Best Plants for Privacy — 5 Types Experts Recommend to Plant Now for a Secluded Yard in Spring

If you're looking to make your yard more private this year, these are the best plants for privacy to plant now

A bamboo fence along the perimeter of a backyard
(Image credit: Joe Fletcher. Design: Feldman Architecture, Ground Studio Landscape Architecture)

If you're looking to create a little more seclusion in your backyard, your first consideration might be to erect a fence, but have you considered the best plants for privacy to keep those prying eyes away?

Trees are often used to build up textured foliage that can act almost like a natural wall, but there are some excellent options out there from the plant world, including shrubs and vines. And there is no time like the present, with spring on the horizon, now is the best time to get working on your backyard, introducing lush greenery along fences, patios and borders. Here, we speak to the gardening pros to pick out their five firm favorites that will transform the space.

1. Bamboo

A bamboo fence along the perimeter of a backyard

(Image credit: Joe Fletcher. Design: Feldman Architecture, Ground Studio Landscape Architecture)

Bamboo is a commonly used evergreen plant for backyard privacy, and spring is the optimum time to bring it into your garden as it shoots up during this time of year. 'Creating a private outdoor space with plants is a wonderful idea, and bamboo is fast-growing and dense, creating an excellent natural screen,' says professional gardener Zahid Adnan of The Plant Bible.

Growing up to two feet per week in ideal conditions, bamboo makes quick work of concealing unsightly views. Line it along a privacy fence, but make sure to consider the variety of bamboo before ordering. Clumping bamboo varieties are best for privacy, as they avoid aggressive spreading. Blue Chungii is a clumping bamboo that has a subtle blue hue and is perfect for clumping. 'Also try Oldhamii with its feathery green leaves with 20-foot mature height or Alphonse Karr, dense foliage that grows 15 to 20 feet tall,' recommends Lina Cowley, master botanist at Trimmed Roots.

Make sure to space plants 6 to 10 feet apart when using bamboo for privacy. 'Amend soil with compost or aged manure and water weekly until established,' advises Lina. 'Mulch around the base to conserve moisture and divide congested clumps every few years to encourage growth.'

2. Hydrangeas

hydrangeas next to an outdoor kitchen on a terrace

(Image credit: Matthew Williams. Design: Studio DB)

These flowering plants are a great option for lining the perimeter of your backyard and have the added benefit of a blooming season that spans spring, summer, and into early fall. These bushy plants grow up to 15 feet tall and are easy to care for, perfect for a low maintenance garden.

Hydrangeas have a reputation for bringing a touch of the Hamptons aesthetic to your garden, owing to their bold colored blooms, including pink, blue, purple, and white. The optimal time to plant hydrangeas is spring, but make sure you grow your hydrangeas around five feet apart to account for how big they grow.

If you want to control the coloring of your hydrangeas, soil with a pH lower than 6 creates blue or lavender-blue hydrangeas, while alkaline soil with a pH above 7 typically produces pink and red-toned hydrangeas.

3. Tall annuals

Vibrant pink and white summer flowering Cosmos flowers in summer sunshine

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Select the right annual plants to create that element of privacy. Bringing tall plants over a certain height can line your garden's wall and add a touch of drama and sculpture to your backyard.

'When seeking a quick privacy solution, fast-growing warm-season annuals fit the bill,' says Lina. 'Plant seeds or transplants of these towering plants during spring and site them along borders or around patios and pools - anywhere a temporary tall barrier is needed,' she says. Adding tall annuals along the bottom of a privacy screen is the perfect place to plant your annuals.

An example of a tall annual that provides a quick fix is a sunflower. These cheery yellow flowers grow up to 12 feet tall in the summer months. 'Cosmos are another abundant daisy-like bloom that grows up to six feet tall, and corn is another option, while corn forms a tall, dense wall of foliage that grows up to 10 feet tall. Just opt for horticultural varieties over sweetcorn,' says Lina.

Make sure you research when looking for the perfect tall annual plant, because some taller plants, like fox gloves, are in fact bi-annual. This means that unlike perennials, which come back each year, and annuals, which last only a single season, the plant takes two years to fully flower before finishing its life cycle.

4. Fast-growing vines

A vine with dark clusters on a stand in close-up

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Vines are a wonderful choice to plant in spring because the way they grow means they cling to any surface, offering vertical privacy solutions with little hard work. 'Use plants to create privacy in a backyard by installing garden trellises or pergolas and let climbing plants like clematis or jasmine clamber over them for added privacy,' says Zahid. The speed at which these vines spread too means you can guarantee shade under your structures come the warmer summer months.

One option for a reliable vine is clematis, known for its showy bloom in a variety of colors, while honeysuckle is a fragrant spring bloom on a vine that can grow 10 to 20 feet long. Grapevines are another popular option. They grow quickly and easily and in most climates, they even bear edible fruit and stretch up to 30 feet long.

5. Large shrubs

Thuja, row of trees in the garden

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Give your modern garden a feeling of enclosure with a well-positioned shrub. Arborvitae is an evergreen shrub that provides year-round privacy and is easy to maintain.

With its rapid, dense growth habit, arborvitae makes an exceptional living privacy fence. This hardy evergreen grows well, thriving in full sun to part shade. 'Arborvitae is available in a variety of cultivars, ranging in size, shape, and color,' points out Lina.

'Emerald green grows up to 15 feet tall and 5 feet wide and features soft, bright green foliage. Techny grows up to 15 feet tall and 3 feet wide. It has a narrow profile, making it ideal for tight spaces. Green giant grows up to 60 feet tall and 15 feet wide, it's a fast grower perfect for tall privacy screens.'

Space small plants two to four feet apart, while allowing six to 10 feet between large cultivars, and make sure to water arborvitae deeply once a week until established.

'When planting arborvitae, I dig extra-wide holes and backfill with compost-amended soil to give these privacy trees the nutrient-rich start they need for lush growth,' says Lina. 'I also apply a 2-inch layer of mulch around plants to help retain soil moisture.'

Boxwood, holly, or privet hedges are other classic shrubs that work to create a green barrier too. 'I also like flowering quinces, showy spring blooms on thorny branches growing 6 to 10 feet tall, as well as lilac - a gorgeous, fragrant spring blooms. It grows up to 15 feet tall and is available in many cultivars,' says Lina.

3 plants to buy now for a secluded backyard this spring

Oonagh Turner
Livingetc content editor and design expert

Oonagh is a content editor at and an expert at spotting the interior trends that are making waves in the design world. Writing a mix of everything and everything from home tours to news, long-form features to design idea pieces on the website, as well as frequently featured in the monthly print magazine, she's the go-to for design advice in the home. Previously, she worked on a London property title, producing long-read interiors features, style pages and conducting interviews with a range of famous faces from the UK interiors scene, from Kit Kemp to Robert Kime. In doing so, she has developed a keen interest in London's historical architecture and the city's distinct tastemakers paving the way in the world of interiors.