Best Privacy Trees for Small Backyards
Tired of prying eyes watching your every move in your backyard? Privacy trees offer a natural solution that can make your outdoor space feel more discreet.
They can also help block out the noise and unattractive views that you sometimes get living in a city. But not all trees have characteristics to make good privacy trees. Here’s what you need to know.
The best privacy trees all have similar features.
- Fast growing: When you buy trees from a nursery, they're not typically huge. Choosing a variety that grows quickly helps fill out your privacy barrier without waiting years to get there.
- Easy to grow: You want a robust tree that's not susceptible to a lot of diseases or damage. Because the trees are usually planted close together, diseases and pests will spread quickly. Low-maintenance trees let you enjoy your privacy without always tending to your trees.
- Dense foliage: A tree with dense foliage blocks the view well, which is the whole purpose of the trees.
- Evergreen: An evergreen variety is ideal to give you privacy year-round. Deciduous trees that lose their leaves won't provide any privacy in late fall, winter or early spring. If you only need privacy in the warmer months, you can choose a deciduous variety.
- Grow close together: The best tree options can grow close together and remain healthy. If you have to leave large gaps between them, you won't have a solid privacy screen.
- Adequate height: The trees should have a mature height that's above your head to provide enough coverage. In a small backyard, you don't want the tree to grow too high, though, or it might overwhelm the space.
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Lots of trees work to create privacy, but small backyards require a more selective process. You don't want a tree that will be massive when it matures. The following trees give you good privacy features without making your yard look like an overgrown jungle.
The Emerald Green Arborvitae is a popular evergreen privacy tree that grows to be 12 to 20 feet high and 3 to 10 feet wide. You can prune it to keep it smaller for a better fit in your tiny backyard. If you live in a cold climate, this tree holds up well to those cold temperatures, and it's resistant to many pests and diseases, making it a sturdy option. This option is very low-maintenance and grows well. However, it can be toxic to pets, so you might want to skip this one if you have a canine companion that spends time in the yard.
A narrow, upright evergreen, the Blue Arrow Juniper has a mature height of 12 to 15 feet, which keeps it manageable in a small backyard. It's also narrow at about 2 feet wide. This evergreen grows fairly quickly, with an average growth of 15 to 18 inches every year, which helps it reach a height for effective privacy quickly. Dense foliage takes on a blue-green color, adding a unique and beautiful look to your privacy trees.
This upright evergreen features a golden hue to its foliage, which grows densely to help block the view into your yard. Forever Goldy Arborvitae matures at 10 to 12 feet high and 3 to 3.5 feet wide, keeping it compact and tidy for a small space. It loves full-sun locations and is drought-tolerant. This evergreen is also easy to care for, making it a good candidate for privacy.
The Leyland Cypress is a popular option for privacy and windbreaks because it offers dense foliage and grows well in a variety of environments. When allowed to grow naturally, the Leyland Cypress can reach 60 to 70 feet high and 15 to 25 feet wide. A fast-growing option, this evergreen typically grows over 24 inches per year. However, you can prune it into a hedge and shape it as desired year after year without harming the tree. That means you can keep it a smaller size to fit your smaller backyard if desired.
Many holly trees make good privacy walls, but the Needlepoint Holly can be a good option for small spaces. You can grow it as a hedge up to 15 feet tall or train it as a tree up to 20 feet tall. It's a fast-growing tree with dense foliage, making it suitable for privacy and as a windbreak. This holly tree displays bright red berries, adding a colorful touch to your living privacy wall. The fruit is mildly toxic, so it's not the best option if you have kids or pets.
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