An impressive fence does provide a welcome sense of privacy. Although even the nicest ones can have the unfortunate effect of shouting "keep out". Tall, thick, and dense evergreen shrubs, on the other hand, provide that sense of solitude. With also a sense of style, grace, and a gentle, leafy whisper rather than a shout.
Sounds nice, right? Here are 22 of the best tall shrubs to consider when landscaping for privacy. Our choices range from Zone 3 to 11, flowering to coniferous, and shade to sun—so there's really something for everyone here. Our choices are also tall, easy to grow, hardy, durable, and fuss-free. Before you get started, we've got a few tips for planting your privacy hedge that will help you grow confidently. We want to make sure that you can enjoy your beautiful leafy seclusion for years to come.
Tips for Planting a Privacy Hedge
- First, identify your goals. Lots of privacy? Blocking out an eyesore? Windscreen? This will help you to choose the right size and habit.
- Some HOAs and communities have height restrictions for hedges. Therefore, it's always a good idea to check with your HOA and/or city for guidelines.
- Decide on the style of hedge you want. Some plants have a tight, formal look while others are looser and less formal.
- Read and believe the information on the tag about eventual mature height and width!
- Plant shrubs closer for a hedge than you would for a single specimen but be careful not to crowd. Ask your local garden center for advice regarding your specific plant.
- While waiting for plants to develop, fill gaps between them with perennials, ornamental grasses, or roses. You can move them later!
- Plant an extra few shrubs elsewhere on the property. If something goes wrong with the hedge, you have a replacement that's the same size and type.
Favorite Shrubs for Privacy Zones 3-9
One of the most popular and effective shrubs for screening or tall hedge use. Perfect for a formal, shaped hedge or a tall screen of naturally narrow trees (above). This narrow, pyramidal evergreen has dense foliage that holds its color throughout winter. Thrives in the heat and humidity of the south, and tolerates dry spells when established. Full sun. 15' tall, 4' wide. Zones 4-8.
A handsome upright shrub for creating hedges. This is thanks to the glossy foliage and a refined look on a dense, vase-shaped with a layered appearance. Stalks of fragrant white flowers appear in spring. Hardier than dwarf English laurel.Partial shade to partial sun. Up to 10' tall and wide. Zones 6-9.
Elegant, pyramidal form with burgundy spring foliage maturing to emerald-green. Sets bright berries without a male pollenizer. Up to 14'. tall, 8' wide. Zones 6-9.
In addition to being an effective screen, look for white spring blooms followed by bright-orange winter berries loved by birds. Quickly reaches 10' tall, 8' wide. Full sun. Zones 5-8.
When you need a hardy, tall hedge fast, there are few choices better than this durable, handsome conifer. Quickly reaches up to 30' tall, 10' wide. Full sun. Zones 4-8.
This semi-evergreen option makes a lovely, more compact privacy hedge that's perfect for screening outdoor rooms. Profuse clusters of small, popcorn ball-shaped blooms line each branch in spring. Handsome foliage turns red to purple in fall. This selection is earlier flowering than others of its type and is more heat and drought tolerant when established. Partial to full sun. Up to 8' tall and wide. Zones 5-9.
Another lovely arborvitae that makes for a beautiful, dense, evergreen privacy hedge. What makes Ember Waves® unique is the sunny yellow new growth matures to chartreuse and bright green. In winter, the foliage turns glowing orange. Wow. Full sun. Moderate growing up to 25' tall and 8' wide. Zones 5-8.
Prized for its brilliant, silver-blue foliage, use Wichita Blue for a low-maintenance, large-scale privacy screening or a serious windbreak. Full sun. Moderate growing up to 15' tall and 6' wide; larger with age. Zones 3-7.
If you’re not in a huge hurry, consider this glossy green shrub for its narrow form and bright, berry-like cones. Takes well to shearing. Partial to full sun. Slow to 12' tall and 4' wide. Zones 4-7.
The dense, compact habit and beautiful symmetry of the naturally cone-shaped Black Hills Spruce. With an added burst of color from bright yellow new growth that accents the blue-green mature foliage. A dramatic evergreen for groupings, windbreaks, or screening. Partial to full sun. Up to 20-50' tall, and 15-25' wide. Zones 2-8.
A beautiful boxwood that can be grown in a dense evergreen hedge that's perfect for creating a privacy screen. Lustrous dark green leaves have a lighter green underside. Medium to finely textured foliage does not brown out in winter. Its density makes it a favorite shelter plant for birds. Partial to full sun. Up to 9' tall, 2' wide. Zones 5-9.
Favorite Shrubs for Privacy Zones 8-11
Bright 'N Tight™
An outstanding compact, broadleaf shrub valued as an evergreen hedge or privacy screen. Exceptionally handsome, shiny, deep-green foliage has a tidy, clean appearance. Adapts well to occasional pruning to control size and form. Showy clusters of white flowers appear in spring. Partial to full sun. Up to 10' tall and 8'. wide. Zones 7-11.
A great show of color with bronze-green foliage that turns deep purple-red in fall. Pinkish fruit brightens the plant in summer. Dense branches can be trimmed as hedge or espalier; left unpruned, it makes a superb evergreen screen. Full sun. Up to 12' tall, 8' wide. Zones 8-11.
This refined evergreen shrub is a great specimen or formal hedge plant for mild climate gardens. The oval-shaped, deep-green leaves are held along beautiful red young stems. Creamy yellow-green perfumed blossoms enhance the distinctive foliage. Leaves may be used to add a spicy, peppery flavor to foods. This male selection will not fruit. Partial to full sun. Up to 12' tall, 8' wide. Zones 7-10.
This handsome and versatile male evergreen holly with a natural pyramidal form creates a superb hedge, screen, or windbreak. An improved hybrid holly with dense, glossy, and bright-green foliage. This tolerates shearing well, making it perfect for shaped, formal screens. Small flowers do not produce berries. Full sun. Up to 12' tall and 8' wide. Zones 7-9.
A bold, lush appearance from a full-branching, richly colored, tall evergreen shrub. This is ideal for planting in groups to create a dense screen. New growth remains reddish bronze over a long season. Creamy white brush-like flowers are followed by rose-purple fruit. Ideal for formal hedges and topiary. Partial to full sun. Up to 20' tall, 10' wide. Zones 9-11.
This versatile, drought-tolerant, and easy-to-grow edible plant has an upright branching form that is easily trained into a tall hedge. Fleshy white flower petals have showy red accents, contrasting nicely with the gray-green foliage. Tasty guava-like fruit ripens in late fall. Full sun. Up to 15 ft. tall and wide. Zones 8-10.
This very compact southern magnolia features an upright form with shiny, deep green leaves. These are heavy, velvety, reddish-brown undersides, and classic, large 6- to 8-inch wide, fragrant, white flowers. Plant these southern beauties in a line and allow them to grow as shrubs to create a dense privacy screen. Full sun. Up to 20' tall, 12' wide. Zones 7-9.
A carefree callistemon that makes a great privacy hedge plant for tight spaces. A prolific bloomer, covered with classic bottlebrush spring and early summer. Heat-loving and highly drought tolerant when established, Slim™ is also a frost-hardy evergreen and is not prone to leaf burn. High resistance to myrtle rust disease. Full sun. Up to 10' tall, 4' wide. Zones 8-11.
Perfect for a quick privacy screen. This handsome, pest- and disease-resistant shrub offers fantastic color to any low-maintenance landscape. With lustrous burgundy-red new foliage on a dense, upright form that rarely needs pruning. High heat tolerance makes it a natural for southern gardens, where it provides year-round interest. Full sun. Up to 10' tall, 7' wide. Zones 7-11.
Photo by Brandon Friend-Solis
The first podocarpus tree with distinctive blue foliage! Plus, it's an excellent screen tree for providing privacy. New growth emerges lime-gray-blue and then matures to a cool gray-blue-green. One of the most beautiful and decorative pyramidal conifers for the South. Up to 25' tall and wide. Partial to full sun. Zones 9-11.
A mid-season bloomer that makes an excellent evergreen hedge in filtered sun conditions. Sparkling white, semi-double blooms cover glossy dark green foliage during the cool season. Upright, somewhat willowy branches form a handsome rounded shrub with age. Filtered sun. Up to 9' tall and wide. Zones 7-10.
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