Many years ago, at a previous home, Danielle had neighbors who liked to use their in-plain-view hot tub in the buff. Memories of that prompted this week’s podcast discussion on great varieties of plants for privacy. We’ll explore evergreen and deciduous options and how both types can be used to provide unobtrusive separation or to create a wall of total exclusion. So if you’re looking for ways to block out the nosy—or nude—neighbors, we’ve got some great recommendations.
Expert: Ed Gregan, Northeast field representative for Carlton Plants in Dayton, Oregon.
One of the least expensive and fastest-growing options for an evergreen privacy screen is white pine (Pinus strobus and cvs., Zones 3–8). Even though their bases can get a bit spindly over time, they’re still a long-lived option that offers a lot of versatility.
Although in a previous episode we ragged on beautybush (Kolkwitzia amabilis, Zones 4–8) for having a short-flowering period in spring, it does form an impenetrable mass of dense branches, making it an ideal candidate for informal screening.
Another deciduous option, winter hazel (Corylopsis pauciflora, Zones 6–8), also forms a thicket of stems that is dense enough to obscure the view of the neighbors beyond. When it bursts into bloom in early spring, the small buttercup flowers are just about as charming as it gets.
Steve and Danielle can never remember which type of arborvitae is deer-resistant, but luckily this week’s expert, Ed Gregan, can. Western arborvitae (Thuja plicata and cvs., Zones 5–7) grows quickly, is evergreen, and has a more natural and relaxed habit than its deer-prone cousin, Eastern arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis, Zones 2–7).