Creating a living wall with plants for screening and privacy can be as easy as planting one tree, or as involved as creating an elaborate garden. You might have a view in your yard that you would like to screen — maybe you can see an air conditioning unit or your neighbors’ trash cans. Or perhaps you have a deck or patio that you would like to enclose for privacy. Ask yourself a few questions:
#1 How large is your space? Make sure your solution is in keeping with the scale of the space.
#2 Is winter coverage a factor? Remember that evergreens might influence wind and sun exposure on your house.
#3 What about maintenance? Love to be out in the garden, grasses might work for you. Have no time for maintenance, evergreen trees and shrubs are ideal. Save yourself a headache by selecting the right plant for the right space.
#4 Can some columnar shrubs and other layered plants do the trick?
#5 On a patio or deck, could some carefully placed containers solve your problem?
Many different types of plants may be used for screening.
For year round solutions try one of the evergreen trees. ‘Green Giant’ Arborvitea, ‘Sugar and Spice’ Arborvitea, ‘Taylor’ Juniper, or Southern Magnolias. For smaller areas Hollies, Boxwood, and evergreen Viburnum work well and thrive in St. Louis.
Small ornamental trees like Japanese Maples, Serviceberry, or the Missouri native Fringe Tree add beauty and privacy. Outstanding shrubs for privacy include Viburnums, Buckeye, Weigelas, and the taller Hydrangeas.
Good medium to large deciduous screening trees include Carolina Silverbell, Kousa Dogwood, and Maples.
Grasses and tall perennials make fun, unique hedges, but must be cut down once a year in spring. The different varieties of Maidenhair Grass, Miscanthus, work great. Tall perennials include some Black-eyed-Susans, Cup Plants, Bee Balms, and Joe Pye Weed.
Vines on trellises make special types of walls. ‘Major Wheeler’ Lonicera brings hummingbirds to its sweet red trumpets all summer. The taller Clematis work beautifully. For a wonderfully scented wall plant a ‘Sweet Summer Love’ Clematis and enjoy its magnificent flowers and perfume for months. Mix annual and perennial vines together for nonstop blooms. Grow vines on climbing roses, up trees, up deck supports — anywhere you would like coverage.
Containers – Try anything in a container! Roses, shrubs, small trees…Group various-sized containers together for a mass display. Use container colors as part of your design, or choose a neutral color, like terra cotta, and let the plants be the focal point.
A Sampling of Top Plants Useful for Screening and Privacy
Below you will find plant suggestions for screening and privacy.