Lagerstroemia indica x fauriei 'Natchez (White)'

Screening Plants for Garden Privacy

In Garden Design, Gardening, Horticulture, Landscaping by admin3 Comments

In today’s blog we will look at garden design for privacy using screening plants. We will show you some options for improving privacy with fast growing screening plants or mature sized moderately growing plants.

Screening plants. Thuja Occidentalis

Screening plants. Thuja Occidentalis or White Cedar a slow to moderate growing evergreen conifer. Conifers can make great screening plants.

This garden design featured courtyard paving with sandstone pavers running very close to the fence. For improved privacy a fence extension was added. The screening plant for this application needs to be one with slow growing non invasive roots. The plant chosen was a conifer Thuja Occidentalis, sometimes referred to as a White Cedar. As it prefers moist, well drained soil, a dripper system using tank water was installed. The subsoil also incorporated a drainage system. The drainage system also helps to prevent the nearby fence from rotting.

The Thuja Occidentalis has a reputation for being a slow to moderate growing evergreen conifer. It has a neat, conical shape and attractive emerald-green foliage that looks good all year round. Here it provides a backdrop for the splash of colour provided by the potted petunias. Look for reasonably sized plants at least 1.5 metres as the growth is not rapid.

For the rear fence Hakea salicifolia, also know as the Willow Leafed Hakea, was chosen as the screening plant. As it will tolerate a partly shaded position, it is ideal for growing along a fence line.

Hakea Salicifolia for added privacy.

Rear Fence screened by Hakea Salicifolia

Under the right conditions it will be fast growing and will screen out the neighbours very quickly. From winter to spring it will display masses of white flowers. When growing rapidly, new growth will have a purple tint. If it is a more formal hedge you are after, it will respond well to regular pruning. As it is native to New South Wales and South East Queensland, as well as tolerant to both strong winds and frost, it can be used all over the Gold Coast. Whether you are in Upper Coomera, Ashmore or Broadbeach, this makes an ideal fast growing hedge or screening plant.

Hakea Salicifolia

Fast growing native screening plant Hakea Salicifolia. Native to South East Queensland, Hakea Salicifolia makes an ideal screening plant

Hakeas are named after Baron Christian Ludwig von Hake who was a patron of science and especially botany in Hanover Germany. Salicifolia refers to how the leaves resemble the willow. The willow tree is from the genus Salix.

For the narrow shady space between the house and the fence Waterhousea floribunda (Weeping Lilly Pilly) was chosen. Sometimes referred to as weeping satinash in South East Queensland. It is also known as Syzygium floribundum. For a Gold Coast lilly pilly hedge you might also want to consider the Acmena smithii, now known as the Syzygium smithii ‘Hedgemaster’ which is a low growing variety of the common liiii pilly.

Screening plants. Weeping Lilly Pilly Waterhousia floribunda

Weeping Lilly Pilly Waterhousia floribunda native to coastal Queensland make great screening plants for your Gold Coast garden.

Both of these varieties occur naturally in rainforests in Queensland and New South Wales. It commonly used for hedging or screening plants. The lush lime green crinkled slender leaves contrast with the new growth which is a soft pink bronze. In summer it produces fluffy white flowers that develop into pink berries. As this plant is suitable for growing in part shade to full sun, it is ideal for this position in the garden by a fence. Here it can get some protection from harsh drying winds. As you would expect for a rain forest plant, it is tolerant to wet soils. It is important not to let the soils dry out too much, so a dripper system is a real benefit. To form it into a hedge, regular pruning or hedge trimming will be required.

For your Gold Coast garden, take a look at the orange jessamine (murraya paniculata) also known as mock orange, chalcas, or satinwood when searching for screening plants. This evergreen shrub native to China grows to around 3m tall but can be controlled by hedge pruning.

Screening plants. A neatly trimmed hedge of orange jessamine (Murraya paniculata) tree in concrete pots

Screening plants. A neatly trimmed hedge of orange jessamine (Murraya paniculata) tree in concrete pots

With its clusters of small, fragrant cream flowers appearing twice each year, followed by bright reddish-orange berries in summer, orange jessamine will make an attractive screening plant for your Gold Coast garden. For cooler climates, where frost may occur, take a look at choisya (Choisya ternata) instead.

For more backyard privacy solutions, take a look at our hedge blog and our blog on English classic garden design.

Click here for more of our garden design and horticulture blogs.

For the use of Banksia Robur as a screening plant go to our blog

For information on our garden design services go to

For more information about Waterhousea floribunda

For information on Acmena smithii

For more information on Hakea salicifolia


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  1. Hi there, Great tips by the way and thank you.

    I did have a question though. I’m hoping you can answer it for me since you seem to
    be pretty knowledgeable about gardening. Are there any herbicides that will
    kill grass and/or weeds, but will not kill
    flowering or succulent plants or herbs? I have a ton of weeds
    growing in my garden beds… If you had some
    insight I would greatly appreciate it.

    1. Author

      It is really difficult to make a selective herbicide that will kill grasses but not kill herbs. Try some boiling water carefully aimed at the weeds. The best solution is to dig the weeds out and use a good mulch.

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