Privacy trees make your yard look great and they offer shade, noise baffling and visual privacy for your family. If you’re thinking of planting a privacy wall, you need to choose the best trees for your yard, so here’s a quick 101 to help you.

Planting Trees for Privacy – What You Need to Know

Proper planning

Don’t rush into picking any old tree, as once established, they’re hard to uproot and dispose of. Think about their purpose – are they just for privacy, or for colour and texture? If you have a particular vision, this will help you to choose your ideal trees.

How large is your yard?

Where are these trees going and how many will you need? How much of your yard space will be taken up by the trees? If you only have a small space, you’ll need smaller trees like the emerald green thuja. For bigger yards – and trees – recommends thuja green giants, which reach 20-40 feet in height.

How high?

How high does your wall need to be? If you need a high wall, you’ll want a fast-growing tree, but you should beware of planting them near utility lines, as they really grow very fast. Factor in regular pruning costs.

The other thing about tall trees is that they have wide roots, so avoid underground structures like septic tanks. Fast-growers also tend to have short lifespans, so think a few decades ahead – is it worth your while to plant yew trees and wait, or do you need that barrier ASAP?

Caring for them

Most trees need moist, usually slightly acidic, soil. If your soil isn’t acidic, you might need to use a planting mix to start them off. Click here to Find out the pH so you know what fertilizers you need. You also need to water them regularly.

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Make sure they’ll get on with existing plants

Your new trees should like the same things as the plants they’re joining – if your plants are drought-tolerant, plant similar trees.

Ensure your trees are legal

Some neighbourhoods and states have restrictions on the types of trees you can plant, so make sure you’re good to go before buying anything.

Evergreen or deciduous?

This is important so you need to decide this early on.

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Evergreens give all-year-round coverage, but they’re not as good for shade as deciduous trees, as they tend to have needles rather than leaves (magnolia being a notable exception).


You’ll lose a lot of privacy when the leaves drop in winter, but you’ll get some amazing autumnal colours. Also, they’ll block the sun in the summer and let sunlight during winter, saving money on aircon and heating. However, they need extra care when they start growing leaves again in spring.

Spacing and size

Think about the space you’re covering and how high you want this screen to grow. Do you need one row of lush, wide trees, or two staggered rows of thinner trees? Make sure they’re planted at least 15 feet from your foundations and don’t forget those utility lines – aim for no more than 25 feet in height if you have lines running over your garden.

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