Almost everyone enjoys spending time in the great outdoors. Blue skies and wide-open spaces are appealing. Some people, however, may love the outdoors, but prefer a bit of privacy. Using shrubs to create walls or screens in your landscape is one way enjoy the outdoors but still maintain some privacy.

In addition to creating privacy, shrubs also can help hide things in the landscape such as water spigots or electrical/meter boxes. The nice thing about shrubs is they have longevity in the landscape.

As an added bonus, the shrubs can provide additional benefits, such as reducing noise, blocking wind or dust, conserving energy and improving water and air quality. They also can define a space, create habitat for beneficial wildlife and beautify the landscape by adding texture and visual interest.

When selecting a species for your screen or hedge, be sure to consider the adaptability to your region of the state, mature size (both height and width), the space available in the landscape, maintenance level and your overall aesthetics and function desired.

For those homeowners who have a desire for year-round screening to provide privacy or block an intrusive view, select broadleaf evergreens or conifers. However, if your goal is season performance, such as reducing summer heat, a deciduous species may be more effective. 

There are so many plant species and many varieties within a species, so your options from which to choose are pretty significant. For those wanting a more formal, clipped-hedge look, a few examples to consider include boxwood, firethorn, holly, abelia, arborvitaeor yew. A great thing about some of these options is they also are great choices for natural hedges for those who don’t care for the formal, clipped hedge. 

If you’re looking for something to serve as more of a background or screen, consider evergreens such as arborvitae, cherrylaurel, devilwood, fringeflower, mugo pine, Japanese plum yew or waxmyrtle.

No matter what look you’re going for, shrubs are a great addition and provide multiple functions in your landscape.

David Hillock is a consumer horticulturist with OSU cooperative extension.

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