You might want to create a nice nook for you and your family to enjoy quiet evenings outside at home. Or maybe you just don’t want to always see your neighbors staring back at you when you’re trying to enjoy your backyard. Either way, a privacy screen can give your home landscape some much-needed seclusion, as well as some added greenery.
Evergreens are great choices for privacy screens because they add cover and color all year long.
Purchasing the right number of plants or trees at once to ensure a proper screen design can make a big difference in creating a long-lasting and low-maintenance hedge. When planting your green screen, you have two options: a straight line or a staggered one. For plants like Arborvitae, a straight, soldier line can work well. For some of the other trees we recommend below, a staggered method where you zigzag the planting a bit can enable the trees to receive the sun and air they need while also encouraging fuller growth.
Let’s look at the best evergreens to plant for privacy with some insight from our Talking Trees podcast experts so you have some options for creating a screen that works for you.
1. Eastern White Pine
This best evergreen for privacy can grow 50 to 80 feet tall and 20 to 40 feet wide in USDA zones 3 to 8.
It enjoys full to partial sun and moist, well-drained, acidic, soil where it can make a great windbreak and shade tree. It’s not a fan of compacted clay soils.
Bearing five needles to a bunch, the Eastern white pine branches and pinecones are commonly used as holiday decorations.
2. Norway Spruce
If you want strong, graceful branches covered in dark green needles in USDA zones 3 through 7, the Norway spruce is the low-maintenance evergreen for you.
As an ideal windbreaker, this tree matures at 60 feet and has a 25-foot spread. It loves full sun and well-drained soil.
One of the faster-growing spruces, the Norway spruce is easy to transplant and grows in a pleasing, pyramidal shape. These trees are very natural looking, low-maintenance, and disease-resistant.
Green giant arborvitae is a large, relatively fast-growing best evergreen for privacy that comes in a naturally thin pyramidal form, boasting dense, rich foliage.
In USDA zones 5 to 7, these trees make great screens or hedges for wind blocks or some seclusion. They can grow to 50 to 60 feet in height with a 12- to 20-foot spread. Give this tree full to partial sun and avoid poorly drained or wet areas.
4. Serbian Spruce
This graceful spruce is the best evergreen to plant for privacy because it can grow 50 to 60 feet tall with a 25-foot spread and has thin, arching branches and a slender trunk.
This tree’s light-green to blue-green needles add rich color to any home landscape in USDA zones 4 to 7. Plant this tree in moist, well-drained soil and full to partial sun. This tree can tolerate most urban conditions as well.
Candian hemlocks are the best evergreens for privacy screens because they are shade tolerant, and in USDA zones 3 to 8 can reach 40 to 70 feet high with a 25- to 35-foot spread.
The tree’s soft, feathery, deep green needles grow in a pyramidal shape. Plant this one where it can get a bit of both sun and shade but not too much of either one. Hemlocks also can’t tolerate too much wind or drought.
Another perk of this tree is it provides cover for deer and songbirds.