Alternatives to Privacy Fencing


Standard privacy fencing can create a backyard escape or block street noise and traffic. Using materials other than wood, metal, or plastic may yield some superior alternatives to lend both beauty and additional privacy to your outdoor world.

Tree Perimeter

  • Instead of constructing a grid of wooden planks or metal rods to delineate your property, plan ahead for future generations and plant fast-growing trees that will blend together and form a close-knit screen of living material. For excellent privacy-giving barriers, Better Homes and Gardens suggests columnar juniper and white pine in colder zones 3 and 4, and English laurel and yew for mid-range zones with cold hardiness down to zone 5 or 6. Privet and boxwood are landscaping varieties that can grow tall like the evergreen tree and dense like a shrub.

Shrub Border

  • The ambiguous term shrub can mean a small bush-like plant, but it also refers to large, almost tree-like masses, often with flowering branches and rich, thick foliage. Shrubs like the lilac, hydrangea and rhododendron all have beautiful green leaves that remain seated even after gorgeous, rainbow-hued blooms leave the bush. Species of these shrubs can grow anywhere from six to 20 feet tall, providing a tree-like canopy of lush green and lovely blooms to shade and protect your privacy. Be sure to check cold hardiness and specific species for drought and disease tolerance before making the long-term commitment a shrub requires.

Vine-covered Trellis

  • If you prefer a structure rather than living fence material, consider covering a trellis or lattice base with a climbing, flowering vine or bush. The choices for foliage texture and bloom color are nearly endless with climbing varieties, and there is sure to be the perfect choice for your climate zone and soil conditions among them. Examples of hearty selections in which you will find a variety of suitable species for your area include climbing roses, trumpet vines and wisteria. Ivy is another dense vine screen choice, but it is pervasive and will overtake trees and other nearby structures, as well as trail away from the support structure if not dutifully tended to. Trellis and lattice structures, of materials including wood but preferably metal, should be sturdy enough to bear the weight of mature vines that can become quite large.

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