Fast growing privacy hedge or alternative

(Question)

Hi there,

I just bought my first home and the backyard backs onto a 3 floor walkup apartment building which itself is on a busier street. My first priority is to plant something along the back of the property that will grow relatively fast, block the view of the apartment and reduce the noise from the street. The area gets sun most of the day.

I’ve researched “swamp cedars”, clumping bamboo and other plants that would do well in Southern Ontario, Toronto to be exact, but would love some advice as to what plants will serve my purpose best from someone with experience. I’ve attached a picture of the back of the property for reference in which you can see a bunch of dead evergreens that I need to remove first.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions and guidance you can provide.

(Answer)

You have several options. A couple of the more interesting ones would be European beech (Fagus sylvatica – not evergreen, but the tan leaves can persist on the tree over winter) and European hornbeam (Carpinus betula), which holds its leaves over winter.

If you prefer an evergreen solution, the most commonly used hedging in Toronto is indeed the Eastern White Cedar (Thuja occidentalis ) because it is reliable, easily obtained and relatively fast growing. However, there are other evergreen options. Check out our Gardening Guide Evergreens Suitable for Hedging.