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13 Types of Evergreens to Plant for Privacy

A line of evergreen trees or shrubs can provide year-round seclusion even better than a fence. Here are some of the best and fastest-growing evergreens to consider planting in your yard.

Evergreen Shrubs In Backyard For Privacy Photo by Karen Bussolini

If you cherish your privacy and want to ward off noise pollution from your street, planting evergreen privacy trees and shrubs around your yard is a great way to create a barrier between your home and the outside world.

A line of evergreen trees or shrubs can provide year-round seclusion even better than a fence, because there are no municipal restrictions on how high they can grow. (Towns usually require permits for a fence over 6 feet tall.) However, if there are power lines above your screen, you don't want trees so big that they'll grow into the wires. Also pay attention to their width at maturity; the spacing between trunks when you plant should equal mature width.

While the ideal growing conditions vary by species, one thing all these evergreens have in common is a love of the sun. Give them at least 6 hours of direct sunlight a day and their foliage will remain full and keep your privacy intact.

Read on to learn about some of the best evergreen trees and shrubs that are low maintenance, beautiful and easy to plant in your yard.

Shown: For more information on the Green Giant arborvitae shown here, see the next image.

Evergreen Plants For Privacy

Plant an Evergreen Screen

Arborvitae ‘Green Giant’ Muddy Creek Nursery

How to do it: Plant an evergreen privacy screen on the north side of your house to block winter winds. Arborvitae 'Green Giant' can climb 3 feet in one year.

Estimated cost: $92 for two; Jackson & Perkins

Leyland Cypress

Leyland Cypress Evergreen Photo by Mihaela Ninic/ Alamy

(x Cupressocyparis leylandii)

Foliage: Taking a broad to tapering form, this dense hybrid has smooth bark with dark green to grayish fans of foliage.

Dimensions at Maturity: Grows up to 70 feet high and 15 feet wide in planting zones 6 to 10.

Spacing: 15 feet

Rocky Mountain Juniper

Rocky Mountain Juniper Shrub Photo by KENPEI/ GFDL

(Juniperus scopulorum 'Wichita Blue')

Foliage: Bright blue-gray needles cover this shrub, which takes a pyramidal form with exfoliating red-brown bark.

Dimensions at Maturity: Grows up to 30 feet high and 6 feet wide in planting zones 3 to 7.

Spacing: 6 feet

Italian Cypress

Italian Cypress Evergreen Photo by Hans A. Rosbach/ GFDL-CC

(Cupressus sempervirens)

Foliage: A tall, narrow conifer, it forms a dense column of gray-green to dark green needles and upright branches.

Dimensions at Maturity: Grows up to 70 feet high and 20 feet wide in planting zones 7 to 10.

Spacing: 20 feet

White Spruce

White Spruce Tree For Evergreen Privacy Screen Photo by Cruiser/ GDFL

(Picea glauca)

Foliage: This narrow, conical-shaped tree has stiff blue-green needles and gray-brown bark.

Dimensions at Maturity: Grows up to 60 feet high and 20 feet wide in planting zones 3 to 6.

Spacing: 20 feet

Hicksii Yew

Hicksii Yew Shrub For Privacy Photo by mobot.org

(Taxus x media 'Hicksii')

Foliage: The soft needles form a dense, dark green barrier, but can brown with exposure to winter winds.

Dimensions at Maturity: Grows up to 20 feet high and 12 feet wide in planting zones 4 to 7.

Spacing: 12 feet

American Holly

American Holly For Evergreen Privacy Photo by B. Christopher/ Alamy

(Ilex opaca)

Foliage: A narrow shrub with a pencil-like form, it has multiple stems covered in glossy dark green leaves. Small green-white flowers show up in spring.

Dimensions at Maturity: Grows up to 10 feet high and 3 feet wide in planting zones 6 to 8.

Spacing: 3 feet

Japanese Holly

Japanese Holly Shrub For Evergreen Privacy Photo by Derek Ramsey/ Chanticleer Garden

(Ilex crenata 'Sky Pencil')

Foliage: A narrow shrub with a pencil-like form, it has multiple stems covered in glossy dark green leaves. Small green-white flowers show up in spring.

Dimensions at Maturity: Grows up to 10 feet high and 3 feet wide in planting zones 6 to 8.

Spacing: 3 feet

Western Red Cedar

Western Red Cedar Tree For Privacy Photo by JFKCom/ GFDL

(Thuja plicata)

Foliage: A large tree with reddish-brown bark, it grows in a conical shape that broadens with age.

Dimensions at Maturity: Reaches up to 70 feet high and 25 feet wide in planting zones 5 to 7.

Spacing: 25 feet

Techny Arborvitae

Techny Arborvitae For Evergreen Privacy Photo by Flickr

(Thuja occidentalis 'Techny')

Foliage: This dwarfed, compact arborvitae keeps its color all winter.

Dimensions at Maturity: Grows up to 15 feet high and 10 feet wide in planting zones 2 to 8.

Spacing: 10 feet

Emerald Green Arborvitae

Emerald Green Arborvitae For Evergreen Privacy Photo by mobot.org

(Thuja occidentalis 'Smargd')

Foliage: This semidwarf shrub forms a compact, narrow pyramid of bright green foliage in flat fans.

Dimensions at Maturity: Grows up to 14 feet high and 4 feet wide in planting zones 2 to 7.

Spacing: 4 feet

Eastern Red Cedar

Eastern Red Cedar Tree For Privacy Photo by USDA

(Juniperus virginiana)

Foliage: Broad, conical tree with horizontal branching covered in dark blue-green scale-like foliage and gray to reddish-brown exfoliating bark.

Dimensions at Maturity: Grows up to 65 feet high and 25 feet wide in planting zones 2 to 9.

Spacing: 25 feet

Nigra Arborvitae

Nigra Arborvitae For Privacy Photo by <a href=”http://www.packsnursery.com/NigraArborvitae.html” target=”_blank”>Pack’s Nursery, Inc.</a>

(Thuja occidentalis 'Nigra')

Foliage: A conical or narrow pyramidal tree with flat, dark green needles.

Dimensions at Maturity: Grows up to 30 feet tall and 10 feet wide in planting zones 3 to 7.

Spacing: 10 feet

Smooth Cypress

Smooth Cypress Tree For Evergreen Privacy Photo by blickwinkle/ Alamy

(Cupressus arizonica var. glabra)

Foliage: This drought-tolerant conifer has smooth, reddish-purple bark and pointed blue-gray needles.

Dimensions at Maturity: Grows up to 50 feet high and 12 feet wide in planting zones 7 to 9.

Spacing: 12 feet