For a long-lasting and beautiful privacy hedge, plants just can’t be beat. There are varieties of evergreen and deciduous plants that will work well to create a privacy screen. Before you plant, prepare the soil to make sure there is adequate drainage. Planting in staggered double rows will assure your privacy at a quicker rate. Plant at the suggested distance apart. Placing your plants too close together will eventually hamper your plants’ growth and make them susceptible to disease.
Italian Cypress - This evergreen is a traditional border plant that is commonly used in areas that do not get much rainfall as it's drought tolerant. Growing to 60 feet high, each bush is only 1 to 2 feet wide, making it ideal for narrow spaces. It's hardy from zones 6 to 9 and needs full sun to grow. Encourage deep roots by soaking your plant at least once a week instead of more frequent, shallow watering. Italian Cypress is relatively maintenance-free with very little needle-fall. Trim branches to keep the bush's cylindrical shape. This evergreen grows slowly the first year while it's accommodating to its location, but growth speeds up in subsequent years.
Bamboo - Available in many sizes and varieties, bamboo makes the perfect privacy hedge. Mandake or giant timber bamboo can grow up to 72 feet tall, but averages 50 feet. It is cold hardy to zone 7 but won’t tolerate temperatures under 5 degrees Fahrenheit. Shiroshima is a stunningly beautiful bamboo reaching about 16 feet tall. Its green variegated leaves and bushier growth pattern make it an excellent screen for privacy. This bamboo takes partial to full sun. In full sun, the leaves will take on a purple tinge. It’s cold hardy to freezing temperatures, from zones 7 to 9.
Forsythia - With its beautiful yellow flowers and pleasing shape, forsythia bushes make a beautiful hedge. These bushes require full sun and well-drained soil. In the spring, the flowers bloom before the leaves, giving you a wall of yellow. This plant is low-maintenance. It requires pruning only every other year. Some varieties of forsythia, such as meadow lark, grow from 8 to 10 feet tall and spread 4 to 5 feet wide. There are shorter varieties, such as sunrise, which grow only 4 to 5 feet tall. They are deciduous, so they will lose their leaves in the fall.
Japanese Barberry - A hardy shrub, Japanese barberry grows up to 9 feet tall and spreads 8 feet wide. Yellow flowers bloom in April and last until winter. Barberries are deciduous and will lose their leaves late in the fall. Barberries do well in either full sun or partial shade and aren’t picky about their soil. Prune bushes for shape and size after they finish flowering in the late fall or early winter, but be careful, Japanese barberry does have thorns. Barberry has both male and female bushes that should be planted together in your hedge in order for your plants to produce ornamental berries in the fall. This shrub is hardy from zones 3 to 10.