Best Screening Plants for Privacy

red Cottonwood Hibiscus - good screening plant
Help! We need some very quick growing trees to plant around our fenceline for privacy -  We've just moved into our new home and everything is bare – our neighbours are constantly watching us from over the fence?  What do you suggest??

This is one of our most common requests – You are looking for the best screening plants for privacy from your neighbours. Something fast growing, but low maintenance plant (who doesn’t?) to hide an ugly fence, or soften hard-scaping such as a fence or retaining wall,  for privacy from your nosy neighbours and even the rest of the street .

A good solution is to plant small trees or large shrubs or a combination of both. A row or hedge of the one plant or tree is nice and simple and creates a uniform look.  You could also plant different  shrubs and trees that overlap for a windbreak or sound barrier which also encourages biodiversity for local wildlife, including beneficial insects and native birds.

Your garden beds need to be as wide as you can make them for trees and shrubs to be happy and healthy. If you don’t have the space – climbing plants can be the better option. Try a few well mannered climbers like Chinese Star Jasmine or Dipladenia –  (plant both of these together, they look stunning!)  and you’ll achieve a quick (and great looking) screen as they clamber upward toward the light. Both are tough enough to climb up steel patio/pergola structures in the hot summer sun.

Fast Growing Shrubs

A word on fast growing  – it’s often the case that fast growing means more maintenance – the quicker it grows, the more it’ll need a haircut.  Fast growing also often means a larger tree, which may not be suitable for those with smaller blocks.  Something to keep in mind when selecting your screening plant – perhaps, depending on budget of course, you could plant, a more advanced, slower growing variety.

Here’s a list of shrubs and trees that we have growing in the nursery that we consider good screening plants for privacy.  Use these as a hedge row, or plant them mix and match to encourage biodiversity. These work around the Southwest area, if you’re in Bunbury, and Perth.  We often have these available in a small, medium and large size pots to suit your requirements.

Best Screening Plants For Privacy


Grevillea Olivacea – Olive Leaf Grevillea  – This would have to be one of the quickest growing plants in the nursery. Makes a gorgeous, dense screen, that can be clipped to shape

Viburnum Emerald Jewel – This Viburnum is a large shrub, growing up to around 3m with large, leathery leaves. Creates a dense hedge or screen.

Viburnum Emerald Lustre Big glossy foliage – fast growing and can grow 3-4m. Good for those narrower areas, or along a fence line. Likes full sun and can tolerate a wide variety of conditions. 


Hibiscus tiliaceous cottonwood – (pictured above) best selling plant, selected for its beautiful burgundy and green, heart shaped foliage with bright yellow flowers year round. It’s quite a vigorous plant, quick growing, providing a good size screen. Tolerates windy, and coastal conditions quite well.

Olives – are quite fast growing and make a good screen, with the bonus of fruit.  you could leave them  to bush out or plant them in a row, training them with a small trunk – called pleaching, or a hedge on legs.

Syzygium – Bush Christmas –  – these grow 4m if left unpruned. Quick growing with Winter red new growth, flowers in Summer, followed by small red (edible) berries in Autumn, providing year round interest.

Callistemon – Kings Park Special – Quick growing native shrub – bird attracting. These grow quickly with moderate watering and are drought tolerant once screen is established.

Golden Cane Palm – this clumping palm can be used for screening, their dense, leafy fronds adding extra privacy.

Bamboo Himalayan Weeping    Clumping – This is a nice bamboo for a cooler, shadier  are in your garden.  They are both fast and slow. They tend to sit for awhile and you wonder what’s going on with them. Then BAM! Up they grow – an quickly

Bamboo Slender Weavers-    Clumping Bamboo – This grows up to 6m and is a good choice for a tall, bush screen. Like all other bamboo, it will sit for awhile before putting on new growth quite quickly. Trim to shape if needed

Bamboo Golden Goddess – Beautiful golden form of Clumping bamboo Grows 3/4m x 3/4m wide. Great for a nice dense screen to block out

Westringea fruiticosa – Another fast growing native plant. Great for coastal screening and windbreaks.

Moderate Growers

Viburnum tinus – This is one of those old fashioned, classic shrubs that has withstood the test of time. Viburnum tinus is slower to grow than other Viburnums – meaning less maintenance for you! and it keeps its shape quite nicely as it grows.  These are also covered in clusters of brilliant white flowers in Winter – Spring. Grows well in both full sun and shade, so if you’re wanting to plant an area that is both sunny and shady, this is a great choice.

Evergreen Ash – smaller, evergreen tree with glossy leaves, growing to 4-6m. Looks great for added height. Plant larger shrubs underneath

Magnolia Little Gem –  Dwarf form of Magnolia Grandiflora. Very tough plant, providing glossy foliage with large white flowers  year round. Drought tolerant once established.

Port wine magnolia – this shrub has the most divine, bubblegum like scent. These are slow to moderate growers, but worth the wait. The flowers are small, but the fragrance is divine.

Upright Flowering Plum Tree – This tree is upright and can be used for narrow passages, or down a fenceline. These are relatively quick growing, the beauty of these is that they are already a great size. Deciduous, so lose their leaves in Winter. 

This article has been updated. Original publishing date is Nov 2 2015