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Ask a Pro

Ask a Pro – Backyard Privacy Options


We are looking for a hedge or tree to create privacy from our neighbors. There is already a chain links fence separating us but would like to put something in the ground that is approximately 8’ high and 4’ to 6’ wide that is not too expansive and would grow well in both sun and partial shade. Any advice?


For many years, that 5-foot fence with the piece of lattice on top combined with a few strategically placed trees was the default method for creating privacy from the neighbours. Then houses started to change. Bigger houses on smaller lots became the norm. More square footage on the inside meant that houses were being built taller and wider, closer to the property lines. As a result, the traditional fence was no longer enough when it came to backyard privacy.

I love using any of the poplar family like aspens or Tulip tree with my evergreens. Here is how I add great privacy using a row of trees.

  • Create a line with landscape paint, string or even a hose on the ground.
  • Start at one end of your row by placing an evergreen on the backside of your line.
  • The next evergreen is planted 2-3’ down the row on the front side of the line.
  • Third tree in the row is deciduous, again on the backside of the line. 2 more evergreens on the front, followed by another poplar on the backside and so on for the length of your privacy hedge.
  • The leaf trees fill in the empty spaces around the top of the conifers and by alternating types of trees along the row, it looks visually appealing in your yard.

Not sure where you need the most privacy…try standing on your deck or patio and really take a good look around you. Who do you see? If you can see your neighbours, then your neighbours can see you! Try some of my suggestions at creating privacy in your space and enjoy this summer in your private sanctuary

~ Carson