Planting for Privacy

Browse these makeovers and get ideas for creating a green screen in the yard.

Too Much Information

hgPG-2410758-privacy_lsl408_inside_before_new

hgPG-2410758-privacy_lsl408_inside_before_new

From inside this home, the only view is of the neighbor's backyard. The homeowners want to walk out of their house into a secluded garden retreat.

Green Scene

hgPG-2410759-privacy_lsl408_inside_after_new

hgPG-2410759-privacy_lsl408_inside_after_new

Even though the planting is quite new, this mixture of trees, shrubs and perennials already has begun to provide screening. Because the site is a drainage area, wet-soil-tolerant plants were chosen.

Green Privacy

hgPG-2410761-privacy_lsl408_buffer_after_new

hgPG-2410761-privacy_lsl408_buffer_after_new

The planting area of the backyard screen isn't simply a single line of trees or shrubs across the back end of the property but a wide buffer zone that forms a destination garden in itself.

At One With Traffic

hgPG-2410740-privacy_grb605_before1

hgPG-2410740-privacy_grb605_before1

The homeowners want more than a fence-worth of separation from the noise of a busy street and a train station. They want a low-maintenance landscape that will provide a private getaway in this narrow lot.

The Plan

hgPG-2410739-privacy_grb605_siteplan

hgPG-2410739-privacy_grb605_siteplan

The site plan includes a dry-set stone patio, a modern-style water feature, lush plants and trees — packing functionality and interest into the small space.

Soothing Sounds

hgPG-2410742-privacy_grb605_after1

hgPG-2410742-privacy_grb605_after1

The ground-level water feature keeps the focus on the landscape itself, not on the street beyond, and helps mask traffic noise. Once the river birch has had a chance to fill in, the stop sign will be but a memory.

The Beauty of a Berm

hgPG-2410741-privacy_grb605_after2

hgPG-2410741-privacy_grb605_after2

New berms against the walls raise the grade of the site and provide interest. Trees and lush understory plants will soon create a sense of enclosure. Plus, there's no more grass to mow.

Bare Bones

hgPG-2410851-privacy_lsl401_before_new

hgPG-2410851-privacy_lsl401_before_new

This Mediterranean-style home received a makeover inside, and now the homeowners want landscaping that not only beautifies the bare front yard but gives them privacy on the porch for relaxing and entertaining.

Fast Privacy

hgPG-2410847-privacy_lsl401_after_porch_new

hgPG-2410847-privacy_lsl401_after_porch_new

River birches will provide amply screening for the front porch. These fast-growing deciduous trees offer colorful bark and their branches move gracefully in the wind.

View From the Porch

hgPG-2411154-privacy_lsl401_view-from-porch

hgPG-2411154-privacy_lsl401_view-from-porch

Once exposed, the front porch now provides views of an interesting garden sanctuary and courtyard.

Is There Anywhere to Hide?

hgPG-2410852-privacy_sicrb_before_new

hgPG-2410852-privacy_sicrb_before_new

Because it's on a corner lot, this house has three doors that give undesirable access to passersby. Plus, there is virtually no privacy anywhere in the yard.

Decorative and Private

hgPG-2410850-privacy_sicrb_after_new

hgPG-2410850-privacy_sicrb_after_new

The overexposed side of the house gets a coverup with a fence and an attractive mechanical gate leading to the garage. The bottom of the fence is solid for the sake of privacy; a lattice overlay gives it a garden feel.

Needs Enclosure

hgPG-2410765-privacy_dadg201_before_new

hgPG-2410765-privacy_dadg201_before_new

This bare backyard badly needs enclosure. The only view is of the neighbor's house.

Lattice and Leylands

hgPG-2410853-privacy_dadg201_after_new

hgPG-2410853-privacy_dadg201_after_new

A lattice fence and arborvitae provide an attractive low-cost solution. Shown here is the Eastern arborvitae (Thuija occidentalis), which will eventually grow to about 20 to 30 feet high and 10 to 12 feet wide.

Porch Privacy Tip

hgPG-2410849-privacy_shutters_screen

hgPG-2410849-privacy_shutters_screen

Mount some shutters on a frame, add a coat of fresh paint and hang them from the ceiling of a porch.

Next Up

Plant Bed

Before planting, the bed is outlined and cleared of all existing shrubs and sod. These plants are for a huge bed, 30 feet long by 15 feet wide.

Greenhouse Advice

Learn about propagating, or reproducing, plants from seeds, then get some tips for using containers to start the tender seeds.

Planting Bulbs for Summer Bloom

Plant these beauties in spring to brighten a summer garden.

Dividing Plants

Why buy when you can divide? You can save a bundle by dividing larger perennials and replanting them all over your yard.

The Right Way to Plant a Tree

Healthy roots and cultivating the surrounding soil are keys to success in planting a new tree.

Planting and Caring for Bulbs

Planting bulbs in the garden can eventually provide eye-catching results.

Planting Tomatoes

Follow these tips for growing tomatoes in your summer vegetable garden.

Planting Trees Properly

Follow these planting tips to help you grow healthy trees in your yard for many years to come.

Tips for Planting a Meadow

A meadow doesn't have to take up acres upon acres of space. Learn how you can have a meadow garden in your backyard with these gardening tips.

Some Tips for Sensible Herb Planting

Herbs should be planted where they can get 4 to 6 hours of sun each day.

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