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How can I make my yard more private? It’s a question we get fairly often here at Tilly. You like your neighbors (hopefully), but maybe you just want to feel cozy and alone in your backyard. Or perhaps you’d like to spend more time entertaining in your front yard, but it’s open to the street and passers-by. Privacy landscaping is a common and simple request. It can be especially important for many of our clients who live on smaller lots and have neighbors or roads close by. We’ve created some tips for bumping up your space’s privacy through landscaping.

Privacy Landscaping Ideas

Big, Tall, Leafy Species

Certain plants provide great coverage. Depending on the space you are trying to fill, look for how tall, wide, and leafy they are. Can you see through the leaves? What is it like in the winter? Is there lower coverage? Some species are coverage all-stars. But consider also if you want to block out the world entirely or have some spaces.

Chinese Silver Grass (Miscanthus sinensis) – a good grass for lower-height coverage, can be kept through the winter and cut back in March

Spruce (Picea sp.) – large evergreen with a wide reach

Crapemyrtle (Lagerstroema indica) – multi-stemmed, dense leafed deciduous flowering shrub/tree

American Holly (Ilex opaca) – broad-leafed evergreen will cover year-round!

Rhododendron – broad-leafed evergreen that will provide a huge pop of color when it flowers

These species can be placed strategically or staggered to block off gaps. Double-check that they work for your plant hardiness zone.


A hedge is a great way to create rooms out of your space. They essentially act as the walls, can guide movement, create backdrop, or generate privacy. Below are some evergreen or semi-evergreen shrubs that will provide dense screening year-round.

  • Thuja occidentalis

  • Bamboo

  • Skip Laurel

  • Manhattan Euonymous

  • Privet (Lingustrum sp.)

  • Italian Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) 

A quick tip: the company Instant Hedge will provide plant material to establish your hedge ASAP.

Fencing and Panels

The simplest way to create privacy is to just put up a fence. Fencing comes in all shapes, sizes, colors, and materials. Choose something that fits the style of your home and yard (maybe take the Tilly Style Quiz to help determine your style!).

Then, decide how intensely you intend to screen your yard. Some fences are 100% visually impenetrable. This may be appropriate in certain cases. Otherwise you might go for something a little softer. Privacy panels can be a cute solution instead of a full fence. They can be placed to fill gaps, or even just to mask a certain view or unattractive utility. Staggering panels can add interest with varying shadows and fields of depth.

Lastly, take note of what your fence looks like from both sides! You probably want to keep your neighbors happy. Don’t leave them with an afterthought, unfinished-looking wall on their end.


Lastly, what is more whimsical than a vine cascading up a trellis? A trellis is a softer option than a fence, but still provides structure to the space. They come pre-fab or can be custom built. Vines can also be planted directly in the ground, or in planters that match your trellis’s style. Here are some good vine options to create some privacy:

Clematis (Clematis sp.) – This genus has many species of climbing vines that vary in bloom time and color.

Native Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) – evergreen leaves provide year-round coverage, with extremely fragrant flowers in Spring.

Boston Ivy (Parthenosiccus tricuspidata) – classic ivy vine that WILL climb up the side of your house if you let it!

Your yard can be an open, inviting vista, or a reclusive oasis. Or, a little bit of both! Let Tilly help with privacy landscaping and make your space into a perfect hideaway.

Photo Credit: My Landscapes


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