If your garden is overlooked, perhaps by the street or a neighbour’s window, then a privacy fence is going to be essential. But why get a tradition fence when you can plant a natural tree fence? Depending on the trees that you choose and your budget, you can have complete privacy almost immediately. Of course, you might end up waiting for a while until whatever you choose grows high enough, and not all trees make great options. So how exactly should you be making your decision?
Why Trees are a Great Choice
Before we get into the concerns that you have, let’s first outline why trees are a good choice here. You could always use a traditional fence, and whilst this is perhaps a cheaper option, it will need replacing with time, installation is more difficult than simply planting trees, and it’s just not as attractive. Hedges and shrubs can also make for great privacy fences, but maintenance here than becomes the issue. Trees are far lower maintenance than shrubs or hedges, making them the ideal choice.
So How Should I Choose?
If you’re trying to decide which trees are right for you, then there are a few concerns that you’ll need to keep in mind:
- Size: Your first concern is size. How high do you need these trees to be? If you need something pretty tall then you’re going to be looking at spending more for mature trees, waiting a good long time, or choosing something that’s particularly fast growing.
- Cost: Mature trees are going to cost more than small trees, though you don’t wait as long for them to grow to size, so keep that in mind!
- Maintenance: Trees are generally quite low maintenance, but there are always exceptions. Do make sure that you know how to care for the trees you choose. And also keep in mind that trees may need to be pruned or cut, particularly if they begin to encroach on the neighbour’s property.
- Time: It sounds obvious, but trees can take a while to grow! Depending on the species you choose, you may be waiting years for your trees to grow into the appropriate size and shape!
- Shape: And speaking of shape, you’ll need to decide what kind of shape you’re looking for. Elongated species, like conifers, tend to be good choices as they give more privacy but they do also block more light. More traditional tree shapes can be beautiful, but you won’t have privacy around the bottom area of the tree, only around the top where there’s more foliage.
- Blooming Time: And finally, you’ll want to think about that foliage. Many trees lose their leaves in winter, leaving you unprotected and meaning there’s plenty of garden clean up. Evergreens won’t lose their foliage, but then they do tend to be darker and to block light.
There’s plenty to think about here if you’re choosing trees. But if you’re looking for some great recommendations, then here are some kinds of trees that you might want to check out!
Hybrid Willow Trees
Hybrid willows make great privacy fences for a variety of reasons. Firstly, they grow big and they grow fast. A hybrid willow will grow somewhere between 6 and 12 feet a year, to a maximum height of around 40 feet or so (even taller if a tree is planted alone rather than in rows). This could mean extra maintenance and pruning though if that’s too tall for your garden. They have dense foliage which is ideal for privacy. They do well in all kinds of soil and sunlight conditions, and even in severe cold. You will need to ensure that they get enough water though, at least an inch a week. But if you’re looking for a full coverage, affordable, fast-growing option, then hybrid willows are perfect.
Leylandii – Leyland Cypress
Leyland Cypress trees are the traditional choice for privacy fences and have many advantages. They’re cheap, grow fast, are easy to take care of, and give full coverage. The Leyland Cypress is an evergreen, so you won’t need to worry about sweeping up leaves, and grows to a height of around 50 feet or so (around 3 feet a year). As an additional bonus, the Leyland Cypress is a wide tree, growing to about 15 feet across, so you won’t need to plant many. If you live close to the coast this is an ideal choice, since they adapt well to salty soil. Leyland Cypress don’t do well with extreme heat though, and their close foliage can make them too dark from some properties.
Juniperus Scopulorum Skyrocket
So far we’ve dealt with some pretty big trees, but if you’ve got a smaller garden then the Skyrocket Juniper may be a better bet for you. These trees grow to around 15 feet or so and are around 3 feet wide with medium-dense foliage, so you should still get plenty of light. They grow around 2 feet per year, so they’re quite speedy. They also don’t particularly like being pruned, so they’re low maintenance too. They do well in dryer soils and need to be planted around 5 feet apart. Whilst Junipers are a beautiful choice though, they’re definitely not the cheapest option on this list.
Green Giant Thuja
Looking for absolutely the easiest possible option? Then meet the Green Giant Thuja. These are the absolute lowest maintenance choice out there. You need to do literally nothing other than plant them. They grow super fast (around 5 feet a year), and they’re big with a maximum height of about 25 feet and a width of around 7 feet, so again, you won’t need to plant many. They’re evergreen, so there’s no worry about falling leaves. No pruning is necessary (though you can shape them if you want). And they grow in pretty much any conditions at all. A very affordable option the only real downside to the Green Giant Thuja is that they are very dense, making them too dark for some properties.
And So Many More!
There are plenty of choices depending on what exactly you’re looking for. If you’re looking for something unique and fast-growing then check out Phyllostachys Bamboo. Magnolia trees can also make good choices if you’re looking for something flowering, though they do tend to take a little longer to grow than some of our other options (and you might want to opt for an evergreen variety). If you need something to block only an upper level (perhaps over an existing fence) then Photinia trees are a beautiful low maintenance option with their brightly coloured leaves. Silver Birch is a good choice for something that looks great and grows relatively fast, though it is wider than some people may need. Hornbeams and Crabapples are also pretty fast growing and low maintenance options that provide for more light than evergreen choices.
There really are tons of choices out there for you. These are just some of our favourites, but it’s always a good idea to enquire at your local garden centre for ideas to ensure that you’re getting something that’s truly suited to your needs and local climate and soil conditions.
A tree fence is a great idea to not only give you more privacy but also to make your garden look fantastic!