7 of the best fast growing privacy shrubs

privacy shrubs

Looking for a fast way to enjoy privacy in your garden? You’re in the right place. Selecting the right shrubs for your landscape can quickly create a natural screen, offering you a secluded oasis away from prying eyes.

Whether you wish to enclose a private hide-away or line the perimeter of your property, fast-growing privacy shrubs are great solution. They represent a soft and organic way of dividing spaces and securing boundaries and are easier on the eye than walls and fences.

Of course, they are not usually an instant a solution in the way that a fence can be. Although, if you are willing to pay more, then larger specimens can be used to fill gaps and create the privacy you need quickly.

If you can be patient, you can save money by buying smaller specimens that will grow into the space over time.

Five privacy shrubs grow rapidly in a sunny garden

Of course, choosing shrubs that grow swiftly means you won’t have to wait long for your green barrier to establish itself. However, you must consider the planting environment. Your soil conditions, the amount of sunlight, and the climate are all crucial factors influencing how well your selected shrubs will thrive.

Key Takeaways

  • Fast-growing privacy shrubs provide a natural screen from neighbours and enhance your landscape.
  • Selecting shrubs that thrive in your specific growing conditions is key to success.
  • Integrating privacy shrubs into your garden can be done with style and strategic planting.

Selecting the perfect shrub to secure your garden’s privacy can be fun – and it is not hard as there are plenty of options to choose from.

I’ve selected the following shrubs with a focus on reasonably fast growth and dense, evergreen foliage. I’ve focused on evergreen shrubs on the basis that you probably want to protect your privacy all year round, not just in summer.

These all represent great choices for creating a cool, living barrier to enhance your privacy and your garden or yard.

1. Arborvitae (Thuja)


Arborvitae, particularly the ‘Green Giant’ variety, is an excellent choice for a speedy-growing privacy hedge. Capable of reaching towering heights of 50 to 60 feet, this evergreen offers a substantial vertical presence with a spread of 12 to 20 feet.

It is important point to realise that you’ll need to keep these plants in check, at the desired height for your space, so that they don’t become too big for your garden. The growth rate and ability to provide immediate privacy from neighbours make Thuja a landscape favourite.

Prefers full sun.

For a smaller variety consider the Arborvitae Leprechaun.

2. Cherry Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus)

Cherry laure

An evergreen hedge that demonstrates robust growth, the Cherry Laurel can grow up to three feet annually in favourable conditions, reaching about twenty feet at maturity.

Not only does it offer a dense foliage barrier, but it also delights with white flowers in the spring. The cherry laurel boasts lovely shiny evergreen foliage that adds light to the space around it. It also provides a modest display of red berries.

Will grow well in full sun or partial shade on well-drained soil.

3. Wax Myrtle (Myrica cerifera)

wax myrtle
Wax Myrtle by treegrow is licensed under CC BY 2.0

For those in warmer zones ( 7 to 11 in the USA), the wax myrtle is a great privacy shrub.

It has shiny dense evergreen foliage that shades from dark to light green. The plant can grow up to 5 feet per year. So it is ideal for an ‘instant’ privacy screen.

Wax myrtle plants are also easy to trim and shape and don’t grow too tall, so can easily be managed. The plant tolerates heat and and drought and is resistant to deer and most insects. It even copes with coastal conditions.

So, if you have the right climate, what more could you want?

4. Photinia (Photinia x fraseri)

Photinia privacy screen

For those who wish for a splash of colour, Photinia x fraseri comes with vibrant red tips on its young leaves. For the redest leaves look out for the cultivar ‘Red Robin’.

This eye-catching evergreen can contribute a dramatic flair to your garden, especially when the new growth bursts into colour.

Photinia will provide you with a handsome screen require only minimal upkeep, although you’ll need to keep its size in check in smaller spaces.

Will thrive in full sun or partial shade and most soil types.

5. Schip Laurel (Prunus Laurocerasus ‘Schipkaensis’)

Schip laurel - privacy shrubs
“Prunus laurocerasus ‘Schipkaensis’ ” by Krzysztof Ziarnek, Kenraiz is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

The Schip Laurel is a dense, evergreen shrub that grows to create a solid privacy screen.

It is versatile, tolerates shade well, and maintains a convenient size for gardens.

The Schip Laurel’s glossy, green leaves and white flowers can enhance the privacy of your outdoor space, while providing a lovely green and white backdrop to your other plants or outdoor furniture.

6. Rhododendrons and Azaleas

Azalea privacy screen

Prized for their stunning flowers, Rhododendrons and Azaleas bring a touch of elegance to any privacy hedge.

They burst into a dazzling display of blooms in Spring that not only catch the eye but also attract pollinators to your garden. But they work well as privacy screens because most varieties are dense and evergreen.

These shrubs can be an excellent addition for height variation and colour in a layered privacy screen.

7. Bamboo

bamboo privacy screen

First and foremost, bamboo is not a shrub, it is technically a grass – a member of the Poaceae family. But it is the plant I use in my gardens most regularly when I want to create an instant privacy screen.

So, for a different approach to a privacy barrier, one of the bamboo varieties might just be your answer.

With its extraordinary growth rate, bamboo can quickly create a lush, exotic, and private space in your garden.

However, beware, some bamboo species can be invasive, especially in warm climates. So choose one of clumping varieties for a more controlled spread.

Choosing the right privacy shrubs

Lush green shrubs reaching skyward, forming a dense barrier. Sunlight filters through the leaves, creating a tranquil, secluded space

When selecting privacy shrubs for your garden, it’s crucial to consider factors such as growth rate, mature size, aesthetics, maintenance, and the plant’s specific needs related to your particular environment.

Consider growth rate and mature size

You’ll want to choose shrubs that grow quickly enough to provide privacy in a reasonable timeframe, yet not so fast that they become unmanageable. For instance, the ‘Green Giant’ arborvitae is a vigorous grower that can achieve a height of 50 to 60 feet, offering considerable height for privacy. On the other hand, a more compact hedge like ‘Emerald Green’ arborvitae grows slower but still reaches a respectable 2 to 14 feet tall.

Balance aesthetics with functionality

While the primary goal is privacy, you’d likely prefer shrubs that are also pleasing to the eye. Evergreen shrubs maintain their foliage year-round, offering constant screening, and some may even produce flowers or interesting fall colour. Deciduous shrubs, such as the tri-colour willow with its elegant weeping form and pink hue, provide seasonal interest, though they lose leaves in winter.

Assess maintenance requirements

Consider how much time you can dedicate to pruning and general care. Shrubs that require minimal pruning or care are often preferable. For example,Wax myrtle forms a dense, classical hedge that is quite easy to shape, indicative of its manageable maintenance needs.

Identify deer resistant varieties

If you’re in an area with wildlife like deer, opt for shrubs that are known for being deer resistant. Shrubby honeysuckles or Lonicera nitida, for example, can provide excellent privacy while deterring deer due to their dense foliage and bitter taste.

Evaluate water and soil needs

It is essential to select shrubs that will thrive in your garden’s soil conditions and match your watering capabilities. Cherry laurel is a fast grower that tolerates various soil conditions and also appreciates adequate water, but you should match your choice to your soil’s moisture and nutrient levels. Some plants may require additional mulch to preserve soil moisture, essential for steady growth.

Design ideas for integrating privacy shrubs into your landscape

Beautiful, fast-growing shrubs are more than just a visual barrier; they’re key elements in creating a cohesive garden design. With strategic planting, your shrubs can enhance the beauty of your landscape and offer a dynamic yet functional appeal.

Creating layered privacy screens

To maximise privacy without sacrificing style, consider a layered approach with your shrubs. Start with taller specimens like the ‘Green Giant’ arborvitae, which can grow up to 18 metres and offer dense foliage, perfect as a backdrop.

Then, plant mid-sized shrubs such as the Dappled Willow in front, adding interest with its pink-hued leaves. Finally, introduce smaller plants like Ninebark with burgundy foliage and white flowers to the front tier, adding depth and seasonal colour to your privacy screen.

privacy shrubs

Accentuating paths and walkways

Line your paths and walkways with shrubs to guide visitors on a journey through your garden. Use shrubs such as Hebes, with their dense leaves, to create a formal edge, giving your walkway an elegant frame.

Introduce flowering varieties that bloom at different times, ensuring your path is surrounded by colour and life throughout the year, offering not just privacy from neighbours but also a multi-sensory experience.

Crafting outdoor living spaces for privacy

To create a secluded nook in your outdoor space, use shrubs judiciously. Encircle a patio or a seating area with fast-growing varieties like the ‘Emerald Green’ arborvitae. These create a lush, green wall and offer privacy for your outdoor living areas.

You can also add shrubs with flowers or fall colour to these private retreats, turning them into focal points during blooming seasons or when the leaves change, infusing the space with seasonal splendour.

Summing up

There are plenty of fast growing shrubs to choose from to enhance the privacy of your garden. Think about the look that you want to achieve, and make sure you choose plants that will suit your conditions.

Planting hedges and screens can be one of teh quickest and most satisfying ways of quickly transforming your garden.

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