They say good fences make good neighbors. But you want more than just a traditional fence. Here are a few ways to create a prettier, more natural-looking privacy barrier using trees and shrubs.

Sometimes you just need a little separation from the rest of your neighborhood. Whether it’s sound, lights, wind, or prying eyes, a physical barrier around your yard can block those unwanted elements from invading your space.

Traditional fences can be expensive. They also wear down over time and harshly close off your space. By strategically placing a variety of trees and shrubs around your yard, you create an effective, longer-lasting privacy wall for you and your family.

Pick Your Purpose

When it comes to your privacy, you must first determine what your natural fence will prevent.

Do you want to quiet the noise from the street or block the wind? Hoping to deter a nosy neighbor from peeking and popping into your yard unannounced? Dreaming of a private oasis with a beautified barrier? Knowing what to keep out streamlines the planning process.

Plan Your Plot

As with any gardening project, you should measure your space before buying plants. Knowing the dimensions of the area for your privacy plants will make shopping easier. This prevents the purchase trees that grow too large and become crowded or shrubs that are too small to provide the barrier you desire.

You should also determine the height of your ideal barrier. Plants, of course, grow over time, so you’ll want to find trees and shrubs that provide adequate privacy without overwhelming your space (and stealing your sunlight!)

Purchase Your Plants

Once you know how much space you’re working with, it’s time to make the important decision: what plants are you going to buy? Here are a few options for creating a privacy wall:


  • Arborvitae are popular trees for privacy screens due to their dense foliage and heartiness. These sleek, low-maintenance trees keep their gorgeous deep green color all year long.
  • Pines are not only beautiful, but they smell great, too. These thick, conical-shaped trees tend to spread out wide as they grow.
  • Cypress varieties tend to be on the softer side, with lush, feathery leaves and branches. These fast-growing evergreens withstand low temperatures and can grow up to sixty feet tall.


  • Boxwoods add variety to your privacy wall because their small leaves create a unique texture. These shrubs have a long lifespan and can range in height from two to twenty feet tall.
  • Viburnums offer extra character as they change throughout each season. These shrubs feature leaves that shift from a deep emerald green to a vibrant red, along with fragrant flowers that turn into fruit.
  • Switchgrass is a unique choice if you want something with a little more movement. These dense columns can grow up to seven feet tall and provide seeds for birds in the winter.

Having trouble deciding? Your local garden center (that’s us!) is a great resource to determine which plants will work best for you. 

Place Your Privacy

You made your plan. You measured and prepped your space. And you’ve purchased the perfect trees and shrubs. Now it’s time to get those plants into the ground.

Here are a few tips for arranging your plants:

  • Spacing – As tricky as it sounds, make sure your plants are not placed too far apart, but also not too close together. Keep the current and approximate final size of your trees in mind while planting so that they’re close enough to create an effective privacy screen, but not so close that they become overcrowded in the future. Ideally, each tree or shrub should just barely touch its neighbor.
  • Alignment – If you prefer a more uniform look, plant your trees in an evenly-spaced straight line to save space and to create a polished appearance. If you prefer a more natural look, staggering your row of trees provides a blocked-off barrier that requires less upkeep over time.
  • Function – Some trees are effective at absorbing wind and sound. Others are prettier and provide a blocked sightline. When placing your trees and shrubs, consider the areas of your yard where privacy is most desired and match the variety of plant accordingly.

Some plants are as functional as they are beautiful. We love seeing the creative ways our customers use plants to enhance their property. Check out our healthy, happy, and hearty trees and shrubs at Chippewa Valley Growers to grow a natural barrier that withstands the test of time (and the elements!)

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