We all love our own space; what is better than enjoying the privacy of your home? Simply put, privacy is when you’re free of disturbance from someone else, and in this article, that someone else will be your neighbor. Therefore, this article is for those attempting to use trees and, in the latter half of the article, other obstructions to stop your neighbor from peaking and ruining your peace of mind or intimate moments.
Potentially you have a family and would like to feel more shut off within your own space. Even provide a blockage from a busy road or motorway. The mental health benefits of a private garden cannot be underestimated. A private garden reduces an individual’s stress levels and has been shown to raise self-esteem and psychological well-being.
Table of Contents
- What to Consider When Searching for a Privacy Tree?
- 19 Fast-Growing Trees for Privacy from Neighbours
- 1. American Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis)
- 2. Japanese False Cypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera)
- 3. Southern Wax Myrtle (Myrica cerifera)
- 4. Leyland Cypress (Cupressus × leylandii)
- 5. Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus)
- 6. Green Giant Arborvitae (Thuja standishii x plicata)
- 7. Lawson Cypress (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana)
- 8. Eastern Cottonwood (Populus deltoides)
- 9. Red Maple (Acer rubrum)
- 10. Nuttall Oak (Quercus texana)
- 11. Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum)
- 12. Black Poplar (Populus nigra)
- 13. Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides)
- 14. Tuliptree (Liriodendron tulipifera)
- 15. Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides)
- 16. Northern Red Oak (Quercus rubra)
- 17. Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum)
- 18. Weeping Willow (Salix babylonica)
- 19. Norway Spruce (Picea abies)
- Privacy Trees Related Questions
- Can You Buy Fully Grown Trees and Have them Planted?
- What Else Can Privacy Trees Do for Your Yard?
- What is the Easiest Tree to Maintain for Privacy?
- Are Deciduous Trees Good for Privacy?
- What Evergreen Tree Grows the Fastest?
- Are Shrubs Good for Privacy from Neighbours?
- What are Some Alternative Options to Block Neighbor’s Views?
- Final Thoughts
What to Consider When Searching for a Privacy Tree?
The worst thing that could happen when you seek to buy a privacy tree is you end up with a dwarf tree that never provides you with the density needed to live privately. The upcoming section will explore some features you may want to consider in a privacy tree.
How Easy, Fast, and Tall it Grows
What type of tree do you have in mind? To best answer this question, you may have to decide how easy, fast, and tall each tree or variety grows. For example, deciduous trees such as the Bald Cypress may grow in a fashion which makes it easier for you to maintain privacy. These trees grow fast and are easy to use in most environments. Also, evergreen trees are remarkable as they bear leaves year-round. This means your home is still provided with more privacy in fall and winter.
Type of Tree
As already mentioned in the answer above, you’ll also have to decide what tree you want. Each upcoming tree section will provide an overview of the specific tree and its ideal living conditions and explore how tall and wide it will be once it reaches maturity. This will allow you to assess whether you have the adequate amount of space needed, as seen in specific trees, and whether you have the patience to wait for the tree to bloom.
Also, if you’re hoping to plant multiple trees will provide some guidance on how close these trees should be planted. We will now move through easy, fast-growing trees, providing privacy and beautiful foliage, aromas, and potentially a new space in the home to be enjoyed by the entire family.
How Easy it is to Maintain
Depending on where you are in life (you may have caring responsibilities or a hectic career), you may not have the time to dedicate to caring for your trees. For this reason, it may be easier for you to opt for easier to care for trees such as the Weeping Willow. Each tree description will outline the difficulties in maintaining said tree.
Can Be Grown Close to Each Other
Most of the trees on this list will be ideally grown with space in between. Why? These trees at maximum height will grow extremely tall and wide and, if obstructed by other trees, may knock them down over time.
Hardiness Zone Matters
USDA Hardiness zone can determine what trees can live in your yard, so select trees that align with your zone. If you’re unsure which Hardiness zone, you live in. You can consult a hardiness zone map or google to find out. The United States has 13 individual zones stretching across the country.
In some areas, the zones are further split into A and B. In each tree description, you will find information on the hardiness zones the tree best suits. If you choose a tree that does not suit your hardiness zone, it may be ill-suited to your climate’s winters.
What the Tree Looks Like
Your garden will be your sanctuary for some time, so it only makes sense that you want the space to look a certain way. For example, some trees grow in a cylinder shape while others are more vibrant in color. Each tree description will provide you with an explanation as to how the tree looks during growth or maturity.
19 Fast-Growing Trees for Privacy from Neighbours
1. American Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis)
Tall and elegant, the American Arborvitae is an evergreen tree that, as you already know, carries leaves all year round. The American Arborvitae will most likely grow beautifully into a cylinder shape, making it an ideal tree for privacy and windbreaks. The cylindrical shape this tree grows into may make it an odd choice for a privacy tree. But, the dense branches and leaves of the American Arborvitae tree make it difficult for onlookers to peek through, and over time the foliage grows denser, enhancing your privacy.
The American Arborvitae grows best in hardiness zones 3a-7b, and once the tree has grown to maturity, it typically averages a height of 40 to 60 feet. And 10-15 feet wide. Each year, you can expect your American Arborvitae to grow 12″ to 24″ a year, but you should be vigilant and keep a lookout for infections such as Phyllosticta, which may hinder the growth of your tree.
2. Japanese False Cypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera)
An older cultivar with its origins in Japan, the Japanese False Cypress is another tree variety great for those seeking privacy. A type of evergreen conifer that grows best in hardiness zones 4a-8b, this tree is considered essential for gardeners and horticulturists who develop trees for ornamental landscaping. It could be even better for you to use it as a shield from prying neighbors. Starting as a small shrub, this tree, at maturity, can reach 70 feet tall and 20-30 feet wide. Each year you should expect the tree to grow approximately 12″ a year, but you should be wary of blight which could stunt the tree’s progress.
Easy to grow and cold hardy, this tree will need little maintenance for it to grow, and it should only take a few years for this tree to provide you will the privacy you were hoping for.
3. Southern Wax Myrtle (Myrica cerifera)
Another fast-growing tree you may want to consider for privacy is the Southern Wax Myrtle. The Southern Wax Myrtle is a large evergreen shrub native across Central America is a dense growing tree that provides you and the family with all the privacy you seek. This tree grows well in most soils but prefers moist soils and will do exceptionally well if grown in hardiness zones 7a-10b. For your Southern Wax Myrtle, you can expect a growth rate of approximately 1 meter to 1.5 meters a year.
The Southern Wax Myrtle tends not to fare well against the snow in a heavy winter. When exposed to this kind of weather, the branches may split, so if you live in a colder part of the United States, you may opt for another tree on this list or take extra care to cover your tree in the winter or before heavy snowfall.
4. Leyland Cypress (Cupressus × leylandii)
The Leyland Cypress, a natural hybrid, is another tree cultivar known for providing privacy. An evergreen conifer, these trees are known for their fast growth rate growing up to 24″ a year. Like the Japanese false cypress, the Leyland Cypress is easy to maintain and cold hardy. You may want to consider this if you live in colder states but do not have much time to care for a tree that may need more attention.
Growing best in hardiness zones 6 to 10, when you choose the Leyland Cypress, you know your garden will be accompanied by lush colour all year round. That said, gardeners hoping to opt for this variety of trees should consider that it is susceptible to root rot, mold, and fungi infections.
If you’re lucky in winter, your Leyland Cypress may attract songbirds who like to use this tree for cover.
5. Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus)
The Eastern White Pine has a long history dating back to the 19th century. Despite the name, your tree will blossom into a lush green-leafed tree that resembles the traditional Christmas tree, which will be examined later on this list. So, why is the Eastern White Pine tree such a popular privacy tree option? The Eastern White Pine is popular because it grows well in almost all soils. On the other hand, you will need to consider this tree’s sensitivity to heat. Those in warmer states may want to opt for other privacy trees on this list.
Growing best in hardiness zones 3 to 8, you should expect the Eastern White Pine to reach 50 to 80 feet tall once it has reached maturity and a spread of 20 to 40 feet wide. Therefore, it is an excellent option for those needing a wind block. That said, no tree is perfect, and the Eastern White Pine is susceptible to white pin blister rust, which causes leaf spots and can, at worse, kill your tree.
6. Green Giant Arborvitae (Thuja standishii x plicata)
Another tree well-known for providing privacy is the Green Giant Arborvitae. With the speed at which this tree grows, it’s an excellent option for those seeking extra privacy. Developing in a natural pyramid or conical form, the beautiful green leaves on this tree will darken to a bronze shade as winter sets in. With a life span of 40-60 years, this tree will mature with the family. At maturity, your tree will be 40-60 feet tall and width 12-18 feet.
Owners of the Green Giant Arborvitae will have to be wary that the tree, though usually very disease resistant, may not prove hardy against rot or blight in its roots.
7. Lawson Cypress (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana)
Another Cypress cultivar and tree grows in a cylinder fashion. Like the other cultivars on this list, the Lawson Cypress is another excellent option for those seeking privacy. This fast-growing coniferous evergreen tree is widely used as a screen, for hedging, or in horticulture. Even planted in ‘poor soil’ will grow to heights of 20 feet and a width of 10 feet. The Lawson Cypress suits hardiness zones 5 to 9 but can struggle to fend off an aggressive water mold called Phytophthora lateralis.
8. Eastern Cottonwood (Populus deltoides)
Another large evergreen variety is the Eastern Cottonwood. A vital part of the American ecosystem, this tree is a food source for field mice, deer, rabbits, and domestic livestock such as; goats, sheep, horses, and more. So, if you do keep livestock, this fast-growing tree could ultimately reduce some of your feeding costs.
One of the largest trees on this list at maturity, the Eastern Cottonwood grows to well over 100 feet and 190 feet wide, so when planting, give the tree plenty of room to grow. Then, you will be provided with all the privacy you need in a few years. As the Eastern Cottonwood grows, it develops an open spreading crown. Hardiness zone-wise, the Eastern Cottonwood suits zones 3 to 9.
9. Red Maple (Acer rubrum)
One of the most abundant deciduous trees in the country, the beautiful red-leafed addition to this list, is the Red Maple tree. If you add this tree to your garden, you should know the U.S. Forest Service recognizes the tree as an American native as it’s the most abundant in the country’s central and eastern regions. Even when growing slowly, you can expect the Red Maple to grow at least 13″ a year, especially if the tree is well cared for. At maturity, the Red Maple will grow to a height of 60 feet and a width of 50 feet.
The Red Maple is a fantastic option if you’re hoping to block the views of onlookers and add colour to your garden as you do so. Hardiness zone-wise, the Red maple suits zones 3 to 9 best, but the tree may struggle to fend off powdery mildew, fungi, and several other illnesses.
10. Nuttall Oak (Quercus texana)
The Nuttall Oak has become a popular choice for those seeking privacy. This fast-growing deciduous tree is a member of the red oak family and, at maturity, will block the view of any onlooker who may have been peeking into your garden and ruining your time. At maturity, the Nuttall Oak will grow to 60 feet tall and a width of 45 feet. In more than a decade, this tree could become one of the dominant features of your garden.
The Nuttall Oak is best suited for those living in hardiness zone 6 to 9, and as it produces fewer surface roots than other trees can be planted close to sidewalks and fences. That said, the Nuttall Oak can grow slowly if it is susceptible to illness, so if you do not have much time to care for your tree. This may not be the best option. While the tree does not tend to be weak against pests, be vigiliant against root rot.
11. Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum)
The Bald Cypress is another variety you may want to consider if you seek greater privacy in your garden. The Bald Cypress is striking to the eyes and typically grows in a watery swamp-like environment. So for those living in wetter states or hardiness zone 4 to 10, this would be a good option for you. At maturity, the Bald Cypress reaches a height of 50 feet in approximately 25 years, putting the tree’s growth rate at 2 feet a year if the tree is well taken care of.
Healthy Bald Cypress trees will grow well, but those not well looked after will be susceptible to webworms, bagworms, and more.
12. Black Poplar (Populus nigra)
The Black poplar is another fast-growing tree you may want to consider if you seek greater privacy from your neighbors. An excellent tree that can live for up to 200 years, you should expect your Black Poplar tree to grow at a rate of up to 2 meters a year, blocking the view of onlookers in no time. At maturity, the tree should reach a height of 95 feet and a width of 60 feet. Once a very popular tree, Black Poplars are less prevalent than they once were. You could end up preserving a slice of the past in your garden.
13. Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides)
The Fastest growing redwood tree, the Dawn Redwood, is another excellent option for those seeking privacy from prying eyes. An exceptionally fast-growing tree, you can expect your Dawn Redwood to grow at a rate exceeding 2 feet a year each year.
At maturity, the Dawn Redwood can exceed 70 feet in full sun or partially shaded position. Wherever you plant the Dawn Redwood, know it will be there for some time. These trees often have a lifespan of over 100 years.
14. Tuliptree (Liriodendron tulipifera)
The Tuliptree is another fantastic option; this fast-growing tree will mature to approximately 70 to 90 feet. However, it will grow as much as it spreads to 40 feet at maturity, so you must give this tree time to mature. This sensitive tree grows best in hardiness zones 4 to 9.
Back to why you may need to have patience with the Tulip tree, it will take your tree between 20-30 years to blossom. If you experience a bloom before this time, you’re fortunate. However, if you’re looking for a tree to bloom before then, you may be better off choosing another cultivar on this list. This tree is truly for those with patience. If your Tuliptree never gets the right amount of light and is overly pruned, it may never bloom.
15. Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides)
Another tree very popular for its ability to provide privacy is the Quaking Aspen. Sometimes called the American aspen, this tree will mature into a slender tree. This tree’s flat leaves and branches will rustle in the breeze, highlighting where it got its signature name, the Quaking Aspen. In Spring, your tree will be graced by beautiful green leaves, which fade into a yellow-auburn color in autumn. Growing very quickly, if you planted a few along the dividing line with your neighbor, they would be able to peek in on you in no time.
Growing best in hardiness zones 2 to 6, your Quaking Aspen can grow to 70 feet tall. That said, most Quaking Aspen only grow to medium size. In addition, the Quaking Aspen is better suited for cooler climates, so those in warmer states, or states subject to high temperatures, may want to opt for other trees on this list.
16. Northern Red Oak (Quercus rubra)
Another red-leafed tree on this list, the Northern Red Oak, is an excellent choice if you seek privacy. Another beautiful red foliage tree, the Northern Red Oak, is prevalent across the United States but grows best in hardiness zones 3 to 8. At maturity, you can expect the Northern Red Oak to reach a height of 70 feet and a width of 45 feet. Like other Oak trees, the Northern Red Oak may fall victim to an Oak leaf blister, leaving it vulnerable if left untreated.
17. Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum)
A beautiful addition to any garden, the Silver Maple can be a splendid tree option to block the peering eyes of onlookers and traffic. Growing extra fast at 24″ a year when well looked after. You can have foliage blocking the view in no time. In fact, in 13 years, your Silver Maple could have reached maturity. At maturity, the Silver Maple can grow 50 -80 feet tall and to a width of 35 to 50 feet wide. A great option if you’re looking for more privacy at home. Your Silver Maple tree will grow best in hardiness zones 5-9.
18. Weeping Willow (Salix babylonica)
The Weeping Willow is a beautiful, graceful tree growing large, and the branches will hang down perpendicularly. Growing well in most soils, whether acidic, alkaline, sandy, etc., it’s pretty likely the weeping willow will do well in your garden. Your weeping willow will do even better if there is a nearby water source. The tree will reach 30-40 feet at maturity and spread to 35 feet. The weeping willow grows best in hardiness zones 6-8. If you choose to increase in another hardiness zone, remember that your weeping willow may not develop in the terrain and provide you with less privacy than you may seek.
19. Norway Spruce (Picea abies)
The Norway Spruce is better known across the globe as the Christmas Tree. Forming a bushy-type tree with short needle-like leaves (envision a Christmas tree in mind), all who stand near will be able to inhale the aromas of the pine tree. In the United States, the Norway Spruce grows well in hardiness zones 2-7. However, some warmer states may be too warm to support this tree. Soils are not too picky and can thrive in sandy to rocky soils. The dense branches of this tree make it difficult for onlookers to peer through to the other side.
Even better, this tree supports a wide variety of wildlife, so you may lose the view of onlookers but gain some new animal friends. The Norway Spruce can grow to 70 feet tall at maturity. Your neighbors will not be able to look in.
Privacy Trees Related Questions
Can You Buy Fully Grown Trees and Have them Planted?
Yes, it is possible for you as a gardener to buy fully-grown trees and then have them planted. This may be the quickest option for those with a long border along their garden. There are also discounts for trees when purchased in bulk. Growing a tree from scratch will take many years for any privacy. It will be cheaper to plant a seed or grow a smaller planted tree, but hiring a landscaping company to come in and plant large trees is your best bet for privacy. It will cost much more though.
What Else Can Privacy Trees Do for Your Yard?
Your trees can do much more than block the gaze of onlookers. For example, if you live in a wind tunnel, you could use giant trees to block the wind from accessing your garden. The same can be said for the sun. You can use fast-growing trees to create shade and block the sun in warmer months. With temperatures set to rise in most parts of the world, this may be something that could be useful as the planet warms.
Once your tree is more mature, you also will have the opportunity to hang a hammock, a great opportunity once the weather warms up and you would like to enjoy the time in your garden, perhaps reading a book. If your tree shows it is sturdy enough to carry weight, you may also want to build a tree house. Not only is a tree house an attractive addition to a garden, but you can choose from various designs.
Privacy trees can also attract wildlife to your garden. Eastern cottonwood, for example, is a culinary staple for field mice, deer, and rabbits. So you may find new neighbors increasingly stopping off in your garden.
What is the Easiest Tree to Maintain for Privacy?
There are several trees on this list that are very easy to maintain. For example, the Eastern Cottonwood, Norway Spruce, and Red Maple tend to grow well. If you’re close to a water source, you may opt for the Weeping Willow, which tends to flourish in such an environment.
Are Deciduous Trees Good for Privacy?
Deciduous trees are, in fact, good for privacy; many of the trees on this list are deciduous trees. One of the main reasons why deciduous trees are so good for privacy is because they’re fast-growing and tend to have the number of leaves needed to be the glaze of onlookers.
What Evergreen Tree Grows the Fastest?
The Leyland Cypress, Norway Spruce, and Eastern White Pine grow the fastest when considering evergreen trees. An evergreen may be a better option for privacy because these trees have leaves all year round. In comparison, nonevergreen trees are the variety that shed their leaves in winter, creating the all-so-popular piles of dried leaves that people enjoy playing in in autumn. But those puddles of leaves also mean that you’ll be left with a barren tree for some time, allowing onlookers to peek in. The exact thing you’re attempting to avoid.
If you have a house on the main road, you may find evergreens are the best option for a year-round natural barrier.
Are Shrubs Good for Privacy from Neighbours?
Yes, shrubs can be an excellent choice for those seeking privacy from neighbors. If you want to choose a shrub, go for the tall growing variety. The laurel varieties can be suitable as they tend to reach tall heights, so potentially consider the spotted laurel, mountain laurel, or another variety.
What are Some Alternative Options to Block Neighbor’s Views?
If you do not feel any of the large trees on the list are a good choice for blocking the onlooking eyes of your neighbors. Potentially, you’re in a location for a small period, so you will not be able to wait until your tree reaches maturity. Or, perhaps you do not have the permission of the land owner to put up plants. Then, you can consider the following options. First, build a shed, and if your neighbor is peeping through a gap in the fence, you could put up a screen or a shed to stop them from looking.
If your neighbor is tall and is looking over your fence, you could take this fencing down and replace it with taller fencing. While this may be expensive and time-consuming, it may provide you with the peace of mind needed to live comfortably. In addition, you could attempt retractable screens if new fencing is entirely out of the question.
Similarly, a gazebo would also prevent your neighbor from having access to glaze into your garden at will. You could also put up fake artificial plants and hedges, giving a green look without all the upkeep necessary.
It makes perfect sense that people crave complete privacy and freedom from their neighbors’ on-looking eyes when they are at home. If you have the space and time, you could choose from one of the trees on the list. If, however, you cannot, for whatever reason, plant a tree. Hopefully, the last section of this article on other obstructions has proved useful. Let us know in the comment section which tree or obstruction has worked best for you so we can all benefit from each other’s knowledge.
Jamie is the founder of The Backyard Pros. When he was 15 years old he started working at a garden centre helping people buy plants, gardening products, and lawn care products. He has real estate experience and he is a home owner. Jamie loves backyard projects, refinishing furniture, and enjoys sharing his knowledge online.