My Journal

The best screening plants for garden privacy

My readers often ask how to use planting in their gardens to create privacy, block an unsightly view or cushion noise pollution from nearby roads or train tracks. Whether you’re keen to forget about a not-so-attractive vista at the end of your garden, create a private screened area or even deter a neighbour who’s a little too neighbourly, there are lots of great plants for screening that you can choose.

Screening plants are a brilliant choice for blocking out unwanted views and noise, or protecting your privacy in the garden – but they can take work to maintain. Regular pruning and shaping will keep them looking neat, so make sure you consider your own ability to keep on top of your screening plants when you’re choosing them. Some plants for screening will just grow and grow, so consider what ultimate height your plants need to be and let that inform your decision.

Remember, it’s really important to check local regulations before you set about planting. You may need consent from local authorities if you’re planting by a right of way or highway. Make sure that on your property there are no restrictions on what you can plant, in order to avoid a headache in the future. It’s also a good idea to have a chat with any neighbours and let them know of your intention before planting anything that may also block their view or sunlight.

So without any further ado, here are my top screening plants for garden privacy.


Otherwise known as ‘firethorn’, this dense shrub has pretty white flowers in spring and bold berries in autumn and winter, which birds love. Pyracantha is fairly low maintenance but can grow up to half a metre in a year so may take some serious cutting back.


Bamboo is one of my favourite plants for screening as it’s just so simple. It’s fast-growing and has a modern, minimalistic look which is great for contemporary planting schemes. Just take care to choose species that won’t become invasive and will form clumps to maintain your privacy. Chusquea Montana is a great option that grows up to around six feet.


Jasmine is another excellent plant for screening that will need to be grown up a trellis, making it perfect for creating a screened area or growing up a fence. Its delicate white flowers have a beautifully heady aroma and its slender leaves will create a sense of privacy that doesn’t feel exclusive. Jasmine is also fairly easy to maintain – just cut back after flowering to keep it in good shape.

Magnolia grandiflora

This stunning variety of magnolia tree has a wonderful, lush growth habit. Young trees can be bought and planted out next to each other, where they’ll grow vigorously. You’ll even be treated to a lovely display of large white flowers in the summer months – perfect for drawing the eye and adding interest whilst providing full coverage privacy.


Some may disagree when I say that thuja perhaps isn’t the most attractive privacy option when compared to prettier flowering options like jasmine and magnolia. However, this coniferous plant’s thick, dense growth habit makes it an excellent plant for screening to block out intrusive noises and light. It grows like the clappers and birds love nesting in it, too – so you’ll be providing a home for wildlife whilst creating privacy. Perfect!

Ornamental grasses

Grasses are a great plant for screening where you don’t want to necessary block a view completely, but would like to add definition to an area. Ornamental grasses are available in a huge range of types, heights and colours that will add structure and interest to your garden all year round. Different types of Myscanthus are a great starting point, and Pennisetum Macrocorum is a really dramatic choice. I love th

e way the wind will tousle the grass, creating movement and a soothing noise to accompany your evening relaxing in the garden.

I hope this article gives you some good ideas for screening to create privacy using plants. Happy planting! Katie x

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