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Creating the Perfect Privacy Screen

                                            Skip to the bottom for Sun and Shade Screening Options

Privacy in your garden or backyard can be beautifully achieved with the right selection of trees and shrubs. Whether your space is sun-drenched or shaded, there are plants suited to create a lush, natural screen. With the right combination of these trees and/or shrubs, you can create a stunning and effective privacy screen tailored to the specific light conditions of your garden!

Tips to Consider:

    • Spacing: Consider the mature width of each plant to ensure adequate spacing for growth and maintenance.
    • Soil Preparation: Amend soil with organic matter (compost!) to improve drainage and fertility.
    • Watering: Newly planted trees and shrubs require regular watering until established. Once established,  native and adapted plants are drought-tolerant and require very little irrigation!
    • Mulching: Apply mulch around the base to retain moisture and suppress weeds!
    • Pruning: Regular pruning helps maintain the desired shape and density of your screen. You can choose a more naturalistic approach with minimal pruning to snip back arrant branches, give a minor trim,  or by removing dead or broken branches as needed


Plant Diversity: Using multiple species of plants in a screening planting offers numerous benefits. Unlike a monoculture planting, where the death of one plant can leave a substantial gap, a alternating mixed-species screen is more resilient and adaptable to change. This diversity not only enhances the natural look of your landscape but also creates a more dynamic and aesthetically pleasing environment. By combining plants with contrasting foliage—such as darker or broad leaves with lighter or smaller leaves—you add visual interest and depth. Incorporating blooming or berry-producing plants not only adds seasonal color but also supports local wildlife by providing food for pollinators and butterflies!

Single plant screens look uniform, but lack resiliency if something happens to one plant over the life of the planting.
If a sick or dead plant ever needs to be replaced, it often leaves a significant gap in the planting. Buying a replacement–that is large enough to match the existing trees, is not typically a viable option from both a cost and availability standpoint.


Make a Meander: Planting a zig-zagging screen on a meander, rather than in a uniform straight line, also offers ecological and aesthetic benefits. A meandering screen more effectively mimics natural landscapes, enhancing biodiversity by providing varied habitats for wildlife. The curving design can slow down wind and reduce erosion more efficiently than a straight line, offering better protection. Additionally, the undulating pattern creates visual interest and can blend more harmoniously with the surrounding environment, offering a more pleasing and natural appearance. This approach can also help create better airflow, as staggered planting allows for optimal spacing at mature widths–  all while still serving as an effective visual screen!

Planting multiple species in a meandering zig-zag like pattern adds resiliency, diversity, aesthetic value and effectiveness to a screen planting!
Which planting best suites your needs, style and budget?

If you’re gardening on a budget, you might choose to only buy a few larger specimen plants to create more instant privacy– then fill in the rest of the screen with smaller less expensive plant material. This technique also creates more of a natural look with a variation of heights and widths, PLUS it saves you money!


Here are some excellent choices for both sunny and shady areas:

Sun-Loving Screening Plants

  1. ‘Wichita Blue’ Juniper (Juniperus scopulorum ‘Wichita Blue’)
    • Features: Striking silvery-blue foliage, dense growth habit.
    • Height/Spread: 10-15 feet tall, 4-6 feet wide.
    • Benefits: Provides year-round privacy, low maintenance, drought-tolerant.
  2. ‘Sky Rocket’ Juniper (Juniperus scopulorum ‘Sky Rocket’)
    • Features: Tall, narrow columnar shape, blue-green foliage.
    • Height/Spread: 15-20 feet tall, 2-3 feet wide.
    • Benefits: Ideal for narrow spaces, fast-growing, hardy.
  3. Taylor Juniper (Juniperus virginiana ‘Taylor’)
    • Features: Slim, upright form, rich green foliage.
    • Height/Spread: 15-20 feet tall, 3-4 feet wide.
    • Benefits: Excellent for tight spaces, low maintenance, disease-resistant.
  4. Brodie Juniper (Juniperus virginiana ‘Brodie’)
    • Features: Dense, dark green foliage, columnar shape.
    • Height/Spread: 20-25 feet tall, 4-5 feet wide.
    • Benefits: Provides dense privacy, heat and drought tolerant.
  5. Arizona Cypress (Cupressus arizonica)
    • Features: Silver-blue foliage, pyramidal form.
    • Height/Spread: 35 feet tall, 20-25 feet wide.
    • Benefits: Fast-growing, tolerant of poor soils, excellent windbreak.
  6. Texas Sage (Leucophyllum spp)
    • Features: Ashy, gray to gray green leaves, pink to purple flowers.
    • Height/Spread: 4-8 feet tall, 4-8 feet wide.
    • Benefits: Attracts pollinators, mostly evergreen, provides moderate privacy in blasting sun.
  7. Agarita (Mahonia trifoliolata)
    • Features: Glossy, spiny dark green leaves, sweet-smelling yellow flowers, red fruit.
    • Height/Spread: 4-6 feet tall, 5-6 feet wide.
    • Benefits: Attracts pollinators, evergreen, provides moderate privacy while feeding birds and can handle part shade.
  8. Glossy Abelia (Abelia × grandiflora)
    • Features: Glossy, dark green leaves, white to pink flowers.
    • Height/Spread: 10 feet tall, 10 feet wide.
    • Benefits: Attracts pollinators, semi-evergreen, provides moderate privacy.

Shade-Loving Screening Plants

  1. Yaupon Holly (Ilex vomitoria)
    • Features: Glossy evergreen leaves, females produce red berries.
    • Height/Spread: 8-15 feet tall, 6-10 feet wide.
    • Benefits: Original upright tree-form, evergreen, attractive berries.
  2. ‘Skyline’ Yaupon Holly (Ilex vomitoria ‘Skyline’)
    • Features: Upright, narrow form, glossy green leaves.
    • Height/Spread: 10-15 feet tall, 3 feet wide.
    • Benefits: Tolerates heavy pruning, evergreen, attractive berries.
  3. ‘Skyward’ Yaupon Holly (Ilex vomitoria ‘Skyward’)
    • Features: Columnar growth, dark green foliage.
    • Height/Spread: 10-15 feet tall, 6-8 feet wide.
    • Benefits: Adaptable to various soil types, drought tolerant, evergreen.
  4. ‘Bright and Tight’ Carolina Cherry Laurel (Prunus caroliniana ‘Compacta’)
    • Features: Dense, dark green foliage, small white flowers.
    • Height/Spread: 8-10 feet tall, 6-8 feet wide.
    • Benefits: Provides dense screening, fragrant flowers, evergreen.
  5. Little Gem Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora ‘Little Gem’)
    • Features: Large, fragrant white flowers, glossy green leaves.
    • Height/Spread: up to 15 feet tall, 6-8 feet wide.
    • Benefits: Evergreen, attracts pollinators, year-round interest.
  6. Wax Myrtle (Myrica cerifera)
    • Features: Glossy dark evergreen leaves, ornamental blue-gray berries, taller than its dwarf cousin
    • Height/Spread: up to 15 feet tall, 8-10 feet wide.
    • Benefits: Evergreen, feeds songbirds, year-round interest.
  7. Dwarf Palmetto (Sabal minor)
    • Features: Large glossy dark evergreen leaves, offers year-round structure, shorter stature than its tree-sized cousin
    • Height/Spread: up to 4-6 feet tall, 4-8 feet wide.
    • Benefits: Evergreen, feeds songbirds, year-round interest.


Each Plant is in stock now at Rooted In, 12804 Pelzel Rd. Pilot Point Texas 76258

Open Tuesday-Saturday 9-5, Sunday 10-5

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