The fence is the easiest way to divide boundaries and to create privacy in your backyard. However, the difficulty with fences is that many municipalities only allow for the construction of fences that are 6 feet in height. This limits to the amount of privacy that can be achieved with just a fence. If you would like to have anything taller, there are a few simple ways in which privacy can be achieved. The best such way being, with plants!
There are plants that make excellent options for planting a living fence. Depending on what look you are trying to go for, there are many different types of trees and shrubs that would work. If privacy is what you are looking for, evergreen trees and shrubs would be the way to go. Since these plants do not lose their foliage in the fall, they are able to work year-round in providing a screen that can fully break the line of sight. The best plants to use in these areas would be arborvitae, yews, junipers, hemlocks, pines, or spruce. These upright varieties would be used when privacy is the issue at hand. They grow tall and narrow, meaning that they can provide the height without taking up much space on the ground. An important note when choosing the varieties is the fully-grown size of the plant. If you are not careful in your selection, you may end up having a living fence that becomes way too tall for the intended application. Living fences can also be achieved with smaller shrubs as well.
If a fence is still desired, but height is not an issue, many shrubs of the same kinds of plants can be used to create a living fence. Instead of using upright plants, vase or globe shaped plants can be used to achieve the same effect of a fence. There are a few other plants, such as boxwood, that would do well in this situation, that was not listed above. It is important, once you have chosen the plants that you would like to use, that they are planted correctly to create, a hedge, or fence.
There are two ways that a living fence can be planted. The first, would be to simply space the individual plants a little bit closer together on center than the recommended spacing. This allows for the plants to grow and knit together into one solid form over time. One of the only real drawbacks to this method, is that you can more easily create ‘holes’ in the fence, because the plant material is only one layer thick. The other way would be to plant two rows of plants, and to stagger them. This gives a thicker hedge, but will end up taking up more space on the ground, than a single planted row would.
Depending on the situation that you are in, planting a living privacy fence could be better than building a traditional fence. The largest benefit to having a living fence, is that you can achieve a much greater height than most cities allow with a wooden fence.