Regardless of whether your neighbors are the friendliest, most genial family on the street, or the most unapproachable, distanced people you’ve ever met – we all like to enjoy our own privacy, especially in the confines of our own back gardens.
Obviously, we could set tall overbearing fences or walls in place, to get the point across but this ruins the aesthetic of a nicely cultivated lawn or the serenity of having some space for yourself.
The next obvious step is to use Mother Nature herself to guarantee a little privacy, without turning your yard into a prison camp.
Pick something that will grow rapidly
The first step is to choose a plant or tree which won’t take years to reach maturity, otherwise what’s the point? Unless you’re pre-empting future neighbors, or you aren’t too pressured about instant privacy, you’ll want to pick a plant which shoots up in the climate of your back garden.
Chief among these rapidly maturing privacy plants is Bamboo. Bamboo can come in a number of different species which adhere to different circumstances and climates, so you’re bound to find one which will fit nicely with your surroundings at home. It can reach impressive heights in no time at all, but can sometimes be harmful to other plant life around. Without careful supervision and care-taking, bamboo can begin to take over.
Thuja trees – a very popular kind of evergreen (chances are you’ve seen them in your own street) which are often used as a means of privacy, although they can also add a nice forestry appeal to your back garden. These trees can be purchased and planted at a fairly decent size to begin with and then grow as much as several feet per year. Many strains of the Thuja tree can thrive in tight enclosures, which means you can plant more than one in close proximity.
Cypress – this tree is often confused with the Thuja, and can actually be planted in partnership with it, if you so desire. Cypress can reach similar heights and becomes very narrow once it reaches maturity, which means it can also be planted in close proximity to other plants/trees.
Ivy/vines– although these plants are often regarded as the nemesis of gardens or structural integrity of walls, ivy or variations upon that can actually make for fantastic privacy plants. By simply constructing a wooden trellis (or purchasing one for cheap) and allowing ivy plants to wind their way throughout the patterns, you’ll soon have a fence/plant hybrid of sorts which not only provides some secrecy, but can create quite an appealing look, too.
Rose of Sharon – Rose of Sharon is an excellent choice for maintaining privacy in the garden, not only will it meet your requirements in terms of creating a barrier between you and your neighbors (the plant is known for quickly becoming full and tall), but it also sprouts an assortment of beautiful flowers come the summer time – however, it does thin out a little during the winter months, which may be something to consider before using it, solely.
Standard shrubbery – By planting some standard, ‘garden variety’ shrubs around the outskirts of your garden and then cultivating them into a clipped hedge, you will create an almost literal wall between you and your neighbors (and can also add partitions of sorts to your lawn; great for designing a certain look). The recommended types are yew, privet or quince hedges – which take well to regular trimming and remain full and lush the year round.
Rhododendron – Another plant which can threaten to take over if not kept in check, Rhododendrons are fantastic privacy plants, which can reach as high as seven feet and sprout great, eye-catching flowers in the summer months.
Things to look out for when choosing which plants to use in your own garden
There are a few key points you need to consider before choosing which shrub, plant or tree you think will best suit your own garden. First of all, research the necessary climates or environments of each plant before you decide – are they appropriate for where you live, or the weather your garden is frequently exposed to?
In choosing the plants themselves, you want to make sure you pick something that fits in the “fast growing plants” category; otherwise you’ll be waiting years before you gain the benefit of your privacy, and would have been as well erecting a fence.
You also want to consider the full year – do you desire this privacy only during the summer months (when you’re most likely to be out in the garden) or for the whole year? If the answer is the latter, then make sure the plant life you opt for is evergreen and won’t die off or shrivel during the colder portion of the year.
Opt for shrubbery which boasts broad and thickly packed leaves for the most coverage and something which is tolerant of regular trimming or shaping (using fast growing plants also means it will get out of control, very quickly).
Be a considerate neighbor
Bear in mind that anything you plant which blocks your neighbors from view, will work in reverse and may be a nuisance to them. If you intend to grow a large tree, or wall of tall plants which could block a potential view, threaten the growth of their own plants or edge over onto your neighbors territory – then make sure to discuss it with them first and be open to their criticisms, after all, you’re not the only person occupying the space.
By and large, making the most of plants and trees to ensure your own privacy is a fantastic idea. Not only does it add to the atmosphere of your garden, without imposing lots of expensive man-made structures everywhere, but it can be even more effective than some other means.
Bear in mind regular maintenance will be required, though, and that you need to do your homework before planting.