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Tree Screening: How to Create Privacy in Your Yard

Give Yourself the Gift of Peace and Privacy

Your yard is not only an extension of your home, it’s a retreat from the hustle and bustle of the world beyond. Whether it’s indoors or outside, privacy can help that relaxing retreat feel even more comfortable.

Privacy in landscaping can come in many shapes and sizes, from large structures to low hedges and everything in between. A natural and beautiful way to create privacy in your yard is by strategically planting the right trees.

Privacy plantings, including tree screens, not only provide a more secluded space, they also reduce noise pollution and add to your home’s curb appeal. For your comfort, they also offer wind resistance and provide shade.

Professionals like the team at Rossen are experienced in recommending the right trees to suit both your yard and your privacy preferences.

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Why It’s Important to Work With a Professional

A professional landscape can add as much as 15 percent to the value of your home over comparable properties. This is about more than just curb appeal; a professional is well-equipped to design an outdoor space that will extend your home’s living space, creating a more desirable property. This can be done in numerous ways, including privacy screenings.

From idea generation and site analysis to creating a plan and sticking to a budget, a landscape professional streamlines projects every step of the way. When it comes to privacy plantings, a professional will consider your property layout and your preferences to select the ideal trees for the job. Some considerations include:

  • Foliage thickness and color — If a tree’s foliage is too thin, it won’t provide much privacy, regardless of how tall it grows. Also keep in mind that deciduous leaves change color with the seasons, while evergreen plants offer more consistent coverage throughout the year.
  • Leaf size and shape — Some plants have broad leaves, while others have needles. This is important to consider in areas with extreme temperatures, since narrow leaves tend to handle cold weather better than broad ones.
  • Growth rate — Some species grow quickly while others take years before they reach their full height. A professional can help you choose something that fits your ideal timeline.
  • Maintenance required — Some species require more pruning and maintenance, while others are low-maintenance options. Talk with your landscaper about your expectations so they can make a selection that will fit into your lifestyle.

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Tree Screening Options for Northern Virginia

Aside from the factors mentioned above, native species, or at the very least trees that thrive in your area, are your best choice. The following options are well-suited to the Northern Virginia area and provide excellent privacy as part of a tree screen:

Junior Giant Arborvitae

The versatile, strong-rooted Junior Giant arborvitae (Thuja) tree is the perfect pick for privacy in tight spaces. With the look of the Thuja Green Giant but ideal for a small yard, the junior giant is one of the finest evergreens for use as screening due to its upright, uniform shape. In addition, it seldom needs pruning, thrives in heat and humidity, and is a cold-hardy specimen that stands up to freezing temperatures down to -10 degrees.

American Arborvitae
Great for our area, American arborvitae display dense, dark green foliage that is soft textured and maintains its color in the winter. Popular varieties include Emerald, which matures to about 15 feet tall and 4 feet wide; Nigra, which matures to about 15 feet tall and 5 feet wide; and Pyramidal, which matures to about 20 feet tall and 8 feet wide.

As a young tree, cryptomeria features a dense, full growth that begins to open up into a more irregular, graceful form with age. It matures to a height of 50 to 60 feet and a spread of 20 to 40 feet. With its attractive red bark, cryptomeria can be used as a specimen or to create privacy.

Eastern Red Cedar

Eastern red cedar, a narrow evergreen tree native to the mid-Atlantic region, can mature to a height of 25 to 35 feet. The dense and pyramidal form becomes slightly pendulous with age. Male plants have gold cones and female plants have blue cones, creating a privacy screen that’s attractive and functional.

Foster Holly

Foster hollies, which feature small, fine-textured leaves and narrow, upright growth, mature to a height of 20 to 30 feet if left unpruned. Their dense growth, dark green foliage and bright red berries make them an excellent choice for privacy screens.

Leyland Cypress

The popular and fast-growing Leyland cypress is capable of growing three or more feet a year until reaching maturity at 25 to 35 feet tall and 10 feet wide. It requires full sunlight and benefits from some protection from harsh winter winds.

If you’re interested in landscape design, including selecting and planting the right privacy trees for your yard, we’d love to help. Learn more about our services here or contact us today for a consultation.