Help with a privacy hedge


We are looking to plant a privacy hedge with our neighbour in our backyard instead of a fence but don’t know what type of hedge/ shrub to consider.
Preferably we want the hedge to have the following features:
1. Not get too too wide , the narrower the better
2. Privacy about 80% is fine
3. Get minimum 6 ft tall Preferably no more 12ft tall
4. Our sitting area would be right next to this hedge so would appreciate if you can tell us if there are any hedges that don’t attract mosquitos as we both have small children and cannot relocate our sitting areas.
5. This hedge would cover about 81 feet in length
6. Something nice and preferably something that stays green all year but if not at least from May to October
7. Fast growing preferably. We would want to buy it 5 ft tall initially.
8. Is this something we can plant ourselves or do you reccomend we get hired help


Thank you for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners about privacy hedging.

This Toronto Master Gardener gardening guide, Evergreens Suitable for Hedging  lists several options for evergreen hedges.

Based on the information you provided, a variety of Thuja occidentalis (Eastern White Cedar), known as ‘Degroot’s Spire’ may be a good option. It is a dense multi-stemmed evergreen shrub with a narrow, columnar growth habit. It grows at a slow rate, and should reach a height of about 9 feet at maturity and a spread of 24 inches.

This shrub needs full sun to partial shade and average to moist soil, good drainage and shouldn’t be allowed to dry out. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It grows best when planted in a relatively sheltered location.

These possible choices grow at a relatively slow rate and have similar growing requirements, but are wider than Degroot’s Spire:

  • Picea glauca ‘Conica’ (dwarf Alberta spruce) height 6 feet, spread 5 feet
  • Taxus x media ‘Hicksii’ (Hicks yew) height 10 feet, spread 3 feet.

No matter what variety of tree you choose, proper planting is vital.  Even a healthy tree ideally suited to your location will suffer and even die if it is incorrectly planted and not cared for post-planting.  Planting instructions are included in the above hedging guide. For more detailed tree planting information, check out our Planting a Tree for Life Guide.

Your planting area is long and will require some effort to dig a trench of the proper size. If you are up to the digging task, you should be able to plant the trees yourself, following the instructions in the above guide.

All plants will attract some insects to your yard. Insects are part of a healthy garden/yard ecosystem.

Good luck with your hedge.