Screening Plants for Garden Privacy

Screening Plants Selections to improve Garden Privacy

Screening plants, especially the fast growing varieties are a great way to not only make your garden more private. The screening plants can also be used to make your garden appear larger. If you are looking for small garden landscaping design ideas, screening plants can be used to create the illusion of a larger garden. 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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For help with the design  and development or your landscaping ideas, contact one of our experienced Landscape Gardeners. We can help with small garden design all the way up to  Commercial Landscape design.  Our specialities include fast growing screening plants, plant health and horticulture, garden lighting  and outdoor pool landscaping ideas.

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