Narrow and Tall Privacy Screen


We live in Winnipeg, zone 3, with a small yard, and 3 foot space to plant a privacy screen along a 50 foot wood fence. There have been drainage problems in our yard, and last year we had some landscaping done to improve the grade. This directs the water towards the northern property line where the 5ft tall wood fence mentioned above is. This area receives part sun, and has paving stone next to it, leaving this thin 3 ft wide space. Our desire is to have a planting of at least 12-15 ft tall to create a privacy screen from our neighbours, as well as decrease light pollution from other yards. There is a swimming pool close by, and therefore deciduous trees would not be our first choice (although not excluded if they provide an adequate solution to our privacy need). Some suggestions made to us have been Norway spruce ( slow growth would take forever to create privacy), white cedar ( uninteresting texture) and hicks yew. Since this is a new home, with a relatively new yard, there is no other competing planting or structure in place with the exception of the above mentioned parameters that we have to work within. What plantings would you recommend.


Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners. I am happy to answer your question but did you know that you have a master gardener association in Manitoba? It is the Manitoba Master Gardener Association and they also can be contacted on line at

One of our other MGs answered a question similar to yours. Check out her answer by going to the link below. Although you can apply some of what has been suggested, your site has some different requirements. You are in a different climate zone so what we can use in our zone may not be applicable. The link to Pennsylvannia State University provides a good list of trees and shrubs with zones as well as suggestions for planning a privacy screening. Note also that although deciduous trees lose their leaves, many have interest for several seasons such as flowers, berries, and fall foliage. Even the bare limb shapes can provide interest against the white of winter snow.

I also notice that water is now directed to the north side of your lot, where you would like to plant a screen. If the ground is often waterlogged or just tends to be moist, this will determine which trees and shrubs would thrive in the location especially if the soil is clay and does not drain well. The Penn State site has a list of wet site tolerant trees and shrubs.

Hicks Yew likes moist but well drained soil. Some Junipers could be a good choice but prefer good drainage. There are several smaller trees that can tolerate or prefer moist sites like some birches, Betula occidentals and Eastern Redbud, Cercis canadensis. If you chose to plant any of these trees, check with your local nursery to ensure that they are a variety that will thrive in your location.

Tree Screen