Landscape & Gardening

Natural Backyard Privacy!

Here are things for you to consider when planning your natural backyard privacy fence

Decide how high you want your screen

Determine how high you want your screen. Put a ladder or have someone stand where you are considering placing the hedge, this will let you visually see how high you want your screen.

Decide how much width you have available

After figuring out your main reason for planting and how high you want your hedge, the next step is to determine how much space you have available. If you have a large amount of space available you may consider making a double or triple row.

Rows and Spacing

The amount of space you have and how dense you want your screen will determine the number of rows you plant. Spacing between rows is based on crown width, but at a minimum try to avoid root crowding by setting at least 12″ to 24″ apart measuring from the center of the plant. Spacing will depend on the type of shrub or tree you are planting and how close you want them at maturity.

Map out your planting area

Once you have picked out your plants you are now ready to map out the location of your plants.

You can do this by putting wooden stakes in the ground at each end and tie a string between them. This will make sure you have a straight row or rows. Based upon the amount of space you have determined from Step 5, place a sprinkler flag or other marker along the string. (Example: You determined that 24 inches is the amount appropriate for your plan and plants. You would then place a sprinkler flag at 24 inches, 48 inches, 72 inches, and so on.

Training your shrubs as a hedge

Start training your shrubs after it is established and growing vigorously. Generally this takes 1-2 seasons after planting.

To train as a hedge, trim top and sides a few times per year as necessary, removing about one-half the length of new shoots. Most needled evergreens make their growth early in the season, while most broadleaf evergreens and deciduous plants grow over a longer period of time. Ideal hedge shapes are wider at the base than the top, to allow sunlight to reach the lower leaves.

Training a tree like a juniper, cedar, or pine is not recommended. If you are using a tree to create a hedge or screen, it is best to allow them to grow naturally and follow good pruning techniques.

Read more on planting your privacy hedge at Arbor Day Foundation.

Fall is a great time to plant trees and shrubs. They will have plenty of time for the roots to take hold before winter sets in.

With the weather being cooler in the fall, it will take a lot less water to keep them healthy.

See our article on Fall Tree Planting.

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