Privacy shrubs protect your home and backyard from the prying eyes of neighbors and allow you to relax in your yard. While some gardeners may prefer an unobtrusive evergreen, there are many privacy shrubs that offer visual interest, from flowers to colorful fall foliage. Privacy shrubs don't have to be boring.
With their bright red winter berries, holly bushes provide visual interest throughout the year. If left untended, American holly (Ilex opaca) can grow up to 50 feet tall, though gardeners can keep their shrub at the desired height with careful pruning. Gardeners can choose from many American holly cultivars, some with variegated leaves, yellow berries or other unusual characteristics. This plant can grow in either sun or shade, but produces more berries if planted in the sun.
Summersweet (Clethra alnifolia) develops orange foliage in the autumn and small white flowers in the spring, functioning both as a privacy screen and an attractive landscape plant. Gardeners can find varieties with pink flowers. This plant grows in both full sun to part shade. Summersweet works best for small areas, since it does not top 8 feet in height or 10 feet in width.
English yew (Taxus baccata) is an ideal privacy shrub or hedge plant for its dense, thick coverage. Untrimmed, the yew can reach 25 feet in height and 15 feet in width, though the plants can be slow growers. The English yew is hardy in zones 5B to 7, so does not perform in the northern-central, southern or western United States. This plant features small red berries in the autumn and short evergreen needles.
The Chinese juniper (Juniperus chinensis) is a tall narrow-leafed evergreen that can grow up to 55 feet in height. Many cultivars develop small blue berries and feature blueish-green foliage. This plant grows in hardiness zones 4 to 9. There are many types of Chinese juniper that vary widely in size, spread and growth habits, so gardeners should select a cultivar designed to grow up, not out.