Best Trees And Shrubs For Living Privacy Fencing

Maybe your yard faces something unsightly like a parking lot. Or maybe your yard is a little too close to your neighbors – the ones you don’t like. Or maybe you just want more greenery. There’s a solution to your backyard landscaping dilemma: a living privacy fence. By planting the right trees and shrubs, O’Connor Landscapes can give you a more aesthetically pleasing yard and more privacy to boot.

Best Trees And Shrubs For Plant Screenscypress tree

Most of these plants are fairly fast-growing, so you won’t have to wait too long to enjoy the results. Tree and shrub trimming is necessary for them to maintain their shape, but O’Connor Landscapes can help with that.

Leyland Cypress

When a Leyland cypress reaches maturity, it can easily reach 70 feet in height. They prefer partial sun and well-drained soil. Once established in your yard, they’ll turn a lovely blueish-green. It easily grows more than 24 inches per year, and being evergreen, you’ll enjoy it all 12 months of the year.


Yews are relatively unfussy and will tolerate a variety of conditions. These evergreens reach up to 60 feet in height and 4 – 20 feet wide. They like full or partial sun but can tolerate the shade as well. Loamy, moist, well-drained soil is best for these plants. They shape easily and will respond well to pruning. The best time for trimming them is early spring.

Italian Cypress

You might have seen these trees in pictures of the Italian countryside and not realized you were looking at an Italian cypress. These tall iconic trees can fit into even the narrowest spaces. What they lack in width, they make up for in height. They will easily grow up to three feet a year, so like Leyland cypresses, you won’t have to wait long to have that living privacy fence. Their hardiness zone is 7 – 11, which is perfect for North Carolina. They’re not afraid of drought conditions and thrive in full sun or partial shade.

American Arborvitae

This native tree naturally grows in a pyramidal shape, perfect for use as a privacy fence. It is extremely low-maintenance, and in addition to providing privacy, it also serves as a good windbreak. Like many other trees on this list, it is an evergreen and will provide you with foliage year-round. You should expect heights of 40 – 60 feet and up to 15 feet spread once it reaches maturity. It’s not as fast of a grower as the other species, clocking in at 12 – 24 inches per year, but it tolerates just about any soil you can imagine, which makes it a more versatile option. Lastly, you should make sure it receives 6 hours of direct sunlight – no filtering.

Flowering Dogwood Treeflowering dogwood tree

Dogwoods are low-maintenance and provide flowers for a brief period in the spring. Their glossy green leaves look lovely in summer, and in the fall, you’ll get a splash of color when the tree produces its annual red berries. It will need weekly watering and likes partial shade. It grows at a medium rate of up to 24 inches per year and doesn’t really care about the soil type – so long as it’s moist. At peak maturity, it will be about 25 feet high as well as wide.

Thuja Green Giant

Another tree in the Arborvitae family, Thuja Green Giants, is quite assertive. These trees are 12 – 20 feet wide at maturity and 60 – 60 feet in height. They will grow as much as 3 feet per year and form a natural pyramid shape. Like American Arborvitae, it can be a good windbreak if needed. It doesn’t mind the harsher winter conditions, like ice and snow, and is one of the most popular choices for living privacy fences. It does not like consistently wet soil, preferring the drier side of things. It also is salt-sensitive, so consider that.

Nellie Stevens Holly

Holly has long been associated with Christmas for its evergreen boughs. This particular varietal reaches 25 feet in height once mature. If you choose this tree for your living fence, you won’t have to wait long as it is relatively fast-growing. It grows in a natural pyramidal shape, can tolerate various light from full sun to partial shade, and likes to be watered once a week or more if there is a drought.

Get A Living Privacy Fence From O’Connor Landscapes

O’Connor Landscapes is pleased to offer customized landscaping services to Pinehurst, North Carolina, and the surrounding area. Whether you live close to neighbors or just want a better view, a plant screen is an excellent solution. We’ll help you every step of the way, from landscape design to installation. It’s time to make your dream backyard a reality. Give us a call at (910) 691-9227, or you can leave us a message online, and one of our team members will get back to you soon. Don’t forget to check out our monthly blog for more ideas on landscaping and best practices for lawn care.

Click me for a modal
  • Which Services are you interested in?