Garden Photo of the Day

Creating Privacy With a Garden

Shrubs and perennials create a wonderful privacy screen

My name is Mary Morgan, and I am a hobby gardener. This 1970s house near Redding, California, is new to me. I needed some privacy from the street, and I wanted to muffle the road noise from the cars. The house needed a softer look, and my soul needed a garden!

I had two dump trucks of garden soil delivered. I had the soil mounded to follow the curve. I used newspaper to kill the grass where I was going to garden. I planted Nandina (Nandina domestica, Zones 6–11), rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis, Zones 7–10), and tall bearded iris (Iris germanica, Zones 4–9) to provide year-round interest in my Zone 9 garden. I used spring bulbs and annuals for additional year-round color.

This makeover was a relatively inexpensive way to address all my needs. The garden is low maintenance and uses less water than the old lawn!

The after shot. This garden certainly met Mary’s needs. The thick planting provides a lot of privacy and will muffle the road noise. Mounding up soil is also a great idea, as that is an easy way not only to ensure that plants have good drainage but also to make everything taller so as to create a better privacy screen faster.

This view toward the house from the road clearly shows how effective a privacy screen this garden is. You could get the same effect with a simple hedge, but the diverse set of plants makes this garden far more beautiful and interesting.

Uh oh … Other visitors are enjoying the garden as well. Mary’s garden is stocked, by necessity, with deer-resistant plants. A lot of us have problems with deer in our gardens, and we basically have two choices: plant things they don’t want to eat, or put up a very tall fence.

One last view of the garden, with some lovely bearded irises catching the sun.


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View Comments


  1. User avater
    meander_michaele 03/05/2019

    Hi, Mary, all your plantings seem to have settled in beautifully and your home looks cozily nestled in behind them. I'm sure your soul and your house "spirit" are well soothed to be greeted and surrounded by greenery and colorful flowers. Mounding up was a great idea and all that nutritious new soil gave everything a great start to thrive. Very nice job!

  2. nwphillygardener 03/05/2019

    Good job, Mary! I think such plantings also help the character of a neighborhood where houses dominate and the plantings seem to be incidental. I hope your clever strategy of building and planting a berm inspires others to do the same.

    1. nwphillygardener 03/05/2019

      …and lets remember we can create this lush botanical island anywhere using Mary's technique. It seems most folks instinctively develop only the perimeters of their property with planted garden beds. And tall planted islands can hide undesirable vistas, soften traffic noise, define garden rooms or simply add some mystery within the garden experience.

      1. Musette1 03/06/2019

        yep! and they look pretty, too!

  3. User avater
    treasuresmom 03/05/2019

    Love those irises!

  4. cheryl_c 03/05/2019

    Thank you for these pictures - I've been talking with a neighbor who has requested help with designing a garden, and I'd mentioned a berm garden (her lot is very flat and compacted red clay) - now you have given me some pictures to show her what I mean. Nice plant choice, and I'm so glad you did a mixed screen rather than all one variety.

  5. btucker9675 03/05/2019

    What a beautiful way to provide a screen from the noise of the "real world" - this is really lovely and I know it delights your gardening soul!

  6. User avater
    simplesue 03/06/2019

    That is gorgeous solution to sheltering your house from road with the mound of soil then growing a thick garden- love it. It sure makes the house look right sitting there.

  7. User avater
    CynthiaDow 07/09/2019

    Thanks for sharing!

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