Best Privacy Coverage against a Fence

(Question)

We live east of Toronto, our backyard faces North and we get sun from noon to sunset. Our yard is bordered by 3 separate properties and each house has a raised porch, meaning the homeowners walk out their back door and look directly into our yard.

Recently, one of the homeowners tore down a vine/tree that was a rapid grower and creeping into the trees and choking the branches. We aren’t sorry to see it go, but we’ve lost the privacy that it afforded us. As such, we need to replace it with something immediately that won’t take long to grow and will be tall enough to block the neighbours view.

We were actually considering Bamboo in Planters as a quick solution, but were wondering if there were any other great ideas. We cannot plant anymore trees, as there are several trees nearby and we already have lilacs on each side fence acting as privacy. So it needs to be something bush-like, that will grow upwards, have some depth to it and not take years and years to grow.

Do you have any solutions or suggestions?

 

(Answer)

Thank you for your question to Toronto Master Gardeners.

If you are simply looking for a way to have privacy in the summer, potted trees or vines would work very well. Bamboo and Areca Palms in pots would do the trick, as would Mandevilla or Passionflower Vine. These would need to be overwintered, however.

A less expensive solution would be to plant tall fast growing perennials or grasses that can survive year after year. Some examples are Sunflowers, Castor Bean plants, Joe Pye weed, Hollyhock, and hardy Hibiscus.  I can personally recommend tall grasses because they can be left through the winter, and then cut down in late March or early April.  Be sure they are the clumping, not spreading, varieties.

If you are looking for a year round solution, you’ll need to plant either trees or shrubs.  There are, for example, many tall , narrow species of Junipers, Cedars and Poplars.

Another old standby in these situations is a perennial vine or combination of vines supported by a sturdy trellis. Easiest would be a mix of spring, summer, and fall blooming Clematis, but there are many from which to choose.

I hope this gives you some ideas about how to create a screen.