Property-line plantings can provide year-round screening and are typically not restricted by municipal ordinances limiting their height. Where space is tight, as in a side yard, fast-growing columnar evergreens like Italian cypress and arborvitae or a sheared privet hedge can provide a simple solution for separating adjoining yards or blocking sight lines out a kitchen window.
To plant a new privet hedge, create a trench two feet wide and two feet deep, space individual shrubs about 12 inches apart, and bring soil up to the branching trunk. Water deeply and frequently the first year, using drip irrigation. To thrive, these deciduous shrubs require a temperate climate and a homeowner willing to wield sharp shears as often as needed.