Shrubs create living fences, adding beauty and privacy to a yard. However, many shrubs become overgrown giants, like the ubiquitous junipers planted in the 1970s and 1980s, eventually taking over a landscape and becoming a nuisance. Other shrubs make fine hedges, like red-tip photinia or privet, but require seasonal trimming to restrain the growth. Although no shrub remains exactly six feet tall without human intervention, many shrubs will mind their manners in the garden and easily fill the roll of a fence-height privacy screen or landscape anchor.
Of the many varieties of spiraea, two grow to six feet: bridal wreath spiraea (Spiraea prunifolia 'Plena') and Spiraea vanhouttei. Both produce a springtime show of small white flowers. Bridal wreath spiraea has double, rose-like blooms in April and May along graceful branches. The branches arch, creating a shrub six feet tall and as wide, and the small deciduous leaves turn beautifully red in autumn. Spiraea vanhouttei blooms later, in June and July, and the small flowers are clustered. The leaves of S. vanhouttei also turn red in autumn, and it has a vase- or fountain-shaped growing habit. Spiraea shrubs are easy to grow in all but desert climates. Although they appear delicate, these shrubs adapt to most soils, tolerate both cold and heat, and can be grown in sun or light shade. Prune old wood, as the flowers form on new growth.
Golden Goddess Bamboo
Bamboo, a true grass, is not limited to tropical or Asian gardens. Although many bamboo varieties grow to great heights and others, through underground rhizomes, spread throughout the yard, Bambusa multiplex 'Golden Goddess' is a manageable, clumping bamboo that grows six to eight feet high in the home garden. Graceful and dense, this bamboo makes an elegant background for flowering perennials or as an accent plant in narrow areas. 'Golden Goddess' will quickly screen an unwanted view and is hardy to 15 degrees Fahrenheit.
Pyracantha coccinea 'Navaho'
For those areas that require more than simply a landscape anchor, plant the thorny pyracantha variety 'Navaho.' Tough, disease-resistant, and evergreen, Pyracantha coccinea 'Navaho' will grow well in average soils and will tolerate some drought once it is established. The leaves are oval and shiny, take well to trimming if necessary, and hide the sharp thorns within. In fall, rich orange berries make a colorful addition, and both the berries and the dense cover appeal to birds and wildlife. The sharp thorns make this a good choice in areas that would otherwise become neighborhood shortcuts, like corner lots. 'Navaho' grows 6 feet tall and 8 feet wide.