5 Privacy Trees for Backyard I have & I Give Thumbs Up To!
We have the yard of my dreams. It’s what made me instantly want to buy our home. Every year I make small changes as budget allows, check out how I use fake flowers outside, to make it dreamier but as a tree lover (and hugger) it’s beyond my wildest dreams to have a yard like this!
But as they say, good fences make good neighbors, a great border tree helps give you more privacy and a feeling that you have your own garden oasis, away from the chaos of the outside world!
Today I’m sharing with you some trees we have on our property, as well as how and why I would recommend using them in your own landscape design. I’ll be focusing primarily on privacy trees for backyard design. Whether you need small trees for a good low hedge, or are in need of trees for privacy that give great height I got you covered.
Every tree shown here is from my yard and I can attest to them being great landscape design ideas if you’re working on building privacy in your yard.
Let’s start at the front of our yard, and my favorite trees – arborvitae.
The reason I love arborvitae trees is because they add a dynamic look of multiple trees in various shapes and sizes. They are visually gorgeous. Beyond that they allow virtually no space through them so make excellent trees to plant in an area you want total privacy. While I think it would be overkill to do an entire yard in these, they are gorgeous.
I think of arborvitae as ornamental, designer trees that give your landscape interest and high design. I don’t think they should be overused because too much of a good thing can be, well, too much. But used here and there they are a stunner of a species and arborvitae definitely give you solid privacy!
arborvitae tree in front of house
In this photo you’ll see arborvitae to the left, dwarf gardenia in front (not quite in bloom in this photo)
The dwarf gardenia makes for great ground cover. They smell great, spread nicely and are evergreen year round.
To the right is a Japanese Maple with hydrangea tucked under it. The Japanese Maple provides excellent shade for the hydrangea to flourish below it. It gives great size and coverage for privacy as well with a colorful and contrasting look to the arborvitae.
Arborvitae trees are good for small areas where condensed coverage is needed. People who want a more architectural, off the beaten path vibe.
Cypress Trees as Border Trees
The Cypress Tree is the classic border tree. They are most people’s go-to’s. Why? They are inexpensive, get huuuugggeee, are fluffy little guys and are easy to care for.
Cypress trees are good for yards that need height and fullness for privacy and lots of it. Grow at a decent rate.
Now. My problem with them (le struggle) is that mine are now 50′ feet tall and the bottom part is starting to fall off the branch making the privacy not so much at eye level. So I’m currently figuring that dilemma out! I pruned them back a bit and am seeing new growth in the lower areas of the trunk though, which is promising!
I have mine pruned down semi-annually at the bottom because the branches can get so long that they come into the yard too much, or block our basketball hoop. But that’s as simple as a prune extender to clip.
Every few years I do need to hire a professional tree trimmer to come out with one of those bucket machines that hoist them into the air like cherry tree pickers in order to prune back the tops of these 50′ monsters!
Other than that, they are plug and play and require little maitenance.
It is important to be aware though that when they get as tall as mine, their root system is intense. So I can’t really plant anything within 15′ of the trunk! But that’s a small price to pay for the feathery soft look of the branches and privacy they create!
Loropetalum as Border Trees
Loropetalum. Just say that out loud a few times – laur-a-pet-lum. It makes your mouth move like a contortionist. It’s rather funny and I kind of dig the person who came up with that name.
The loropetalums are what you’re seeing in the first image below the stone columns of our home. They are purple-ish in color year round bloom these tiny little pink flowers twice a year.
The pro’s? Affordable. They add a little color pizazz to your yard and create good border. I asked for these to be planted to hide the pool floats behind them, read here to see our favorite pool floats. I’m forever trying to make the accumulated junk, I mean fun things for kids, look neat and tidy but you know, kids. I surrender. So the loropetalum makes the unsightly mess out of sight, out of mind!
These puppies need to be pocket pruned in the fall and spring to allow them to keep growing and staying full.
Loropetalum bushes are good for gate fencing privacy. They stay fairly low and don’t get that tall. They also add a pretty contrast color and are soft.
Gardenia Bushes – Perfect Small Trees for Privacy
If you don’t need the height, plant these beautiful babies everywhere. They are evergreens so stay green and leafy and oh so pretty year round. In the summer gardenias hen grace you with fragrance. I actually clip gardenia flowers weekly and place them by my kids bedside for the sweetest of dreams. I will always want my kids to smell both gardenia and magnolia and think of their Mommy!
With gardenia beauties, you can’t go wrong. I’m planting more and more every year! And I’m starting to use the dwarf gardenias in my container planters. This way I have container greenery year round, less annual maintenance and beautiful fragrance!
Again, pocket prune. Pruning is an essential in gardening, watch this video to learn more.
Gardenia plants are good for borders where height isn’t needed. Small fence borders, fill in areas, etc.
Pro tip: place gardenia near sitting areas. I have mine by my pool chaise lounges and adirondack chairs. They help make the lightest, most graceful scent as the summer air lingers!
Ouch! Holly trees are prickly and sharp to the touch! But holly trees oh so private! These pricky beauties aren’t great if you’re putting them in a yard where, say, your ten year old will go running for a baseball and crash into the trees. But if you want straight up year round easy border and great privacy trees for your backyard these holly’s are the jam.
Every few years I add some fertilizer to keep them popping, but other than that they are low maintenance. We have some that act as border trees, and one that’s ornamental and shaped. It’s next to the loose Vitex to the right in one photo (that hasn’t yet sprouted it’s pretty purple blooms!)
Holly trees are good for areas you need a lot of height and width. Not good for areas where you’ll be up against them a lot given their prickly leaves.
Mine have gotten well over 35′ feet tall, so again, when I bring in the professional tree trimmer, I have them shape the top areas for a cleaner look. Other than that, they are virtually maintenance free!
Evergreen Border Trees
Every border tree I shared here is evergreen so won’t drop it’s leaves. As a girl originally from Florida I didn’t know know trees dropped their leaves (or that grass went dormant – I thought mine was dead at first!)
Here’s a glimpse of our backyard in both the spring and winter (old picture of me from a previous post but it’s all I had!) so you can get a sense of what most trees in Georgia do. This is why I honed in on these particular border trees to share with you!
What are your favorite trees to plant for privacy? Fall is the perfect time to plant, so start brainstorming so you can plant around October/November and get those babies ready for spring!
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