9 Best Natural Fences For Your Backyard

If you're looking to plant a natural fence, there's no end to the factors to consider. Is it too short, too big, or just right? Does it grow quickly? How dense should it be? Does it require much care? It can be impossible to make up your mind - just what IS the best natural fence?

Many people are turning to bamboo for natural fencing. It grows fast, tall, and is cold-resistant, which makes it a choice that fits almost any need. However, there are other plants to consider:

  • Japanese Boxwood
  • August Beauty Gardenia
  • Golden Ticket Privet
  • Arborvitae (Green Giant Or Emerald Green)
  • Japanese Yew
  • Blue Arrow Juniper
  • Cypress (Murray Or Leland)
  • Sweet Viburnum
  • Nellie R. Stevens Holly

If you want to learn more about each plant, how they grow, and the characteristics that make them a good choice for a natural fence, then you're in the right place. Keep reading to find all this out and more!

bamboo forest, what is the best natural fence

Characteristics To Look For In A Natural Fence

green hedge of thuja trees

When selecting the plant(s) you want to use for a natural fence, there are a few things to evaluate:

Evergreen Or Deciduous

Deciduous plants will provide little to no coverage in winter. For most people, this makes it less useful as a source of privacy. Evergreens provide screening year-round.


Some plants on this list can grow as tall as 60 feet, while others are small shrubs that may only reach 4 feet in height. You'll have to evaluate your needs to know which will work best. Large trees may be too much for your landscaping; conversely, a small bush may not provide the coverage you want.


Much like height, the spread of a plant (or how wide you can expect it to grow) can determine whether or not this plant can fit into your landscape plans.

Growth Rate

If you need your natural fence in as soon as possible, you'll want a fast-growing plant. As a general rule, plants are divided into slow growth (1 foot per year or less), moderate (between 13 inches-2 feet per year), and fast (25 inches or greater in a year).

Plants To Consider

Let's take a closer look at the plants you should consider for your natural fence:


bamboo forest

Bamboo is one of the fastest-growing plants. Some types of bamboo have been recorded to grow an astonishing 3 feet in one day! It produces more oxygen than trees and can tolerate harsher conditions than many plants. There are variants of bamboo that can survive to -20 degrees Fahrenheit.

Never use runner bamboo, which spreads underground and can end up anywhere-even a neighbor's yard. Always select a non-invasive clumping bamboo, such as this Bamboo Golden Goddess. It forms clumps 6-10 feet high and wide and is good for zones 8-10.

Click here to see Golden Goddess bamboo on Amazon.

Small Plants For A Natural Fence

In this article, any plants 6 foot tall or less are considered small. Some options are:

Japanese Boxwood

This is a slow-growing plant but is low maintenance and easy to grow into a thick hedge in time. It's good for zones 6-9, grows 5-6 feet high and 4-6 feet wide. Japanese boxwood prefers partial shade.

Click here to see Japanese boxwood on Amazon.

August Beauty Gardenias

These gardenias will provide a 6-foot hedge when fully grown, with lovely blooms that can last up to 3 months. It's for zones 7-10.

Click here to see this gardenia shrub on Amazon.

Golden Ticket Privet

This plant is hardy for zones 5-8. It is slow-growing but non-invasive and deer-resistant. Golden Ticket becomes 4-6 feet tall when mature. If faster growth is desired, there are many kinds of privet available (some grow as much as 2 feet a year).

Click here to see Golden Ticket Privet on Amazon.

Medium Plants For A Natural Fence

Medium-sized plants, in this list, are any that grow between 7-20 feet tall.

Emerald Green Arborvitae

The emerald green is a hardy plant. It grows about 1 foot each year, reaching 12-14 feet tall when mature, with a 3-4 foot spread. It can grow in zones 2-7. Emerald green is a good choice for dryer, colder climates; or when a smaller tree is desired.

Click here to see Emerald Green Arborvitae on Amazon.

Japanese Yew

This plant is both cold and shade tolerant, making it a versatile choice that can succeed in many different growing conditions. Hardy from zones 4-10, depending on cultivar, the only thing it doesn't take well is wet soil.

Japanese yew can actually grow as much as 40 feet tall, but due to the slow rate of growth, it's classified as a medium-sized plant for this list (it would take more than a decade to reach 10 feet tall, and it can be pruned to maintain a medium-shrub size).

It produces small red berries, which many gardeners consider attractive. It's worth noting that the yew is poisonous to pets or small children who may eat the seeds. Japanese yews are slow-growing, but if you have enough time to wait, they ultimately create an attractive hedge.

Click here to see Japanese yew on Amazon.

Blue Arrow Juniper

This juniper has a very small spread, which makes it great for small areas. It can grow 12-15 foot high, but only 2 feet wide. It grows in zones 4-9, in full sun. The juniper grows 1 to 1.5 feet yearly.

Click here to see Blue Arrow Juniper on Amazon.

Large Plants For A Natural Fence

In this list, large plants are those that exceed 20 feet tall.

Green Giant Arborvitae

This is one of the fastest-growing evergreens available - it can grow by as much as 3 feet each year. Rated for zones 5-8, it is more deer-resistant than other arborvitaes. Plants should be spaced 6 feet apart when grown as a hedge. It is a hardy and vigorous plant that requires at least 4 hours of sun and tolerates all but very poorly drained/wet soils. Trees can end up 50-60 feet tall.

Click here to see Green Giant Arborvitae on Amazon.

Murray Cypress

This plant grows 2-3 feet per year in zones 6-10. Plant 5-10 feet apart (5 feet for quick privacy, 10 feet if you want to encourage higher growth).

Click here to see Murray Cypress on Amazon.

Sweet Viburnum

This plant can be grown 5 feet apart for a dense evergreen screen that provides privacy year-round, and pretty, fragrant flowers every spring. It will grow in zones 8-10 and increase by 1-2 feet per year until it reaches maturity.

Click here to see Sweet Viburnum on Amazon.

What Is The Fastest-Growing Bush For Privacy?

Nellie R. Stevens Holly can grow as much as 3 feet in one year, making it one of the fastest-growing shrubs out there. Attractive, with bright red berries for a splash of color, this plant is for zones 6-9.

Click here to see Nellie R. Stevens Holly on Amazon.

How Fast Do Privacy Trees Grow?

The term "privacy trees" does not really specify how quickly the tree itself will grow - it is a category of trees that are well-suited for providing privacy. Once mature, they offer dense coverage. They can grow close together to create a "screen" without large gaps. Often, privacy trees are also evergreen, as most situations require consistent coverage year-round.

Hybrid poplar is a fast-growing privacy tree, which can grow by as much as 8 feet in a year in zones 3-9. This extreme growth is atypical, and trees growing 3-4 feet a year is much more realistic. Leyland Cyprus, for example, is a dense, pyramid-shaped tree that grows 3 feet each year, tolerates a variety of soils, and is good for zones 6-10.

What Shrubs Grow Fast And Tall?

There are fast-growing plants available in all sizes. If a large shrub (more than 20 feet tall when mature) is required, Green Giant Arborvitae is highly recommended. Listed above, Green Giant can grow as much as 3 feet in one year, in zones 5-8.

Is It Rude To Plant Privacy Trees?

When planting privacy trees, it's perfectly understandable to want the seclusion they provide. While there's nothing rude, in itself, about creating a bit of isolation between you and your neighbors, it's important to make sure that you understand and respect the rights of those around you.

  • ¬†Avoid planting trees that will leave a mess in your neighbor's yard, whether it's fruit, flowers, or needles being shed. No one wants to clean up after a tree that they didn't plant.
  • Consider how tall the tree will ultimately get. Be aware of how far it will spread when fully grown. Will the roots interfere with your neighbors land, perhaps upsetting a shed or septic tank? Will the shade kill their rose garden?
  • Be absolutely certain (check with a landscaping authority) that what you are planting does not spread under the ground or could be considered invasive. A plant that spreads beyond its boundaries can end up causing a headache for both you and your neighbor.

How Close To A Fence Can You Grow A Hedge?

Consult both the local codes in your area (there may be specific regulations that answer this) and the plant profile to determine how close to a fence you can grow your plant. You'll need to determine how big the plant will be at full growth, and set it the correct distance away from the fence.

Anything you plant should be planted far enough away that it will not grow into or encroach on your neighbor's yard. Make sure you are aware of a mature plant's width or spread once fully grown. Never plant anything so close that it doesn't have enough room to spread without ending up in your neighbor's yard.

Do not allow your plant to "hang" or grow into a fence that you did not install. Some plants, such as gardenia, will grow into the side of a fence easily. This can ultimately damage the fence. Obviously, if it's not your fence, your plants shouldn't be on top of it, even if they are "on your side" of the fence.

In Closing

Bamboo makes a versatile choice for a natural fence that can fit almost any need. It can be grown tall (if privacy is desired) or kept shorter. Other options for a natural fence include shrubs such as boxwood, holly, or privet, small trees such as juniper or yew, or large trees such as cypress or arborvitae evergreens. Flowering options include viburnum or gardenia.

With all of these wonderful options, you're sure to find the perfect natural fence for your home! Before you go, be sure to check out other helpful home advice on Uooz.com.

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