Garden Screening Ideas For Privacy

  • Are you looking for garden screening ideas for privacy? This article is jam-packed with all kinds of screening ideas to help you keep your garden private.
Garden privacy

In today’s modern world, privacy has become quite a luxury. With increased demand for housing, houses are being built closer and closer together, and many of us find ourselves overlooked by not one but several neighbouring properties.

Even in less densely populated areas, many gardens are easily visible to passers-by. After a long day of work when all you want to do is sit in your garden in the evening and enjoy a well-deserved, ice-cold beer, the last thing you need is to feel like you are putting on some kind of one man (or woman) show for anyone who happens to walk by.

Garden privacy
Humans are naturally inquisitive

Humans are naturally inquisitive and who among us can put our hands up and say that we’ve never sneaked a peek into other people’s gardens. We’ve all done it, and we will all likely do it again. Humans’ curiosity is never going to change.

Thankfully, although we can’t change that factor, there are a few things in our power that we can change and, when it comes to this particular problem, privacy screens are the perfect solution.

Privacy screens can not only help you create a safe haven from the prying eyes of nosy neighbours, but they can also provide protection from the wind and other elements.

From plants to trees, walls to fences, there are loads of options when it comes to privacy screens, and we are going to take a look at some of our top screening ideas to help you find the perfect privacy screen for you and your garden.

Trees for privacy screening

Well placed trees can provide a wonderful, natural privacy screen for gardens and there are plenty of options to choose from. Before planting a tree, we do recommend researching the species to determine how large it is going to grow to ensure you have space for it. It is also worth considering how long the trees are going to take to grow. By choosing a slow-growing tree, you could end up waiting decades for your perfect privacy screen!

With all that in mind, we have picked out some of our top trees for garden privacy screening to help you whittle down your choices.

Laurel trees

Laurels have become popular choices among gardeners hoping to secure some decent privacy around their gardens. These large, erect evergreen trees can grow up to 12 metres in height and spread as far as 8 metres if left unpruned.

Laurels have wonderfully aromatic, leathery leaves and produce small yellow flowers, followed by black berries. The latter makes them very inviting to birds and other wildlife.

Laurels, however, are not fast-growing and can take from 20 to 50 years to reach full height so, if you are keen to obtain privacy quickly, we recommend planting young trees which already have some height to them.

These trees also grow well in containers meaning they’re also suitable for smaller gardens. Laurels perform best in well-drained soil, in full sun or partial shade.

Italian cypress trees

If you are in the market for a faster-growing screening tree, then the Italian cypress might be just the ticket. Growing at an impressive annual rate of 0.6-1 metre and reaching up to 12 metres in height at full maturity, these trees are an excellent option if you want to achieve privacy quickly.

Unlike most evergreens, which grow in a pyramidal shape, Italian cypress grows upwards in a narrow column. Planting a few of these trees side by side along a fence or at the end of your garden can provide an elegant backdrop, masking nasty eyesores and shielding you from prying eyes.

Italian cypress trees are not just aesthetically pleasing, but they are also very resilient, particularly in drought, and are low maintenance. That said, with good pruning, they can be trained to form thick hedging, making them a popular choice in the world of garden privacy.

These stunning beauties thrive in moist but well-drained soil and full sun.

Holly trees

There is something quintessentially British about holly trees, famously painted on our Christmas cards, along with round robins enjoying their red berries. There is little else that so easily sparks the festive cheer within us than this pretty, spiky, evergreen plant.

Plants for garden privacy
Make your garden merry and protect your privacy with holly trees

Not only are these trees gorgeously festive, but they also make tremendous privacy screens and can be used as a hedge around the perimeter of your garden or to shield up or downstairs windows.

What’s more, holly trees provide year-round interest to your garden, with their dark green foliage, as well as the wildlife their berries attract.

There are many types of holly trees, with some species growing as high as 12 metres or more and spreading up to 8 metres across. There are also fast-growing varieties like the Nellie R. Stevens holly which grows up to 1 metre a year and reaches a full height of 10 metres.

Holly trees grow best in any well-drained soil in full sun, although they will tolerate partial shade and are suitable for most regions including coastal locations.

If you are interested in learning about other fast-growing privacy trees, then why not check out our article on Best Fast Growing Trees For Privacy?

Plants for privacy screening

If you aren’t so keen, don’t have the space, or don’t want to take the time to grow trees for privacy then there are hundreds of plants that can do the job just as well.

Plants can provide your garden with texture, structure and colour as well as keeping nosy ned the neighbour from peering into your private sanctuary.

You may even find that, with some careful pruning, some plants that already reside in your garden may well be up to the task of protecting your perimeter.

With so many plants to choose from, it can feel hard to know where to begin, so we’ve picked out some of our favourites to get you started.


This quirky alternative to traditional border plants grows fast and thick and quickly provides an almost fence-like shield for your garden.

Bamboo grows at an enviable rate of 1-1.5 metres a year and can reach an impressive height of up to 10 metres. Not only does this sturdy plant provide natural borders for your boundaries, but it’s also super easy to grow, making it a great choice for less confident gardeners.

Bamboos grow best in moist, well-drained soil in a sheltered sunny spot so, if you have a fence that doesn’t have the height you require for privacy, growing bamboo along said fence will quickly give you the added height you desire.

Bamboo should be planted in spring and will require frequent watering during dry spells. These plants are relatively easy to keep in check, although, left unattended, they can get out of hand. In spring you can remove dead or damaged canes by cutting them down to ground level, whilst taking care to remove any debris at the base of the plant.


Pyracantha, also known as firehorn, is a lovely shrub, boasting gorgeous, creamy-white flowers which bloom from spring to midsummer, which are then followed by beautiful berries that come in vivid shades of red, orange and yellow.

Not only does this impactful plant bring year-round interest to your garden, but it can also perform perfectly as a privacy screen. The berries are also beloved by birds so if you are keen to bring a little more wildlife into your garden then pyracanthas are a brilliant choice.

Outdoor garden privacy
Protect your privacy and give your garden a bold burst of colour at the same time with pyracantha plants

Pyracanthas are fairly fast-growing, usually managing around 50cm a year. They can be pruned to form a hedge or a divider, or used to hide or disguise an ugly building or garden structure, such as an old shed.

See Also
Fence in front garden

These plants prefer well-drained soil in full sun or partial shade and can grow to a combined height and width of 4 metres by 4 metres. Although pyracantha can be planted anytime, we recommend planting in autumn or winter. Water well for the first couple of years until the plant is fully established, after that they will require minimal watering.

Ivy divider

If you are after immediate results where privacy is concerned, then look no further than the ivy divider. Pre-grown ivy dividers are a cheap and cheerful way to create an instant screen for your garden and are available in a range of sizes, meaning they can be used for even the smallest of gardens.

Ivy dividers are a trendy, natural and attractive alternative to traditional walls and fences and are grown on a wire frame and form a “living wall” and have become extremely popular in inner-city gardens and suburbs.

These screens are super low maintenance, cost-effective and an ideal solution for homeowners who want to blend their property with the local aesthetic without having to wait years to achieve the end goal.

Not only do ivy dividers provide excellent privacy, but they also provide strong, yet understated security to your garden and are therefore a particularly good purchase for households with young children.

Ivy dividers essentially create instant hedging, and with a range of types and heights to choose from, these are an absolute must if you want your screen now, now, now!

Alternative garden screening ideas for privacy

If plants and trees aren’t an option, or if you want something a little bit different, there are some awesome alternative privacy screen options out there which are only limited by how creative you feel like getting!

While traditional walls and fences can serve their purpose well, why not think out of the box and box in your garden with something that packs more of an aesthetic punch?

If you aren’t sure what we’re talking about, we’ve picked a couple of innovative options to help you construct the privacy screen you desire and give your garden a fabulously fashionable twist.

Wildlife walls

As a gardener caring for the wildlife around us can be just as important as caring for our plants. Many animals and insects provide essential services, and encouraging them to visit your garden can help keep it, and them, healthy and happy.

Wildlife walls are a great way to provide privacy as well as safe habitats for creatures that could desperately use a helping hand.

By using old wooden pallets, broken pots, logs, sticks and straw you can build unique wall structures which will keep snoopy Simons at bay, whilst inviting helpful animals in.

Garden privacy wall
Share your privacy wall with essential, over-wintering insects

Bees are perhaps the most needed insects out there and also one of the most endangered. By drilling long holes into old logs and including them in your wall, you can help our buzzy friends out with their very own bee hotel. The grateful stripy fellows will reward you by pollinating your plants throughout spring and summer.

Upcycled privacy wall

Much like the wildlife wall, you can build an upcycled version out of most old household items and other garden materials lying around. If you’ve got broken plates or flower pots, or even old wine bottles, with a bit of ingenuity, you can build a robust structure that will be both fashionable and functional.

An upcycled privacy wall is a superb option for the budget-conscious gardener and is the perfect opportunity for you to clear out those cupboards and create something uniquely yours.

In a world where everyone is overexposed, the coolest thing you can do is maintain your mystery…

Whilst we can’t tell you who wrote this quote, we love the sound of it and, if you are eager to maintain your mystery in the garden, then a privacy screen is the way to go.

As you can see, whether you use trees, plants or build a structure, there are lots of ways to achieve your desired level of seclusion, whilst also maintaining the natural beauty of your garden. And, there are also plenty of ways to give your local wildlife a helping hand at the same time.

Garden screens need not be expensive and are a wonderful activity for you and your family to get involved in. Whether you have acres of land or a small courtyard, there are hundreds of ways to keep that space to yourself.

So, get out there, get cool, and transform your garden into your own private, personal haven.

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