Living Privacy Walls

Part of the charm of the suburbs is having neighbors.  Neighbors, however, can also be a hindrance. Sometimes all you want is a little bit of privacy in your backyard, and one great way to do that is with living privacy walls. 

The first type of privacy wall is to plant a line of evergreen shrubs or trees.  These give you year-round privacy. While fences may need permits to install, trees do not.  But be sure to pay attention to the height, width and the surroundings of your natural fence. 

If you have power lines above where you are going to plant your fence, be sure you select a tree or shrub that will not interfere with these.  Checking the width of maturity is important as well, because this will tell you how far apart to plant your evergreens and how many you will need. While they can grow in an area with less sun, they will not grow as quickly if they were in a sunny location. 

Some of the best evergreens to use as privacy walls are arborvitae (much like the ones here at the greenhouse), cypress and juniper.  All of these range not only size and shape, but in the color  and texture of the foliage. 

If you want something that is a blooming privacy wall, you have both annual and perennial choices.  The important thing to note is that these will not be a year-round wall. However, if you really only use your outdoor living space during the summer, this won’t be a problem.

Some of the perennials you can choose from are vines like clematis, climbing hydrangea or honeysuckle that will grow up on a trellis.  Other perennials are different varieties of plants that grow to be taller, like hardy hibiscus, rudbeckia, bee balm, Joe Pye weed and hydrangeas. 

Finally, you can always go the route of perennial grasses.  Choosing a taller, fuller grass will give you privacy you may be looking for, without having to prune off dead flowers during the season.  Grasses can even be left during the winter months to add some visual interest.  They will not be green throughout the winter months, and will need to be cut back in the early spring, but they will still provide that privacy for you through the cooler months of the year.

Finally, your final choice for a privacy screening is to install a living wall.  These are typically made of wood and range in size.  They have rows for you to plant your flowers and foliage plants to create a literal wall of plants.  Some people plant herbs and succulents, keeping it basic and a useful tool to keep nearby your home.  Other people plant a mix of blooming plants and colorful foliage to add a lot of interest to your patio or deck.

Living walls can be beautiful with colors and textures that vary more than just an evergreen, but these too will not survive the winter and will need to be re-planted each year.  These will also take more care and maintenance throughout the summer, with both watering and pruning.

No matter which route you take, living walls can add a lot of texture and color to your yard and add privacy to your outdoor living space.

Christian Goers