Many home owners who live near roads or in noisy areas will often plant a privacy hedge along one or more lines of their property. Privacy hedges offer not only protection from prying eyes, but they also provide a nice background for gardens. A properly designed and planted privacy hedge can also help to muffle noise from cars and local children. These living fences can also block the wind, lowering cooling and heating costs.

Depending on sunlight, soil, and what the owner wants there are a number of different evergreen and deciduous shrubs and trees that are ideal for creating a privacy hedge.

Evergreen Trees and Shrubs

Evergreen shrubs and trees offer year round foliage for protection from prying eyes.

Holly plants can be grown as shrubs or small trees. They can grow 10 to 30 feet tall and spread 10 to 20 feet across. These plants are easy to prune into formal hedges or can be left to grow into an informal hedge. They can survive when planted in either sun or shade.

The Layland Cypress tree can grow 35 to 40 feet tall and will have a 15 to 20 feet spread. These trees are fast growing, and can create a hedge quickly. They are also drought tolerant when deep root systems are encouraged.

The Eastern White Pine is another fast growing choice. They can have a spread 20 to 40 feet wide, and can grow 50 to 80 feet tall. Eastern White Pine should be planted in full sun.

Deciduous Shrubs and Trees

Deciduous plants will drop their leaves in the fall. This offers home owners a beautiful scene every year, but does open the view during the winter months.

The Amur Maple tree has a compact growing pattern. It can grow up to 20 tall with a spread 15 to 25 feet wide, and is very useful as both a windbreak and hedge. They need very little pruning, and their foliage turns scarlet red in fall. It needs to be planted in sun, but can survive in partial shade.

Common Lilac trees grow only 9 to 15 feet high with a spread of around 10 feet. These vigorous growers bloom purple flowers in spring. There are many different cultivars to choose between.

The dense grown Amur Privet can grow 10 to 15 feet tall and spread 10 to 15 feet wide. One of the hardiest of the privet trees, it blooms white flowers in late spring to early summer, and produces blue-black fruit.

Sound Muffling Hedges

Many home owners do not realize that a privacy hedge can also reduce noise from outside sources. Sound muffling hedges should use evergreens, as they will more commonly have dense and compact growing habits. The hedge is created with three rows of plants. The first row is made of shorter dense shrubs planted next to the source of the noise. A second row of taller trees is planted as closely as possible to the first. The last row is created with shorter shrubs or trees. The last row of plants can be deciduous for a nice view in the fall.