Natural Garden Screening

Here are some natural, attractive garden screening ideas that will offer privacy while still blending into your landscape beautifully. If you are looking to create a garden screen between your home and your neighbor, to create a secluded patio, or add privacy from the street, these ideas may be just what you need to do it naturally without a fence.

The ideas presented here are natural plants that will grow nicely to create a screen. They won't take up too much space unless you have room and choose varieties that grow wide. Also, they will live for a long time, so you won't have to replace your privacy screen any time soon. Don't fall for super fast growing trees or other plants that will die out in 10 years. You can do better than that. You also need to know that throwing up a fence is not your only option. 

Here are some garden screening ideas to get you going - natural and attractive.


The single best option for creating a natural screen is to use evergreen trees and shrubs. The primary reason for that is that these plants come in a huge variety covering all shapes and sizes and they are beautiful in all seasons. Because they don't lose their leaves you can count on a screen that works all year.

When choosing evergreens for a natural garden screen the type you select is dependent on how much room you have. If you have room, don't limit yourself. Plant full-sized evergreen trees in a natural staggered pattern to fill a space. Spruce trees will generally be a better screen than pine trees. Spruce trees have shorter, dense needles that screen completely, where many pines are wispy and drop lower branches as they age which may reduce the impact of your screen.

Favorites for a terrific evergreen garden screen would include varieties like Black Hills Spruce, Austrian Pine (if you have space), or Arbor Vitae. Arbor Vitae will grow more quickly but they are neither a spruce or pine and, in the North, they are subject to snow damage, so be careful about selecting a strong variety. There are also columnar varieties that work well for a screen but beware that some may not look natural unless you mix in a few other types of trees alongside them.

Multi-Stemmed Shrubs

If you don't need all of the height that trees provide, a screen using shrubs is a perfectly good option. Choose shrubs that look natural when planted in a group to avoid a single line of shrubs along your property line. A single line of anything in your landscape does not look natural and is not how nature intended it. Rather, find a base plant that grows to the proper height and mix in some complimentary shrubs or other plantings to bring it all together.

The lilac is a start of the screening multi-stemmed shrubs that you can find, as it is dense all summer and with so many stems it offers a decent screen in winter. Lilacs grow quickly and fill a space, and planting a few in your screen area is very attractive, especially during the blooming season.

Another great option for quick growth is a dogwood. Grown as a multi-stem shrub, the dogwood will screen very well in summer and will be an attractive element in winter. This is especially true if you use a red-stemmed variety like Red Twig. The bright red stems next to an evergreen with snow on the ground cannot be beat.

It is important when you use shrubs for a privacy screen that you mix in some winter interest as well so your garden bed doesn't turn into nothing  but branches in winter. Consider a small evergreen tree or a few evergreen shrubs in the bed as well. They will become the stars of winter.

Living Fence

One of the best ideas yet, for those who can grow it, is a living fence made from bamboo. This is truly a landscaping project for you and you have to really want to do it, but the effort is well worth it. Bamboo is a great screen option in a clump, but a living fence is something altogether different.

A living bamboo fence is created by planting a row of bamboo where you need the screen and weaving the bamboo together as the plants grow. You can create a criss-cross patterns, braids, or anything you can imagine. A living bamboo fence will grow quickly and doesn't need to be stained like a normal fence.

Just as shrubs should not be planted in a row, a bamboo fence on its own will not look nearly as good as one with some other plantings in front of it, so add in some other interesting plants to really show your fence off.

Other Options

If you are feeling a bit more creative there are other options that will work just fine. For example, an area that only requires coverage in summer could be screened by a patch of sunflowers. You get the screen in summer and the seeds all winter.

Holly is an evergreen that grows in nearly any garden zone and takes up little space while enjoying nice height. It is very useful as a garden screen and looks really cool in winter and when the berries are in full display.

Very tall landscape grass, like Karl Forrester, are fantastic options for a screen area and will look natural. Landscape grasses may be left out all winter for additional screen value. The only drawback is that most need to be cut to the ground in spring to grow anew, leaving you without a screen for a period of time.

If you put your mind to it you will find many other options. If you are looking for garden screening ideas and have not yet decided, don't think that a fence is your only options. One of the garden screening ideas here may provide you with the natural, attractive garden screen that you desire.