When you go out into your backyard, do you worry about privacy? You most likely have neighbors very close by unless you live out in a rural area or own several acres. If this isn’t the case and you can see people every time you go into your yard, it can be difficult to sit down and really enjoy it.
Landscape edging makes wonderful boundaries that look natural and add a touch of green to your yard. Additionally, you can combine them with traditional wooden fences to help save a little money. As long as you keep up with them during the growing season, landscape edging will serve you well all spring, summer, and into the fall.
We’re going to outline several ways you can increase your privacy with landscape edging. You may have to get a little dirty and put it a little work, but it’s well worth the payoff to end up with a backyard oasis with beautiful garden edging you can’t wait to spend time in.
Taller plants will help you create a natural garden edging and garden border that blocks your neighbors view and encloses your space.
Shrubs and Small Trees
Using shrubs and trees in your garden edging is very easy and straightforward. The trick is to pick out shrubs or trees that are very dense and tall. They shouldn’t take up a lot of space over the edge of your lawn landscaping or your garden border either. The following shrubs are trees make excellent garden edging for both large and small yards:
- Canadian Hemlock – This tree grows well in Zones 3 to 7. You may know it has the Hemlock Spruce or the Eastern Hemlock. These trees can grow to huge heights while staying relatively dense and contained, and you can easily adapt them to thrive in different soil and moisture conditions.
- Arborvitae Green Giant – This is an evergreen with a very dense growth that is popular for blocking the wind and providing privacy as garden edging. It grows between 40 and 50 feet tall at full maturity if you grow it by itself. However, it’ll only grow to around 20 feet tall when you plant them close together in a row. You can trim it down to a six foot hedge without an issue, and this is common around residential homes. It grows best in Zones 4 to 8, and it’s resistant to drought and pests.
- Willow Hybrid – This is a very fast-growing tree that can eclipse six feet of growth in a single year. They grow best in Zones 4 through 9, and they thrive when you plant them in neat rows. They’ll top out at around 30 feet of fence foliage with thick trunks to block the view.
- Leyland Cypress – This is a second evergreen that has a very fast growth rate when you plant it in Zones 6 through 10. You do want to give this evergreen room to spread out, so make sure you plant them around six feet apart if you want to use them for garden edging. Left alone, they can reach 20 feet wide and 100 feet tall.
- Eastern Red Cedar – This is a very dense, small, aromatic evergreen shrub. It does very well in Zones 3 through 9, and it can grow between 20 and 40 feet tall. It resists heat and drought, and you can grow it in different soil conditions. Additionally, it grows very quickly and creates a beautiful garden border.
- Nellie R. Stevens Holly – If you’re worried about the area getting too much sun for your garden edging, try this evergreen. It can be in partial or full sun in Zones 6 to 9 without a problem. It’s very tolerant to droughts and heat, and it’s a low-maintenance option that can grow to be 30 feet high in a slightly conical shape.
Hedges are a very dense and thick option for your lawn and landscape edging that will help keep both people from seeing in and animals from getting through. You can shape this garden edging any way you like.
If you’re not sure which trees or evergreen shrubs will do well in your specific area, it’s always a good idea to look at the growing zones and ask your local nursery. Even if you don’t have a yard but you have a patio or balcony, you can create a garden edging wall with potted shrubs or trees.
Adding climbing plants and vines to your wooden pergola is a great way to give yourself shade and permanent privacy. Even after the plants die back, you can add walls to your pergola to keep the privacy levels up. What’s even better, you can add furniture or a firepit to create an instant gathering area in your yard that is private and comfortable. You can buy a pergola and pay to have a professional install it, or there are dozens of DIY tutorials available that will show you how to build and use this landscape edging idea to create a smaller private area and garden border in your yard or garden.
A pergola creates a nice shaded area where you can relax in your lawn or yard, and you can add things like curtains to your garden edging if your plants don’t give you enough privacy.
Adding a row of trellises with pretty flowers and climbing vines is a quick way to increase the privacy factor in your lawn or yard with natural landscape edging. They’re very easy to set up and move around, and you can put them straight in the ground or into containers to make them mobile. It gives your yard a beautiful look, and you can customize each one with your favorite plants. The vines will give you privacy long after the flowers die. Most home improvement stores have trellises ready to go, or you can create your own. Fir and cedar are excellent building materials, and you can add the following garden edging plants to block the view:
- Morning Glory – This is an annual flowering vine that grows very rapidly and does well in Planting Zones 3 to 10 as landscape edging. They grow very tall, and you can plant them in full sun or partial shade. The bright green vines make a beautiful offset for the deep purple flowers, and they’re very fragrant.
- Jasmine – If you want a very fragrant plant to grow on your trellis, try jasmine. Winter jasmine can survive in Zone 6, but most species only do well in Zones 9 to 10. You’ll get deep green leaves with bright white flowers that have a wonderful smell, and they’re very fast-growing.
- Bougainvillea – This climbing plant will only grow in Zone 10 and very warm climates, but it has a gorgeous look to it. It’s a very dense climbing vine that will cover your trellis in large sprays of purple flowers, and they can grow almost all year round with proper maintenance.
- Wisteria – Growing well in Zones 5 to 10, Wisteria creates a very dramatic look when it drapes over your trellises with sprays of lilac flowers that cascade off the vine. It can grow well in full or partial shade, but it’s a mildly toxic landscape edging choice for cats and dogs.
- Ivy – Ivy is a no-brainer for climbing plants, but they don’t flower. If you’re after a plant that creates long trailing vines with different shades of green on the leaves, ivy is the way to go. There are dozens of species available, and it’s a very hardy plant that can grow in Zones 4 through 8.
- Cucumbers – You can grow vegetables on your trellises too, and cucumbers are a wonderfully fast-growing vine with large leaves. They grow best in full to partial shade in Zones 4 to 12, and you can easily train them to drape over the edges of your trellis.
You can create a freestanding trellis, or you can use arched ones that will eventually create shade as your plants fill them in, creating beautiful garden edging.
When most people think of bamboo, they think of Asian countries. However, there are dozens of bamboo species that do well in all different climates, and they make great landscape edging. You get the coverage you need with your landscape edging with the additional perks of being very versatile. If you put your bamboo in planters, it’s very easy to set them up and move them at your convenience. If you think they’re getting too much sun or not enough, you can move them around accordingly. Line them up along the edge of your lawn or yard for an instant boost to your privacy levels.
Growing bamboo in tight clumps will create a very sturdy privacy shield that is difficult to get through, and this type of garden edging requires very low maintenance.
Did you know it’s possible to create a living wall with a vertical garden? You get the best of both worlds with this landscape edging because you end up with a living fence that is very easy to maintain but difficult to peer through. You can put whatever plants you like into the wall from vegetables and herbs to flowers. As they grow, they’ll start to cover any gaps in your walls to create a green wall. You can add row after row of pots in a staggered formation, or you can set individual spaces for the different plants. It allows you to free up space to use in your lawn or yard by putting a lot of planters off the ground.
Plant walls are a fun way to grow a host of different vegetables, flowers, and plants without taking up a lot of space, and you can make them as small or large as you need.
When people think of landscape edging or garden edging that can increase your privacy levels in your lawn or garden, we’re willing to bet that hedges popped into your mind. These are one of the most beautiful and natural solutions to your privacy issues available, but they can take a while to build up to your desired height. The best hedges that can increase your privacy include:
- Boxwood – Boxwood comes in several different species that all make good hedges. They can quickly and easily grow from six to eight feet tall, and they do well in Zones 5 through 8. You’ll get bushy foliage with a dark green coloring that is very attractive, and they require moderate trimming to look nice.
- Walter Viburnum – You can shape this plant into a small tree or a shrub, and it grows in Zones 6 to 10, depending on the type. In the early spring, this plant will bloom with small white flowers that stand out nicely against the green foliage, and they’re irresistible to butterflies. Songbirds and cardinals like to create nests in it too.
- Euonymus Manhattan – Growing in Zones 5 through 8 and growing around two feet per year, this hedge will tolerate heavy shearing. It’s popular in the Hamptons as natural landscape edging, and you can easily maintain a dense, tight hedge. It has broad leaves and a vibrant green coloring, but it’s a very high-maintenance option that the deer like to eat.
- Yellow Twig Dogwood – The Yellow Twig Dogwood grows best in Zones 3 to 8, and it can grow at an average of two feet every year. When this tree is mature, this hedge grows eight feet high and eight feet wide. It flowers in the spring, and the yellow stems give life to your yard during the colder winter months.
- Holly – There are 97 holly varieties available, and they can grow between 12 and 24 inches each year. Most holly species grow well in Zones 5 to 9, and they can grow between 6 and 10 feet high. You’ll get green leaves with a deep glossy hue and bright red berries. It requires infrequent pruning, and it’s a very forgiving plant.
- Southern Red Cedar – Native to Florida, the Southern Red Cedar grows well in Zones 4 to 9. It will grow at a rate of one to two feet per year, and it acts as a natural tick and deer repellent. You can easily adapt it to grow in different conditions, and this landscape edging will stay green all year round, even in snowy conditions.
Training your hedges to grow a certain way early on allows you to create very symmetrical shapes to box in your yard and increase your privacy.
Creating rock walls is one great way to make a durable landscape edging around your yard’s perimeter. You can create rock gardens, or you can do a full stone wall. Eventually, moss will grow on this wall to make it green, or you can plant vines right along the side so they will climb up and drape over the tip to the other side. The nice thing about rock walls is that they’ll withstand a lot of wear and tear without breaking down, and they can be relatively inexpensive to put up if you’re willing to put in the work yourself.
Sturdy rock walls with plants draped over them give your home a rustic and whimsical feel, and they can withstand a lot of wear and tear without breaking down.
Another option you have available for landscape edging is foliage. You do want to take into consideration where you live because a lot of it can die off in the colder months and leave you with bare patches that reduce your privacy levels. You can use herbs like coneflowers, crocosmia, and monarda to start. Your goal is to find foliage that has contrasting colors and textures while being slightly higher than ordinary foliage and more dense to fill in any gaps. If you do it correctly, you can end up with an eye-catching border that will last all year-round with minimal maintenance.
Taller plants add height and dimension to your yard while filling in any bare spots to block anyone’s view that happens to walk by.
Ornamental grasses are beautiful, and they can easily grow several feet high while giving you a very dense look. They add a soothing sound and motion to your landscape edging, and you can easily make them blend into your yard. They’re very low-maintenance, and you can choose from all types of colors and looks. A few nice ornamental grasses you can use in landscape edging for privacy include:
- Zebra Grass – Typically growing around five feet tall, this ornamental grass can grow up to eight feet high with a four to six foot spread. It grows well in full sun in Zones 5 to 9, and it has multicolored foliage that is very appealing. It has a clumping habit that makes it an excellent candidate as a natural hedge, and it’s very low-maintenance.
- Pampas Grass – This delicate landscape edging plant can grow up to 12 feet tall with a 6 foot spread. It’s tolerant to drought, and it does well in Zones 8 to 10. It needs well-draining soil to thrive, but it’ll give you an attractive yellow coloring all year round.
- Hardy Clumping Bamboo – Bamboo is a very large type of ornamental grass that can grow up to 17 feet tall. You should plant it in Zones 5 to 9 with a very rich soil for the best results, and plant it in clumps to prevent it from spreading out and leaving gaps between the canes.
- Big Bluestem – Native to North America, this is a hardy ornamental grass that can get six feet tall and offer a two or three-foot spread. It does best in full sun in Zones 4 to 9, and it’ll adapt well to different soil conditions.
- Fountain Grass – If you want to add texture to your landscape, this plant will do it for you. It can grow three to five feet high and wide, and it has fuzzy shoots on the top. It needs full sun or partial shade in Zones 6 to 9 to grow well, and it can survive through the winter months without an issue.
- Pink Hair Grass – The final ornamental grass on our list is one that grows in Zones 5 to 9. It can get up to four feet high with the same spread, and it has a soft pink coloring that makes an eye-catching addition to your landscape edging. It needs rock or dry soil to thrive.
Ornamental grasses create very full landscape edging that is relatively easy to walk though, and you’ll get movement in your yard when the wind blows.
You may not think of flowers as a viable way to create a privacy screen between you and your neighbor, but there are some very tall and dense flower species out there that make wonderful landscape edging. Adding these flowers to your yard can create a natural privacy fence if you’re willing to wait for them to grow in the spring. In warmer climates, they can survive all year round. A few examples include:
- Hibiscus – Hardy hibiscus is a great landscape edging flower because it can grow between seven and nine feet tall. The dark leaves with gorgeous white, pink, and red flowers are very eye-catching, and the flowers can get up to a foot wide. You can easily grow it as far north as Planting Zone 5 without a problem, and it’ll withstand drought.
- Delphinium – These plants produce tall flower spikes that can grow up to six feet tall in the right growing conditions. You can get purple, white, and pink flowers, and they grow best in Zones 3 to 7. They have very dense and dark green leaves that make it difficult to see through them.
- Joe Pye Weed – If you want to attract butterflies and live in Zones 2 to 9, try this plant. They can grow to be seven feet tall and four feet wide per plant. As a bonus, it grows large pink flower clusters that have a light vanilla scent, and it has longer green leaves to fill in any bare spots.
- Hollyhock – Popular in Zones 3 to 8, Hollyhock is a favorite for gardeners as it grows six to eight foot flower spires. It will self-sow and spread from year to year, and you get deep green foliage with hot pink, black, white, or red flowers.
- Canna – Although these large flowers look very tropical, they can survive up to Zone 7 without an issue. They can get up to six feet high, and they have very large paddle-shaped leaves that fill in on the stalks. The blooms can be multicolored, cream, yellow, orange, or red.
- Wolf’s Bane – Growing in Zones 4 through 8, this plant loves cooler weather and will start opening its flowers as frost approaches. It can spread between one to one-and-a-half feet wide and grow to five feet high. You’ll get spikes of dark purple flowers with small green leaves.
Taller flowers are nice in warmer climates because they can add bursts of color to your landscape edging while still being functional.
Maintaining Your Landscaping Edging
The type of landscaping edging you choose will dictate how maintenance-heavy it is. Generally speaking, most shrubs, trees, plants, and flowers will all have specific watering and fertilizer requirements, and some are less strenuous than others. You may have to shape or prune your landscape edging to keep it looking neat and tidy all season, but this isn’t a problem as long as you keep up with it and don’t let it get out of hand.
You do want to pay close attention to the shade requirements. Since most landscape edging will be around the edges of your yard, they may not have much protection from the sun. If you pick out plants that need partial or full shade, they could burn and die because they don’t have the correct growing conditions. Another thing you want to watch for is the Planting Zones. Plants do best when they’re in climates that mimic their specific zones, and you could end up with stunted growth if it’s not the correct one.
Routinely pruning and maintaining your plants will help them continue to grow throughout the season, and they may even grow all year round in warmer planting zones.
Landscape edging can create a wonderful privacy fence or garden border if you take the time to do it correctly. Find your planting zone and research flowers, shrubs, trees, and plants that will do well there if you plan to go the natural route. This will help to ensure that you get a thriving landscape edging all around your yard, and you don’t have to worry about the neighbors being nosy while you sit out and enjoy your space.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.