christmas tree? Try “Dwarf English Laurel”, like in this photo from ‘The Tree Center‘. Glossy green shrubs like these grow in a tight and dense form, giving you complete privacy, with plants. Ask at your local nursery for a broad leaf evergreen fast growing privacy shrub that grows 4-6 feet tall that works well in your area.

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Privacy Plants in Pots

A lot of us love bamboo, but it can be a lot of maintenance if you plant it in the ground. Many kinds spread out of control very quickly. You can remedy that by only planting clumping outdoor bamboo, (check the nursery tag) or better yet, plant it in pots. It makes a light and airy plant privacy screen that can be moved where needed. We couldn’t find a source for this photo, so if you know where it’s from, please email us!

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Planting Bamboo for Privacy

So if you want to be bold and plant bamboo in the ground, as long as you do it right, you will be rewarded with a beautiful bamboo privacy screen / hedge, that can be absolutely gorgeous! This photo is courtesy of ‘Houzz‘.

Privacy Fence Plants

This photo below, is a great example of using a hedge row of ornamental grass as a “privacy with plants” solution. Photo from ‘Knibb Design‘.

Privacy with Plants-1

Flowering Plants for Privacy

From ‘Hometalk‘, this flowering privacy wall was installed by a contractor, but there are plenty of “Living Wall” planter products available that would make a version of this DIY’able. Keep in mind, depending on where you live and what flower you plant, this wall may only be pretty 3 seasons a year.

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Using Fruit Trees for Screening

From ‘Botanical Events‘, these fruit trees have been espaliered onto a trellis in planters for a really gorgeous privacy plant screen that is edible! I imagine the blossoms on these trees smell (and look!) heavenly in the spring as well.

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Arborvitae as Screening Plants

In the western U.S., one of the most common evergreen shrubs is the emerald green ‘Arborvitae’. Why? Because they make excellent year round privacy screening plants. Plant a hedge of them along a property line, or group 3-5 in a corner. This will help to block off a less than desirable element in the neighbors yard. Photo by ‘Old Heritage Garden Center‘.

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Tall Plants for Privacy, in Pots

Modern plants can be used for privacy with plants as well. These horsetail plants have been around since the dawn of time, and make a great architectural statement in the garden. Photo by Lori Brookes.

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Privacy Screen with Plants

This vertical garden plant privacy screen from ‘Balcony of Dreams‘ is created inexpensively with garden netting and climbing plants. Great for urban areas as the plants are in pots and offer greenery to all the neighboring families.

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Using Ivy for Privacy

Another option for climbing privacy plants is to use the evergreen English ivy. These living fences from ‘Impact Plants‘ give you year round privacy screens with an English garden look.

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If you are inspired by these ideas for Privacy with Plants, then you will love our posts on DIY Fence Ideas and How to Hide Ugly Outdoor Eyesores over at our sister site, OhMeOhMy! And don’t forget to join our Home & Garden DIY Facebook group and our Pinterest page so you see right away when we post new ideas and advice!

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  1. Josie O August 22, 2020 at 1:50 am

    i know this is an older post but i’m desperate because we are in a rental row house and have to be careful not to do something too permanent. The landlord removed the hedge and tried planting 3 baby trees that aren’t working. all the neighbors behind our house in apartment bldgs look at us daily and dog walkers always stop at our yard to pause and glance and take their breaks. Sigh… I need something quick, 6 ft or taller, but not permanent. I would also like something that will last all seasons. I’m thinking adding trees in pots perhaps. I think bamboo wouldn’t last the winter Germany Zone 8b. Suggestions? Thanks and great article.

    1. Kathy Bates January 24, 2021 at 4:51 pm

      There should be some bamboo that is hardy enough in your zone! I think bamboo in pots would be great for this purpose. Might not be cheap however.

  2. blogger May 10, 2020 at 2:01 am


    Excellent suggestions!

  3. Perfect Plants March 19, 2019 at 12:54 pm

    Thujas are our #1 choice for landscaping using privacy trees. They grow up to 3-5 feet per year and can provide privacy fast!

  4. Judith February 8, 2019 at 7:00 am

    Hi from across the pond! This is a very good and useful post but please be careful with laurel. You need to keep it clipped really tightly. I planted one – just one – that my father-in-law gave me. I didn’t really want it but he was so pleased to have grown it from a cutting I just planted it anyway. I was then diagnosed with a rather nasty illness – RA – and could not get into the garden for a very long time, several years in fact. I just forgot about it and it has now tried to take over the garden and the world! It is HUGE and nothing grows underneath it. Now I am feeling better I am in the garden again but I don’t have the heart to remove it because the foxes and badgers that inhabit my garden shelter under it in bad weather. I think I will just have to leave it where it is but take cuttings to grow a proper hedge, which should not take long as it grows so quickly.

  5. Deepika April 25, 2018 at 3:04 am

    Great content and amazing ideas. We should grow plants for better living in future. This will help us to avoid artificial things and grow more plants.

  6. SR July 14, 2017 at 5:30 am

    Please make your readers aware that, even in unwatered areas and pots, the English Ivy is super agressive and fast growing. They will be cutting it back on a monthly schedule to maintain the desired flatness. And, it will twist and crack any wood lattice you put up for it to grow on. Stick to wire and pipe or some kind of metal frame. In 10 years, one small plant placed near the fence of my rental property has spread from the back, over 50 feet to the front of house, despite regular trimming every few months. In order to get rid of it, I have to pull down the fence and replace it.

    1. Karen December 28, 2017 at 10:33 am

      English Ivy is highly invasive and should be avoided. It is taking over my property and is extremely difficult to get rid of.

      1. Dale January 28, 2018 at 10:38 pm

        It’s invasive in pots?

        1. Judith February 8, 2019 at 7:02 am

          No, not in pots. Just keep it trimmed well.

      2. Judith February 8, 2019 at 7:13 am

        Hi. I have found this trick to be useful in dealing with ivy and would like to share it.
        I had ivy growing all over the garden and also up trees. I had one ash tree that I thought would come down because of the weight of the ivy growing up it. What I did was to go around the tree, about 10′ up (I stood on a Cornish hedge), with a pair of hefty loppers and cut large chunks out of the stems. I suppose I took out 1′ lengths so that there was no chance that the cut edges would meet. Then I pulled out some of the bits I could reach but otherwise just left well alone. It took several months but the ivy died off above the cuts and over the winter it gradually just fell off the tree, helped by the winter winds. The stuff that was left below the cuts I just attacked with weed killer. I didn’t like using it but the ivy was making the wall bulge out and I was afraid it would collapse so it was the lesser of the two evils. That was years ago and it still has not regrown properly, even though I could not go into the garden through illness for a long time. I hope this helps.

  7. Sonya Choate June 3, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    Do your homework on photinia, we planted three to groom and they looked good for 5-6 years. They flower in spring, then drop. It’s a mess. We haven taken 2 out after about 8 years because of disease. The third needs to come out but it has made it 26 years. Hope this helps.

  8. Tanaka June 2, 2017 at 4:35 am

    Let’s plant clover for may bee coming.

  9. karol May 25, 2017 at 6:04 pm

    Awesome post. I am researching things about gardening because I want climbinplants on my little balcony but I don’t even know how to keep them alive and very green! Anyway, i loved this blog! :)

  10. George Domb May 20, 2017 at 7:12 pm

    I notice there is no mention of Photinia. I am developing a line of them next to my driveway to hide the neighbor’s driveway and open garage area. When I bought the house they were pretty stumpy because the deer had gotten to them. I have covered them about a year ago with deer fence netting and it’s working out great.

  11. Janela Barnes March 26, 2017 at 11:22 am

    This is a great help in our situation! We have an acre, but only want to use 1/4 of it as our backyard. Building a raised bed with fencing on top all around to start, so some of the plant suggestions are super! Thanks!

  12. Jan March 10, 2017 at 8:33 pm

    The English ivy wall… Could morning glory be planted to grow on a wall of the ivy or would the ivy just kill the morning glory I made a wall of morning glory once pretty flowers and great looking wall for summer then dead vines all over intwined in my fence in the fall

    1. Kathy Woodard March 20, 2017 at 4:58 pm

      Since morning glories are annuals in most climates, I think they could dress us an ivy wall really well… But you are right, when they die back in the winter, they will eventually have to be pulled down.

  13. Rose March 7, 2017 at 9:33 pm

    It looks like Miscanthus sinensis ‘Gracillimus’ without the blooms. It grows 4 – 7 feet tall and has thin grass blades.

  14. Chris Shoop February 25, 2017 at 6:09 am

    Help! Suggestions for one that will survive the weather in Lubbock, TX, please: hot and dry and some snow in winter. Thank you.

    1. Kathy Woodard March 7, 2017 at 4:44 pm

      Hi Chris,
      Several of these will do fine for you in your area, but the Miscanthus grass (first photo) would be my top pick for you! Hope that helps!

  15. Karen Gregory February 22, 2017 at 5:07 am

    Since no one will give us an answer on the whispy type grass, another option would be
    ” Mexican Petunia’s”, the only difference is they have a dark purple/brown stalk the plant stalk looks and grows just like this green plant in the planters, however Mexican Petunias have foliage and flower year round here in Georgia, especially if fertilized monthly, just not as many blooms without fertilizer, they have sworded shape leaves( dense) and they produce small quarter size purple blooms that tend to close up at dusk and re-open in the mornings, they do multiple, if protected from frost they will survive and if you don’t cut off anything other than necessary they will keep growing taller and pretty fast. A great yard plant to hide those ugly electrical boxes and a great idea for this same concept in garden pots, think I will try it just bought four yesterday at Home Depot for another project but I think I just changed my mind.

    1. Kathy Woodard March 7, 2017 at 4:47 pm

      Actually, I did guess at ‘Miscanthus’grass in someones else’s comment earlier, but thank you for the suggestion!

    2. Vicky July 3, 2017 at 9:42 pm

      Mexican Petunias are gorgeous in my backyard in North Central Florida! They do make a great privacy screen, and the flowers are so lovely against the dark green leaves. New blooms appear each morning, replacing spent ones. These plants will spread on their own, so you never need to buy more, and they are well-behaved in planters, too. I have some growing in my wheelbarrow, waiting for me to pick a spot in the yard to plant them. They’re so pretty in the yellow wheelbarrow that I’m having a hard time choosing to take them out! I do not have a “green thumb”, so these plants have really impressed me with their willingness to forgive, and grow quickly to make a delightful screen. Also, I have discovered that hummingbird moths like them!

  16. Dee February 18, 2017 at 4:26 pm

    BEST one of them all: The English Ivy Fence!!! I can see this as being a nice permanent and affordable fence in a very windy area… We have very strong winds at our house (sometimes daily at 35 miles per hour…) from fall to early spring, then it dies down over the summer… but I always worry about putting up a much needed privacy fence, because I see it as being tipped or blown down over time by these winds! I also think that simply installing posts and stapling the wire grid fencing to these posts will be very cost effective and much cheaper than the other fencing options we have available to us… ALSO, VERY LOW MAINTENANCE!!!!! No cleaning or painting (unless you decide to paint the posts, which I think I will paint mine a neutral white and cap them with bird houses, solar lights and decorative caps alternating….) We could easily do a living hedge, but some areas are narrow with other trees planted… I started by planting Nelly Stevens Holly, but it is taking forever to grow, and it was supposed to be a fast grower! I have been living here for over 3 years and I want privacy now… so, I showed this to my husband and he likes it, so it is a go!!!

  17. Julie January 30, 2017 at 4:33 pm

    I too would love to know the name of the big, soft, whisky grass at the beginning of this article. I love it!

    1. Julie January 30, 2017 at 4:33 pm


  18. Robin January 29, 2017 at 6:48 pm

    Which one of these would be good for a fully shaded area?

    1. Kathy Woodard February 7, 2017 at 1:39 pm

      Both English Laurel and English Ivy would work well in the shade, though the Laurel would prefer at least some sun or a partially shaded area. Ask at your local nursery for ideas for shade that grow well in your area. Hope that helps!

      1. Jennie March 9, 2017 at 4:42 am

        I have this English ivy and don’t want it, it wasn’t taken care of at the place we bought. How can I get rid of it, it’s killing my trees and I have no lawn

        1. Kathy Woodard April 17, 2017 at 3:20 pm

          Ivy can be tough to kill, I would think Round Up judiciously applied would work!

          1. Lynn June 12, 2017 at 6:02 pm

            Round-up is poison and legal suits are pending about causing cancer! Do you really wAnt your kids rolling in poison get straight!

          2. Kathy sturrock July 18, 2017 at 1:01 pm

            Nothing works on ivy but old fashioned hand pulling. The goats were cute, but “not hungry”. The poisons were ineffective. The flamethrower didn’t work either. I rolled it into carpets, but it’s slow going. It should be illegal…

      2. Kathy sturrock July 18, 2017 at 12:50 pm

        Better hope the ivy doesn’t escape.. it’s a nasty and hardy invasive

  19. Cash January 11, 2017 at 7:27 pm

    I also love these ideas, but hate that someone has to airbrush and doctor a photo to make me think I can do the same thing. In the espaliered fruit trees in the white planters, if you click on the photo you can see all the limes on the trees are cut in half, (really!!!). and the brown supposed pine straw or hay or whatever is airbrushed in the pot. Just show me a real picture, so I know if its possible to make it look anywhere near the picture. I have accomplished a few things from pinterest without failure, so I want to know that growing a nice privacy screen will also work…..

    1. Kathy Woodard January 24, 2017 at 4:06 pm

      We just noticed this after you pointed it out, good eye! While we wouldn’t normally want photoshopped photos, there is nothing about this photo that can’t realistically be achieved… I would rather have my limes whole, thank you very much, and anyone can put mulch into a pot… So I don’t think its misleading. However, thanks for bringing it to our attention, there are some cases where that could indeed make a big difference!

  20. Aarti January 7, 2017 at 12:13 am

    I love the idea of plants for creating screens, especially the ornamental grass. In one picture I saw some kind of weaving of the blades. How is that done I wonder.

  21. Debbie August 20, 2016 at 4:34 am

    I love the ornamental grass featured in the article ‘Privacy With Plants’. I’m just wondering what variety of grass it is?
    Love the articles you feature in The Garden Glove. I produce a newsletter for my small, local garden club (in Australia) and get many good ideas from you.

    Keep up the good work!

    1. Kathy Woodard September 7, 2016 at 3:51 pm

      I wish we knew, I would take a stab at Miscanthus just because of the size, but it looks more compact than that… Anyone have ideas?

      1. Alice Barnard March 4, 2017 at 8:07 pm

        Hard to tell without the flowers.

      2. Ginger March 14, 2017 at 9:16 am


    2. Ashling January 20, 2017 at 4:58 pm

      Ya the grass is gorgeous!!!

  22. GardenGlove Admirer August 19, 2016 at 8:29 pm

    Excellent suggestions!


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