Plan a Living Privacy Fence

Use gorgeous native plants to create a place of solitude on your property this season with a living privacy fence.

Photo by Adobe Stock/Christophe Fouquin.

When Esmee Mckee and her family moved to their farm in Owenton, Kentucky, they had more in mind than just growing organic vegetables. Their house faces a road, and one particular goal they had was to create some privacy around their front porch and patio, where they spend time as a family. So, they decided to turn to plants to shield the view of cars passing by.

For the landowner who wants to cultivate a natural-looking landscape while also buffering a noisy roadway or creating a degree of privacy, a living fence or “hedgerow” offers an alternative to expensive wooden privacy fences. These natural barriers are composed of a variety of trees, shrubs, grasses, and groundcovers, typically arranged in a hedge that’s 5 to 10 feet deep.

Nick McCullough, a landscape designer and partner at McCullough’s Landscape & Nursery in New Albany, Ohio, regularly installs living fences for his clients. “Although many people love their neighbors, they don’t want to see them all the time,” he says. While hiring a professional like McCullough is always an option, DIY landowners can effectively install their own living fence with a little forethought and planning.

Photo by Getty Images/omersukrugoksu.

Selecting Your Plants

When Mckee and her husband began selecting plants for their living privacy fence, they turned to ones they knew grew well in their area. They wanted mostly trees and year-round coverage, so they chose evergreens — blue spruces and pines — as the backbone of their living fence. Then they filled in gaps with faster-growing ornamental grasses to provide coverage while the trees matured, as well as other plants they liked, such as lilacs, spirea, and even a Japanese maple.

Jorge' (amigo)
5/15/2020 7:14:13 PM

Definitely talk to an attorney ! If you choose the suggested 6 ft. fence route make sure there are no jurisdictional limitations on fence height, if there are NONE put up an 8 ft fence, and use barn stock pressure treated 6" x 6" posts in concrete !

5/23/2019 11:36:00 PM

Fence...and talk to a lawyer (free consults) about suing him for trespass and malicious destruction of property about the hedges. Maybe your state allows for punitive damages. Never know until you ask or research...good luck. He could probably be breaking municipal codes too depending on where that tree was.

4/13/2019 1:54:03 PM

Put up a 6’ wood fence. That is what I had to do!

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