How to Add Privacy Screening to Your Property with Plants as an Alternative to a Fence

by on October 6th, 2010
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Privacy can be constructed on your property by building a fence, but fences can be so sterile and lacking in aesthetics. An alternative is to focus on the aesthetics of landscaping while also providing the utilitarian purpose of keeping prying eyes and feet away from what goes on your yard. This can be done by utilizing the natural screening protection offered by plants.

One of the benefits of choosing screening with plants over screening with fencing is that you have more latitude in the architectural layout. A fence can curve, but doing so can be difficult for an amateur to pull off and may be limited by the layout of the land. The rigidity of fencing can be undone by investing in plants that are much more fluid and easier to alter afterward.

Among the elements to keep in mind when choosing plants for the purpose of screening is the density of the foliage, changes in the shape as the seasons affect the plant and whether the privacy is only going to be available during certain seasons. You should also keep uppermost in mind the aesthetic beauty of the plants you choose. Trees and shrubs that keep out eyes but make you want to turn your eyes away are not a good substitute for an attractive fence.

A number of different types of plants are especially suitable for the purpose of replacing the fencing that you want for the creation of privacy. If you have the money and live in an area where they can thrive, you can’t ask for a better combination of effectiveness and beauty than red or white spruce trees. Those living in southern climates where the big spruce trees of the north are not a good option can look instead to elm, magnolia and oak trees.

If you and your neighbors share a border located in the southwest, the plant made famous by the rock band U2 comes in handy. A few Joshua trees effectively situated can make for a very aesthetically pleasing screen. Another good choice for desert dwellers is the ironwood.

Those living on the vast prairies of the heartland are facing the problem of privacy issues with neighbors more and more and are not exactly overflowing with native options. Two plants that are especially and effectively put into action, however, are the juniper and white cedar. Dot the landscape with a pretty little plum trees here and there to increase the aesthetics.

These major additions to the plant based screening plan can then be utilized as the foundation for the addition of other plants that may aid in privacy concerns by keeping out unwanted intruders of both the two and four footed variety. Thorny plants can do wonders to keep away those who might present a problem. Green hawthorn, southern dewberry, bristly locust and Cat’s claw are all effective additions to your natural screen.

If you find that the choices for providing natural privacy lacks a little in the looks department, consider the judicious placement of a flowering tree. Jamaica dogwood, tulip poplars, mountain camellia and button brush can do an amazing job of adding just the right touch of beauty to keep the screen layout from making it look too much like it was intended to serve as an alternative to fencing.


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