5 cat fence greenIf you live in an independent house, then privacy is a concern.

That being said, there is only so much you can do to protect your personal space from prying eyes.

Building walls is a great way to keep the privacy of your home, but, there’s other ways you can, and they are more environment friendly!

Here are a few ideas:

The White Picket Fence

A fence is an outdoor enclosure created using different materials such as wood, vinyl etc. Unlike a wall, a fence does not have a foundation.

Popular methods of fencing are:

Wood:

Advantages:

  1. Traditional way of fencing.
  2. Gives a classic appearance to the landscape.
  3. Has a large of colours and designs to choose from.
  4. Customizable even after installation.
  5. Repairs are simple and could be done with basic equipment.
  6. Maintenance is inexpensive.

Disadvantages:

  1. High chance of getting infested with termites.
  2. Prone to damage through climatic conditions such as heat, moisture etc.
  3. Maintenance though inexpensive has to be done regularly to avoid damages.

Vinyl:

Advantages:

  1. Vinyl is a synthetic resin or simply put a plastic.
  2. Has a huge variety in terms of colours, some vinyl fences can also have customised to look like wood?
  3. Unlike wood fences it does not rust, get infested with termites or warps due to climatic influences.
  4. Easy maintenance. Majority of cleaning could be done by spraying of water.
  5. It is not prone to cracks or splints.

Disadvantages:

  1. Expensive than other options of fencing.
  2. Extreme temperatures may cause the vinyl to bend.
  3. Repair is a complex process.

Plant / Vegetation Based:

  1. Plant or vegetation based fencing consists of planting rows of privacy plants, and trees as a fence to work as an outdoor enclosure.
  2. The trees or plants used for fencing are extremely low on maintenance, with a little trimming and watering one can create a full-fledged privacy fence.
  3. There are different types of plants, trees and shrubs that are cultivated for the sole purpose of fencing.
  4. Different types of trees and shrubs are used for building fences.

Why are privacy trees so popular?

  • Privacy trees are trees that are used as means of creating fences to achieve privacy and beautification of the outdoor landscape.

Most Popular Privacy Trees:

Thuja Green Giant:

  1. Grows about three to five feet a year.
  2. Available in larger sizes.
  3. Occupies little room in the yard.
  4. Drought tolerant, requires less watering.
  5. Disease and insect resistant.
  6. Evergreen with fastest growing quality.
  7. Grows in uniform shape, requires minimum pruning or maintenance.
  8. Should be planted at a distance five to six feet between two trees.
  9. Trimming once a year should be enough.

5 green stripes fenceWillow Hybrid: 

  1. Grows more than six feet a year.
  2. Weather compatible. Grows in both hot and cold climates.
  3. Has a great soil adaptability? Doesn’t require specific kind of soil.
  4. These trees should be planted five feet apart.
  5. Has moderate drought tolerance.

Leyland Cypress tree:

  1. Grows three to five feet per year.
  2. Can be pruned to desired shape.
  3. Grows in all soil types.
  4. Requires less trimming, and in case of no trimming also grows in a uniform shape.
  5. There should be a distance of almost eight feet between two trees.
  6. They have a very soft texture.

Emerald Green Thuja:

  1. It is an evergreen tree also known as Emerald Green Arborvitae.
  2. Stops growth after reaching a height of 10 feet.
  3. This helps to avoid worries about trees growing into overhead cables.
  4. It also curbs the necessity of pruning.
  5. Plant these trees at a minimum distance of three feet.
  6. Perfect for smaller yards.
  7. Does not require trimming.
  8. Survives extreme weather conditions like snow and ice.
  9. Adaptable to different soil types.
  10. Disease resistant.
  11. It’s the most popular quick growing privacy hedges.

Italian Cypress:

  1. Grows about two to three feet a year.
  2. Grows in an elegant fashion as a narrow column.
  3. Drought tolerant, requires less to no water.
  4. Provides a thick foliage with a smooth texture.
  5. Mostly used by architects to beautify properties.
  6. Significantly increases property values.
  7. Immune to weather changes.
  8. Can grow in every type of soil.

Juniper Skyrocket:

  1. Grows about fifteen feet tall.
  2. One of the tallest amongst privacy trees.
  3. Extremely drought resistant.
  4. Insects and pest resistant.
  5. Grows about a foot a year.
  6. Has narrower base which makes it ideal for urban spaces.
  7. The blue – green colour of this tree makes it stand out from other trees.
  8. The colour remains intact without fading the whole year maintaining the tree’s attractiveness.
  9. Extreme height also helps in creating wind breaks.

Criteria Radicans:

  1. Grows at a rate of three to four feet a year.
  2. They are extremely large trees growing up to a height of forty-fivefeet.
  3. Has a large foliage spread.
  4. These trees are beautiful and have a very smooth also feathery texture.
  5. After it is established it grows its drought resistance power.
  6. Complete resistance to diseases.
  7. Changes colours to provide different appearance all around the year.
  8. Also known as Japanese Cedar.
  9. These are coniferous trees.

How different are privacy shrubs from privacy trees?

  1. Both shrubs and trees have woody growth.
  2. A tree is woody plant having one erect perennial stem (trunk) at least three inches in diameter at a point 4-1/2 feet above the ground, a definitely formed crown of foliage, and a mature height of at least 13 feet.
  3. A shrub is: a woody plantwith several perennial stems that may be erect or may lay close to the ground. It will usually have a height less than 13 feet and stems no more than about three inches in diameter.
  4. Privacy trees are huge in size whereas shrubs are comparatively smaller. Privacy shrubs can be used in compact places unsuitable for trees.
  5. They can also be used as a secondary layer of privacy to the privacy trees.
  6. They improve the ornamentation value of the outdoors.

Most Popular Shrubs for privacy:

Wax Myrtle:

  1. Grows five feet per year.
  2. Has a long life span.
  3. Disease free, drought resistant, low on maintenance.
  4. Grows in all types of soil, even in the soil with almost no minerals.
  5. Has ecological benefit of returning nitrogen to the soil.
  6. Has organic insect repellent.
  7. Blooms aromatic flowers, that adds pleasantness to your outdoors.
  8. It’s thick foliage and quick growing hedges create a privacy hedge.

Golden Euonymus:

  1. They have a maximum growth height of four to six feet.
  2. These are large to create a privacy hedge without taking over your yard.
  3. They can grow in containers too.
  4. Main highlight is the colouring of the shrub which is light green with golden yellow edges.
  5. Low on maintenance
  6. Can be easily groomed to different shapes and sizes.
  7. Recommended for coastal areas due to its high salt tolerance.
  8. Immune to extreme weather conditions.

5 tuja fence greenVariegated privet:

  1. Grows to a maximum height of eight feet.
  2. Low on maintenance.
  3. Creates a natural hedge.
  4. Requires less grooming or no grooming at all.
  5. Drought tolerant once mature.
  6. Adaptable to all soil types.

Red Twig Dogwood:

  1. Grows to a maximum height eight feet.
  2. The most prominent feature of this shrub is its fiery red colour.
  3. Adaptable to extreme weather conditions.
  4. Grows in all soil types.
  5. The red colour is very attractive especially during winters.
  6. Has a dense foliage which work to create a perfect privacy hedge?
  7. Drought resistant.
  8. It remains the same whole year.

Winter Red Holly:

  1. Grows to a height of six feet.
  2. As the name suggests, has high resistance to extreme cold temperatures.
  3. These are deciduous shrubs that bloom red berries in winters which makes them more attractive.
  4. The berries attract birds to the outdoors where the shrubs are planted, creating an overall pleasant experience.
  5. When planted in a row it forms a dense foliage privacy hedge.
  6. They are widely popular for ornamentation purposes.

North Privet:

  1. Grows up to twelve feet.
  2. This is one of the fast growing privacy shrubs, with a growth rate of twenty-four inches per year.
  3. Grows in pyramidal shape.
  4. Used for creating traditional privacy hedges.
  5. Can be pruned easily.
  6. Compatible with all soil types.
  7. Early shearing ensures thick foliage.

American Cranberry:

  1. Grows to a maximum height of six feet.
  2. This shrub produces edible fruits.
  3. Changes multitude of colours all throughout the year, improving appearance of the outdoor.
  4. When planted in a row with sufficient shearing and clipping American cranberry works great as a privacy hedge.
  5. Requires good quality, nutrient enriched soil.

Other widely used privacy plants can be summarised in the below table:

Privacy Plant Name Top 3 Features
Drought Tolerant Evergreen 1.      Most drought tolerant amongst all evergreen privacy trees
2.      Has very dense foliage
3.      Stands out with its blue green colour.
Sky Pencil Holly 1.      Narrow base with thick foliage.
2.      Ideal for restricted places.
3.      No pruning needed.
Red Obelisk European Beech 1. Has a unique burgundy colour.
2. Works for ornamentation too.
3. Low on maintenance.
White Spruce 1. Has extreme level of tolerance to harsh cold conditions.
2. Without shearing forms perfect conical shape.
3. Resistant to insects and pests.
Show off Forsythia 1. Grows in a compact size.
2. Blooms golden flowers in early spring.
3. Can be easily grown on any soil type.
American Boxwood 1. Creates traditional natural looking hedge.
2. Is one of the tallest hedge at twelve feet.
3. Can be easily customised to desired shapes and sizes.

How fast do hedges grow?

  • Weather conditions.
  • Disease and pest resistance.
  • Individual growth rates of trees and shrubs planted.
  • Hedges are rows of privacy trees and shrubs used to create a privacy fence.
  • Ideal hedges can be created using a mixture of different trees and shrubs.
  • This increases the biodiversity of your outdoors.
  • Before planting privacy plants one should study the surrounding environment to understand which plants would grow easily.
  • One easy way to ascertain this is to look around the area though see what plants have flourished in your environment. This will help you to understand and narrow your list of selected trees and shrubs.
  • To ensure privacy or generating thick foliage one can plant clusters of different plants.
  • Regarding the rate of growth of the hedges, it depends on:
  • Quality of soil.
  • Amount of maintenance.
  • All the above factors influence the growth rate.
  • In ideal conditions most of the hedges grow pretty quickly almost within a years’ time.

What are the benefits of Privacy Plants and how do they protect us?

  • Privacy plants absorb surrounding noise generated by traffic or other people, maintaining your peace and tranquillity.
  • Trees purify air, effectively reducing chances of inhaling toxins generated by pollution, improving overall health.
  • Privacy plants are living fences that require almost no maintenance as compared to wooden or vinyl fences.
  • They improve or increase oxygen content of air, thereby reducing global warming.
  • Avoids soil erosion, and improves soil nutrient composition.
  • Improves bio diversity by attracting birds and pollinating insects by flowering shrubs and trees.
  • Some of these plants produce edible fruits, encouraging healthy eating.
  • Avoids water logging of streets after rains, due to high storage or absorbing power of trees.
  • Creates an impenetrable wall to create privacy from onlookers or multistorey apartments in the neighbourhood.
  • It creates a sound barrier that does not avoid eavesdropping passer-by.
  • Privacy tress grow to large heights which breaks down strong winds that makes it possible for the wind to reach you as gentle breeze.
  • Though privacy hedges protect us from unwanted onlookers it also promotes a friendliness with our neighbours, unlike a wooden or vinyl fence that creates a feeling of aloofness.

Plants used for creating privacy hedges have a huge variety to choose from. They have multiple benefits excluding privacy and protection. They include bio-diversity, ecological benefit, ornamentation etc. Privacy plants are definitely a better choice for creating fences than other conventional types.

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