7 plants to create more privacy in your backyard

Tall plants
Tall plants (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Whether you’re gardening, hosting barbecues, or even relaxing in one of the best hot tubs, your backyard is your personal haven. And if you don’t have high fences or walls to shield you, there are certain plants to create more privacy in your backyard. 

From tall shrubs, grasses and climbing plants, these all offer a level of privacy for your outdoor space. Not only do they offer a more enclosed feel (and prevent spying neighbors!), but will add beauty to your backyard. Just be sure you select hardy plants that can survive winters in your USDA Hardiness zone so they can last all year around.

What’s more, if you have a compact backyard that doesn’t allow for much space, you can always start growing screening plants in large pots or planters, before transferring. So, if you want to guard your personal time outdoors, here are 7 plants to create more privacy in your backyard.

If noise is a problem, we've also found the 7 best trees and shrubs to soundproof your yard. Plus, here are 7 best plants to grow in clay soil.

1. Clumping bamboo

Bamboo plants outdoors

Bamboo plants outdoors (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants in the world, making it the ideal, lush plant for backyard privacy. In particular, non-invasive bamboo (clumping bamboo), forms in tight clumps that are up to 5 inches in diameter. Unlike the invasive, running bamboo plant (that grows like a weed), non-invasive types can be easily maintained and shaped to suit your style. In fact, the best type of bamboo for backyard privacy is Gracilis, also known as Slender Weaver Bamboo, which doesn’t grow out of control.

Although hardy, bamboo plants are best placed in sunny spots, and ideal for borders, flower beds and in pots. You can choose from a variety of heights from your local gardening centre, with full-grown plants going up to 30 feet tall. Or you can try your hand at growing bamboo starter plants that will flourish within a few years. If you don’t have plenty of bamboo, you can mix with tall grasses.

Best of all, bamboo makes a stunning feature to your backyard style, alongside these awesome products to give your backyard a makeover under $50. 

2. Boxwood

Boxwood plant

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Boxwood is a popular shrub used to make beautifully manicured hedges. However, when it’s left to grow wild, some varieties can reach up to 20 feet tall, making it the perfect plant for backyard privacy. 

You can either grow this shrub as a ‘fence’ or in containers or planters to create a lush and vibrant wall. While boxwood is mainly green, you can find varieties in white and gold, to add splashes of color to your backyard, and prevent prying eyes.

3. Hydrangeas

mophead hydrangeas

mophead hydrangeas (Image credit: Shutterstock)

These colorful, cone-shaped blooms come in all varieties and sizes, but the larger ones can grow up to 8 feet wide and 8 feet tall. This makes the ideal hedge plants to encourage backyard privacy, and become a stunning focal point. 

You can also find hardy types of hydrangeas that can tolerate full sun, however, the only downside is they tend to lose their leaves in the fall. In any case, you can mix hydrangeas with other shrubs or tall plants so you will still get year-round privacy. 

If you want to maintain your beautiful blooms, check out how to prune hydrangeas and when you should do it, and how to deadhead hydrangeas

4. Climbing roses

Roses around an arch

Roses around an arch (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Climbing roses make the ideal privacy plant, adding beauty, color and fragrance to any backyard. These varieties are best trained to grow on horizontal or close-meshed climbing aids, as they tend to grow outwards over time. 

You might find the roses reaching up to a metre above or around the climbing aid if there is not much room available. In this case, roses should be pruned regularly to keep these in good condition and shape. In addition, be sure to choose a climbing structure that is strong enough to handle the weight. Or else you can grow climbing roses on pillars, and around arches to make a stunning garden feature   

5.Cypress trees

Green cypress trees

Green cypress trees (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Cypress trees are slim, pencil-shaped, coniferous trees that are best for extra-tall coverage. You can either grow/buy as a standalone to obscure the vision in a particular spot, or you can place these side by side to create a lush, vertical screen. 

Another good thing is, cypress trees are usually drought-tolerant, although pot-grown trees will require frequent watering. In addition, these will be easier to control and maintain. In any case, you can expect these stunning, column trees to grow around 75cm a year — which is ideal for shielding your private space.

6. Holly


Holly (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Holly may be considered a Christmas plant, but the taller, holly varieties are perfect for hedges and backyard privacy. Once these grow freely, they can be pruned and shaped to block the view from prying eyes, and become great screens. If you do want to make a hedge, experts advise planting 2 feet apart from each other, allowing room for growth. 

Most varieties are fast-growing, and usually evergreen for year-round coverage. What’s more, the holly berries are a main food source for various birds and wildlife if you ever want to attract birds into your garden. Just keep pets away from the berries, as these are toxic.  

7. Rhododendron

Rhododendron behind bench

Rhododendron behind bench (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Another colorful plant that can offer backyard privacy is the Rosebay rhododendron. These varieties tend to grow from 48 to 96 inches tall and wide, with a fast-growth rate. These make the ideal hedges or border plants to place around your outdoor space. 

Depending on their estimated mature size, it’s advisable to space plants 2 to 6 feet apart. The good thing is, rhododendron are evergreen, and will bloom all year round, providing you maintain them. In addition, these are known to be a deer-resistant plant to keep Bambi at bay!

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Cynthia Lawrence
Content Editor, Homes

As the Homes Content Editor, Cynthia Lawrence covers all things homes, interior decorating, and garden-related. She has a wealth of editorial experience testing the latest, ‘must-have’ home appliances, writing buying guides and the handy ‘how to’ features. 

Her work has been published in various titles including, T3, Top Ten Reviews, Ideal Home, Real Homes, Livingetc. and House Beautiful, amongst many.

With a rather unhealthy obsession for all things homes and interiors, she also has an interior design blog for style inspiration and savvy storage solutions (get rid of that clutter!). When she’s not testing cool products, she’ll be searching online for more decor ideas to spruce up her family home or looking for a great bargain!