Asked on Apr 18, 2012

Evergreen Screen for privacy.

Margarita S
by Margarita S
We are in the process of planning the evergreen screen for the backyard of our home. Right now it is very open and very large. In the future we will put the deck and possibly the pool, but want to start the screen asap. Any recommendations on the selection of the plants and any other provisions to keep in mind would be appreciated. You can see on the photo that the messy neighbors and always hungry deers are both serious issues for us.
q evergreen screen for privacy, gardening, landscape
  40 answers
  • I am sure others can give you some plant suggestions. The one thought that I always have is to beware to the straight line of tree screenings. It always seems that at some point one or two trees die or get sick and then you have an obvious gap. I have heard staggering works better.

  • Linda K Linda K on Apr 18, 2012
    Arborvitae are a deer favorite - so avoid them.

  • Martha B Martha B on Apr 18, 2012
    Leland Cypress

  • Tina S Tina S on Apr 18, 2012
    You might try checking out fast growing upright hybrid willow trees. They can grow up to 12 ft in a year with a mature height of 30 to 40 ft.

  • Cheryl F Cheryl F on Apr 18, 2012
    get rid of the neighbors, keep the deer

  • Michelle B Michelle B on Apr 18, 2012
    Whisteria grows like there's no tomorrow (sp check) it has a beautiful purple bloom that is very fragrant. And it is bushy too.

    • Pandalana Williams Pandalana Williams on May 03, 2017
      But not native, and very invasive. Probably not a good choice for there. I have seen it take over a very large area quickly. It is a verocious climber; if you are talking about the fast growing Chinese one. There is a small native one that does not grow as fast (American Wysteria).

  • Tina S Tina S on Apr 18, 2012
    @ Michelle, I just googled a picture of those and wow are they beautiful.

  • John P John P on Apr 18, 2012
    royal pawlonia trees grow super fast look nice and can give you a lil income for lumber every cpl years i believe they grow around 18 ft a year staggered they would be a nice background as for the deer a crossbow works well they are delicious

  • Diane B Diane B on Apr 18, 2012
    Crytomeira. Fast growing, lush, and the deer are not wild about it at all.

  • Barbara C Barbara C on Apr 18, 2012
    If you go with Wisteria, make sure you don't get male plants, they never bloom. We planted two 8 years ago, they are fast growers but ours has never put out one bloom, just green vines everywhere

  • Willow Gates Landscaping Willow Gates Landscaping on Apr 18, 2012
    Thuja 'Green Giant' or 'Steeplechase' are supposed to be deer resistant. Certain hollies grow quickly, such as 'Dragon Lady'. I like to do varied plantings rather than just one kind of tree; if one dies and you replace it with something else, it is not so obvious. Pine, spruce, cryptomeria, etc. can also work. Leyland cypress is a beautiful fast growing tree, but beware that it does NOT like cold winter wind. If you have cold witners (such as zone 6) make sure it is not exposed to harsh west or north winds.

  • Linda F Linda F on Apr 18, 2012
    we have the same issues in our yard. I planted a mix of tall grasses (6 ft. plus) and privet hedges (I did not trim them, let them grow wild and high)-- stagger them - don't plant in a line. Makes a nice barrier and hides my neighbors ugly plastic, basketball net, etc.

  • Jan T Jan T on Apr 18, 2012
    my suggestion is to plant two rows of trees, and stagger them so the front row trees are spaces to fill in the gaps between the back trees. This way as the trees grow, there are no spaces and you won't have to look at your neighbor..

  • Jan T Jan T on Apr 18, 2012
    x x x x x x x x x x x x we did this and it completely screened out the neighbor

  • Rose S Rose S on Apr 18, 2012
    I checked out the 'deer resistant' plants, but am sorry to say that my deer didn't know that they aren't supposed to not like them. I keep telling them to stay in the back, but no such luck. If you have anything 'tasty' they'll come and have lunch and dinner.

  • 360 Sod (Donna Dixson) 360 Sod (Donna Dixson) on Apr 18, 2012
    I think you are in zone 6? If so you could use Eastern Red Cedar or maybe a American Holly (Ilex Opaca), with nice red berries and they will also provide a nice start for your future plans of the deck and pool . To add to what Kevin stated, straight lines give you a more formal look. I think in that setting a more natural flow with groupings would be more attractive, then you can layer some medium height shrubs, and then shorter ones or some hardy perennials.

  • Margarita S Margarita S on Apr 18, 2012
    You guys are great! Thanks a lot for all the suggestions. I have a list of 7 plants so far. Definetily going for stagerring with variety of plants and if this does not work will have to get rid of the neighbors. Now anyone likes digging the holes for the trees... just kidding...

  • Becky P Becky P on Apr 18, 2012
    do not, I repeat, do not use Lombardy Poplars! They grow very fast, but we found out the roots can spread to 30 feet. We have a pool and I noticed our poplars roots were up by the pool. We cut them down last fall, but they are very hard to kill. Have been putting chemicals in the stumps to kill them off, but they are sprouting again. (and these were only 3 years old)

  • Hatice U Hatice U on Apr 18, 2012
    We have a lot of roses and the deer loves them so to stop their love intrest we used dry soap and human hair and it worked ! also we found fragrent herbs works well ...

  • Margarita S Margarita S on Apr 18, 2012
    This is another good topic.. sprays to keep deers away. Obviously I won't spray the screen (about 200 ft of it anyway), but to protect other plants I have used about everything including the soap, smelly oils, etc. even made my own egge shake it all works, but needs to be repeted every few days.the

  • Brenda H Brenda H on Apr 18, 2012
    Rose of Sharon bushes also make a nice fence. They get full, bushy and can get quite tall. My sister and her husband have them on 2 sides of their property and I bet they are easily 7' tall.

  • Diana N Diana N on Apr 18, 2012
    How about Redwood trees, lilacs or privet?

  • Sharon A Sharon A on Apr 18, 2012
    You could plant some Blue Spruce Trees...just remember to give them space between the trees as they grow fast and large if allowed...I have 2 of them one is huge (was here when I moved in so I don't know how old it is) but it's easily 30+ feet, the other one is probably a good 18 feet (of which it was half that size 6 years ago)...they do get quite wide if they have the room also...they are beautiful to look at as well as creating homes for Mourning Doves, Cardinals, and others...they also provide protection for the birds from larger birds and provide a good wind break and privacy screen!

  • Rhonda G Rhonda G on Apr 18, 2012
    Arborvitae would be great and they are a favourite meal of deer. I worked in a nursery and had clients bemoaning the devastation the deer caused. They purchased dried blood, urines and repellents to no avail. I was in a discount store and saw a sign over Milorganite that great as a deer repellent. The next day at the nursery, I had a customer come in and ask for Milorganite to feed his shrubs. I asked him what kind of shrubs he was using it for and he said his arborvitae. I then asked if he's ever had problems with deer eating them and he said no...he's been using it for about 6 or 7 years as a fertilizer. I started to sell Milorganite as a deer repellent in the nursery. We couldn't keep enough of it in the garden center. I had a customer plant a tulip in the middle of her lawn and she used Milorganite around it and said the deer avoided it. I then called the company that produces Milorganite and they told me about their product and said that Cornell had done test trials on Milorganite as a deer repellent on hosta, taxus, and arborvitae. The results were did indeed repel deer. The only problem...Milorganite couldn't get the federal govt. approval to sell it as such. I still recommend it though.

  • CAROL H CAROL H on Apr 19, 2012
    I've been using Milorganite in my gardens for three years. It is the only thing that I've found to keep the deer away and it fertilizes at the same time. Great product!!

  • Anna R Anna R on Apr 19, 2012
    carol h- milorganite comes from processing human sewage, might not wanna use that in a vegetable garden. I planted a row of leyland cypress for privacy - the staggered double row works great if you have a lot of space

  • Susan H Susan H on Apr 19, 2012
    It looks like a large area and this would cost you quite a penny but I would but up a 6 or 8ft privacy fence....

  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Apr 19, 2012
    Margarita, finding an evergreen screen in deer country is definitely a challenge. Arborvitae are out of the question even though that might be your least-expensive option. I have had them eat both holly and junipers. Your best bets are pines or spruces. With those as a back row, you can place shrubs that are more decorative and offer seasonal interest in front of them. Make sure to include some viburnums among those.

  • Vanessa D Vanessa D on Apr 19, 2012
    You might find it cheaper to go with a 6 ft foot fence. Rose of Sharon, Lilacs, Privet, and Wisteria all lose their leaves in the Winter so not only would you be stuck looking at your messy neighbors again, but you'd also be staring at depressing dead looking twigs. Plus Wisteria is a very aggressive grower and can be hard to control and you'd need a structure for it to do its thing. You could try English Laurel.

  • Deborah K Deborah K on Apr 19, 2012
    Green Emerald Arborvitae along the back edge. They have other tall skinny evergreens that grow even faster. You can google it.

  • Joey G Joey G on Apr 19, 2012
    i'm in North GA, but down here we use Eleagnus, Holly (many varieties), Ilex compacta, Arborvitae, Leyland Cypress, etc.

  • Julie S Julie S on Apr 19, 2012
    i agree with the suggestions of blue spruce or leland cypress i have leland cypress in my back yard..hardy grower and can reach 20 ft and about 15 ft wide... i love mine... will make nice privacy hedge....if you use the lelands make sure you allow plenting of spacing between...

  • Rebecca D Rebecca D on Apr 19, 2012
    Aborvitae's make an excellent screen / back drop. We planted (6) 10 yrs ago! Forsythia is a lovely addition too ! Beautiful yellow flowers in spring ! Grows guickly. : )

  • Donna McCrummen Donna McCrummen on Apr 19, 2012
    Thuja Green Giant Arborvitae is an excellent fast growing evergreen. Deer rarely touch it - I've had good luck with them. They grow an average of 3' per year so you don't need to spend big coin on larger trees.

  • Julie S Julie S on Apr 20, 2012
    Be careful with forsythia... if you want privacy ....forsythia shed their leaves in the fall...

  • Evelyn R Evelyn R on Apr 20, 2012
    Forget the Holly - those leaves will blow yards and yards away and stepping on them in your bare feet (you mentioned a pool) will have you hopping! Forsythia may shed their leaves BUT, in a few years they'll be so dense you won't be able to see through them. But they won't get tall enough so you might plant them in the front row. I know, I have both. Canadian Hemlock is beautiful.

  • Susan B Susan B on Apr 20, 2012
    They have out there different Hege bushes that get fairly tall.maybe something in the cedar family.don't forget to get Plants that deer do not eat.

  • Rhonda G Rhonda G on Apr 21, 2012
    Yes, Anna, the Milorganite is from raw sewage that it heated to about 2300 degrees f and the resulting residue is pelletized and made into Milorganite. It has been know to have incidences of heavy metal compounds like cadmium and arsenic. While Milorganite says it's ok to use in a veggie garden; I wouldn't and never recommend it. Lawns and shrubs ok. I should have clarified that in my original post. Thanks!

  • Anna R Anna R on Apr 22, 2012
    its very useful info that milorganite keeps deer away from plants. I will use it on my arborvitaes. I like that its 'goof proof' wont kill plants. and it comes from an 'organic' source and not just a bunch of chemicals, (Still, just the fact that it repels deer is interesting). Last October or November Home Depot had the outdoor shrubs (big arborvitae etc) for half price. - a good time to really beef up the privacy hedge planting. get them in the ground before the first frost.

  • Sarah A. Victory Sarah A. Victory on Sep 04, 2015
    I used Leyland Cypress in my side yard area. The deer still rubbed a couple and broke some branches but there are some things that will deter deer. The Leyland Cypress grow quickly as I bought approx 15" tall trees and if you double up on the miracle gro fertilizer they grow faster. The size I bought was fairly inexpensive but sometimes you can catch larger ones on sale at a nursery if you want a screen quicker. In other areas I used Emerald Green Arborvitae. They are pyramidal and deep green (sometimes they are plagued w/Bag Worms). Your 1st line of defense is to pick the Bag Worms off and if a large infestation spray w/malathion. I recommend the Leyland Cypress.