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10 Tall Screening Plants For Privacy

These plants are perfect for screening an area of your garden

By: Hannah Miller. Posted to: Ideas. Published: 17th June 2022.

There are dozens of reasons why you may want to grow screening plants; perhaps you are lucky enough to own a garden hot tub, have a balcony, or you just want to shield part of your yard from prying eyes.

Whatever the reason, consider one of these ten screening plants, chosen by Hannah Miller – our lead content creator here at DIY Gardening.

Many of the plants suggested here can be grown in containers.

(Note: This selection of screening plants compliments our previously published list of privacy hedges.)

1) Clumping Bamboo:

Green bamboo screen

Bamboo is a member of the grass family and is popular with gardeners and homeowners who want privacy.

In fact, bamboo canes are often removed from the plant and sold as screening, but there’s no reason why you can’t use bamboo as a living, breathing screening plant.

Key points: Bamboo is evergreen so you’ll have privacy in the winter too.

Clumping bamboo can reach up to 5 metres high and can be purchased from many garden centres as an established plant, meaning you’ll get instant privacy and screening.

Recommended variety: Choose clumping bamboo as it isn’t as invasive and is much easier to control compared to running bamboo.

Best for: Sunny spots, pots, beds, borders. While clumping bamboo grows tall, it doesn’t reach too far too quickly, making it the perfect screening plant for small gardens, around hot tubs and beside balconies.

Watch out for: Research the type of bamboo carefully as some are invasive and some grow taller and denser than others.

Best Artificial Natural Reed Fencing Screening Rolls Garden Outdoor Privacy Bamboo (6m x 1.5m)
Abaseen Natural Split Reed Fence Hand-Woven Reed Screening for Garden Natural Window Roller Blind Outdoor Bamboo Shades for Garden Patio Gallery Balcony Decorative Fences (2m x 4m)
Best Artificial Natural Reed Fencing Screening Rolls Garden Outdoor Privacy Bamboo (6m x 1.5m)
Abaseen Natural Split Reed Fence Hand-Woven Reed Screening for Garden Natural Window Roller Blind Outdoor Bamboo Shades for Garden Patio Gallery Balcony Decorative Fences (2m x 4m)
Best Artificial Natural Reed Fencing Screening Rolls Garden Outdoor Privacy Bamboo (6m x 1.5m)
Best Artificial Natural Reed Fencing Screening Rolls Garden Outdoor Privacy Bamboo (6m x 1.5m)
Abaseen Natural Split Reed Fence Hand-Woven Reed Screening for Garden Natural Window Roller Blind Outdoor Bamboo Shades for Garden Patio Gallery Balcony Decorative Fences (2m x 4m)
Abaseen Natural Split Reed Fence Hand-Woven Reed Screening for Garden Natural Window Roller Blind Outdoor Bamboo Shades for Garden Patio Gallery Balcony Decorative Fences (2m x 4m)

2) Privet

Privet hedge for screening

As the name suggests, privet is an extremely dense hedge that’s perfect for screening off an area of the garden.

It can also be grown in containers as a shrub and can be cut to different shapes (topiary).

Key points: Privet is semi-evergreen, meaning it usually keeps its leaves in the winter but may shed some in colder areas of the country.

Usually grown as a hedge, privet is so dense that nobody will be able to see through it, and it recovers well from pruning mishaps.

It’s also largely pest and disease-free.

Recommended variety: Ligustrum ovalifolium reaches up to 4m and produces olive-green foliage and small white flowers in midsummer.

Best for: Boundaries, partitions, in full sun or partial shade.

3) Evergreen Clematis

Clematis screening plant

Evergreen clematis is another popular and fast-growing screening plant. Although it’s not self-supporting so will need a frame such as a trellis or a pergola.

The evergreen variety often produces flowers in the winter, so, in addition to providing you with some much-needed winter privacy, you’ll also be rewarded with a splash of colour during the colder months of the year.

Key points: Can reach up to 4m but is easily pruned. Expect green foliage and star-shaped blooms.

Recommended variety: Clematis “Freckles” (clematis cirrhosa var. purpurascens ‘freckles’)

Best for: Trellis, pots, sun or partial shade.

Best Artificial Natural Reed Fencing Screening Rolls Garden Outdoor Privacy Bamboo (6m x 1.5m)
Abaseen Natural Split Reed Fence Hand-Woven Reed Screening for Garden Natural Window Roller Blind Outdoor Bamboo Shades for Garden Patio Gallery Balcony Decorative Fences (2m x 4m)
Best Artificial Natural Reed Fencing Screening Rolls Garden Outdoor Privacy Bamboo (6m x 1.5m)
Abaseen Natural Split Reed Fence Hand-Woven Reed Screening for Garden Natural Window Roller Blind Outdoor Bamboo Shades for Garden Patio Gallery Balcony Decorative Fences (2m x 4m)
Best Artificial Natural Reed Fencing Screening Rolls Garden Outdoor Privacy Bamboo (6m x 1.5m)
Best Artificial Natural Reed Fencing Screening Rolls Garden Outdoor Privacy Bamboo (6m x 1.5m)
Abaseen Natural Split Reed Fence Hand-Woven Reed Screening for Garden Natural Window Roller Blind Outdoor Bamboo Shades for Garden Patio Gallery Balcony Decorative Fences (2m x 4m)
Abaseen Natural Split Reed Fence Hand-Woven Reed Screening for Garden Natural Window Roller Blind Outdoor Bamboo Shades for Garden Patio Gallery Balcony Decorative Fences (2m x 4m)

4) Ivy

Ivy

Ivy is another climber that’s often grown as a screening plant.

Let ivy make its way along walls, fences, trellis, sheds, pergolas and arches – you can grow ivy just about anywhere.

Key points: Can grow many dozens of metres if left unchecked but does make for good screening of unsightly parts of the garden such as old walls, fences, garages and sheds.

Watch out for: It requires yearly pruning and will cover anything and everything if left to its own devices.

Best for: Anywhere. Most varieties are fully shade-tolerant while they also thrive in full sun.

5) Star Jasmine

Star jasmine growing up a wall
Star jasmine as a screening plant

Star jasmine is a fast-growing evergreen climber that’s often sold pre-grown into a frame or trellis, making it easy for the gardener to plant out in a pot or in a bed.

Reaching a height of around 12m, this popular screening plant delights with shiny green leaves from spring to autumn, which turn rustic red in the winter.

Key points: Star jasmine also pleases with white flowers in the summer and fruits in the autumn.

Watch out for: This screening plant has the potential to reach 12m high in 5-10 years, so expect growth of between 1 and 2 metres per year.

Best for: Full sun or partial shade along fences, walls or around arches, and pergolas.

6) Climbing Hydrangea

Climbing hydrangea

Dense green foliage gives way to bright yellow in the autumn; this compliments the large 20cm white flowers on display in the summer.

This climber is self-clinging and can reach up to 12m high and 8m wide, making it perfect for covering and screening unsightly walls.

Key points: This versatile plant can be grown in full sun, partial shade or full shade. Climbing hydrangeas are often grown up large tree trunks or along huge arches.

Watch out for: Climbing hydrangeas can be evergreen or deciduous, meaning they may lose their leaves in the winter.

Best for: North or east-facing gardens or anywhere with full shade or dappled sun. As a self-clinging plant, this hydrangea can cover and screen walls at a rate of around 1m per year.

7) Golden Hop

Golden Hops

Humulus lupulus “Aureus” (Golden Hop) is another fast climber that covers up to 8 metres in as little as 5 years.

This herbaceous plant can be grown as a screen along supports such as wires or a frame.

Key points: Yellow/green leaves compliment the green/yellow summer flowers which give way to light brown fruits in the autumn.

Watch out for: Golden hop is deciduous so will lose its leaves in the winter.

Best for: Grow along trellis or wires in a sunny spot or at least a location with partial sun.

8) Box

Box grown as a low-level screening hedge

Buxus sempervirens (Box) is the perfect low-level screening plant that’s ideal for partitioning off areas such as around flowerbeds.

As a native to the UK, box grows in a variety of soils and conditions and has been popular since Roman times.

Key points: Often grown for topiary, you can clip this plant into many different shapes or grow it as a neat, low-level screening hedge.

Best for: Low-level edge screenings, borders and as topiary in full sun to full shade.

9) Laural Hedge

Laural hedge

Laural hedge is usually grown for its green foliage but come spring; you’ll also be rewarded with white flowers and, in the winter, red berries.

This hedge grows fast and dense, making it perfect for screening any part of the garden but, in particular, the boundaries.

Key points: Grows up top 50cm per year and can reach 10m high but is easy to keep in check with yearly pruning.

Growing tip: Once established, this hedge doesn’t require any special attention other than a prune once or perhaps twice per year.

Best for: Boundaries, screening.

10) Cypress Trees

Cypress trees
Cypress trees

Cypress trees are narrow, pencil-shaped, coniferous trees that are native to the Mediterranean but grow well in most conditions in the UK.

Grow as a standalone specimen to screen prying eyes from a vantage point or plant as a column.

Cypress trees prefer a sunny spot with moist soil but once established; they will cope well with drier conditions.

Key points: Choose cypress trees if you want a tree that grows tall but narrow, as even the largest mature Cypress tree will struggle to reach more than 5m in width, with most much narrower at around 1 or 2 metres. Expect Cypress trees to grow approximately 75cm per year.

Best for: Standalone specimens, columns, vertical screening.

You May Also Like:

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More From Hannah Miller:

This list of screening plants was created by Hannah Miller and was posted to our ideas section on the 17th of June, 2022.

Discover more content at Hannah’s Corner.

Hannah is a keen amateur gardener, mother and a former NHS administrator.

She enjoys gardening as much as she cares about the environment and likes to share her knowledge with others.

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Author Hannah Miller

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This guide to the best screening plants was published by DIY Gardening

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