“Good fences make good neighbors.” One of Robert Frost’s more famous quotes from his poem Mending Wall. With our ever-growing population here in Southwest Florida, we can kind of see his point. Our housing is now pushed closer together than ever before, and if you have moved into a new subdivision, you don’t even have any vegetation to provide natural privacy. That’s because one of the first things builders do is knock down all the trees and vegetation, so chances are good you currently have a few meager shrubs and a three saplings in your new yard. Being friendly with your neighbors is one thing, but you may also want some privacy at times. A fence may seem like an easy fix, but tall fences may violate local zoning requirements or HOA rules. Also, a fence is pretty stark to look at on it’s own. At Peer Landscaping, we believe plants can provide a softer, more natural, and more attractive border between houses, that’s why we recommend using trees, shrubs and plants to create privacy instead.
Using greenery to create privacy is not only a friendly way to keep out prying eyes, it’s also environmentally conscious, providing more green space, more oxygen, and even acts as a sanctuary for birds, animals and other pollinators.
Hedges Provide Straight Lines for a Formal Look
Let’s start by talking about using hedges for privacy. If you like the clean appearance of straight lines, then a hedge can give you the appearance of a hardscape feature like a fence. Once it is tightly trimmed it lends a sense of formality to your property line. There’s a lot to be said about the positive reasons to use a hedge for privacy.
- Hedges can help reduce ambient noise if you live on a busy street.
- If you have a side of the house that tends to get too hot at a certain time of the day, tall hedges or trees can help conserve energy by providing shade on that side.
- If you have a backyard that the wind just howls through on windy days, hedges can provide protection for some of your more delicate plants.
- One of the best things about a privacy hedge, is that they are typically low maintenance, just requiring an occasional trimming.
There are a number of fast growing Florida shrubs that make great hedges. We often like to use Clusia, as it makes an excellent hedge. It’s tropical looking with big green teardrop shaped leaves that are low maintenance and branch out close to the ground. They quickly get very wide, making them perfect for a wall of privacy. Drought tolerant and salt-tolerant makes them ideal if your home is close to the Gulf.
Similar, but with smaller leaves, the Cocoplum is a native of Florida that is also a fast growing hedge bush. It’s red-tipped leaves are appropriate for formally trimmed hedges, or if untrimmed, they will look just fine in a casual landscape design. It produces small white flowers, and the cocoplums themselves are popular with birds.
If you want something that looks very tropical, but thrives best when left as an untrimmed informal hedge, then Florida Firebush is a good choice. It’s large tubular orange flowers and black berries attract birds, butterflies and bees making it very environmentally friendly as well.
There are many more shrubs that make great privacy hedges, give us a call to have us come out and plant the right hedge for the privacy you are looking to create! Check in with us next month when we will talk about using the right trees, flowering plants and even tall grasses as privacy barriers. We are so lucky to be landscapers here in Southwest Florida, where our choices of plants to use are so varied and beautiful. #SWFLlandscaping #Floridalandscapedesign.
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