By Erin Marissa Russell
Are you looking for ideas and recommendations for landscape wind breaks and privacy screens? You have lots of options. Keep reading to get ideas you can use in your own garden.
There are plenty of plants and trees that can serve as a wind break or privacy screen that you can grow. If you aren’t in a hurry, you can start with young plants, or you can use more established specimens to break the wind or screen you from prying eyes more immediately.
Hedgerows or green windbreaks can block between 20 percent and 60 percent of the wind from your garden. An evergreen wind break or privacy screen with needled foliage will block more wind than a broadleaf plant screen will. How tall your wind break or privacy screen will be depends on the variety of plants you are using.
Here’s a list of the plants we recommend as wind breaks and/or privacy screens. (We don’t recommend bamboo, although you’ll see it on other lists like this one, because it is so prolific and invasive.)
- Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea)
- Bay Laurel (Laurus nobilis)
- Black Spruce (Picea mariana)
- Coastal Redwood Aptos Blue (Sequoia sempervirens ‘Aptos blue’)
- Colorado Spruce (Picea pungens)
- Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii)
- Dwarf Carolina Cherry Laurel (Prunus caroliniana)
- Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana)
- Emerald Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis ‘Emerald’)
- Fern Pine (Afrocarpus gracilior)
- Fraser Fir (Abies fraseri)
- Juniper ‘Spartan’ (Juniperus chinensis ‘Spartan’)
- Meyers Spruce (Picea meyeri)
- North Privet (Ligustrum x ibolium)
- Norway Spruce (Picea abies)
- Red Tip Photinia (Photinia x fraseri)
- Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus “Minerva”)
- Serbian Spruce (Picea omorika)
- Thuja ‘Green Giant’ (Thuja standishii x plicata)
- White Cedar (Thuja occidentalis)
- White Spruce (Picea glauca)
Fences are a great wind break or privacy screen. As a windbreak, a fence with louvered or separated panels will be more effective than a completely solid fence. This is in contrast to what you might expect. A solid fence will let the wind blow straight over the top of the fence and into your garden with its full force. A fence made of louvered or separated panels, on the other hand, dissipates the force of the wind by allowing some of it to filter through.
Fences are especially effective around small, often-used areas of the garden like a deck or patio. They are also often used around spas or hot tubs because of how well they keep the heat inside.
The benefit of any manmade wind break or privacy screen is that you don’t have to wait for it to grow into place as you do with green privacy screens made of plants or trees. However, fences are more likely to be regulated under homeowners’ associations than green privacy screens and wind breaks.
Like a fence with louvered or separated panels, a lattice will filter the wind and makes a great decorative element for your garden. But what about all the holes in lattice? For best results, grow a climbing vine on the trellis to help make your yard more private and keep more wind at bay. Here’s a list of vining plants you can consider to use in conjunction with trellis.
- Bougainvillea (Bougainvillea glabra)
- Clematis (Clematis montana)
- English ivy (Hedera helix): This plant is classified as invasive in some regions, so check with your local extension office before planting it in your garden.
- Moonflower (Ipomoea alba)
Want to break the wind in your garden while keeping your view intact? If you’re looking for a wind break but not a privacy screen, clear plexiglass panels are probably the way to go. We recommend plexiglass over other clear panels because it’s strong enough to keep the wind out and also very easy to clean.
Now you’re up to date on the best options for wind breaks and privacy screens. If you’re having trouble deciding which option to use, consider making a list of what’s important to you. Options might include:
- Blocking the most possible wind
- Keeping the area private
- Beauty of the solution
- Giving plants a surface to climb
- Evergreen options that will not change with the seasons
- Maintaining the view
- Giving plants some shade
- Adding new plants to the garden
With your goals clearly listed, review the options again to see which one will best suit your priorities.