According to proverbs, “good fences make good neighbors”. Even if you absolutely adore the people you share your property line with, sometimes you just need your privacy. While a fence is the traditional approach used to create privacy between properties, and while these structures are certainly advantageous for some, fences aren’t the right choice for everyone.
There’s no doubt that fences can offer some key benefits. Specific styles, such as stockade, vinyl, aluminum, can provide privacy. They also offer security, as they act as a solid barrier that can prevent people or pets from wandering off a property and stop intruders from accessing your yard. When well-maintained, certain styles of fences can add to the aesthetic appeal of a property, too. However, despite these benefits, there are some downsides to fences, too. For example, they can be quite costly, not only to install, but also to maintain. A fence could also cause issues between neighbors, as they could lead to property line despites and a fence could obstruct the view of the homeowners whom share the adjoining property; not to mention a fence can obstruct your view, too. Plus, mowing and trimming the lawn that runs alongside a fence can be a real hassle and a major pain in the neck.
Whether it’s because of one of the above-mentioned cons or for any other reason, if you’re looking to establish privacy for your property but a fence is out of the question, there’s another way that you can achieve your goal. How? With privacy hedges!
Privacy Hedges: What Are They And What Benefits Do They Provide?
A privacy hedge, as the name suggests, is a hedge that is designed to provide privacy. Hedges are rows of bushes that act as a living structure, offer form, and serve a purpose, and in the case of privacy hedges, obviously, that purpose is privacy. While hedges can be installed anywhere, if you’re using them to create privacy, you’ll want to plant them where you want to create seclusion. For instance, if you want to block the view of your yard from the adjoining property, you can plant privacy hedges along your entire property line. Or, if you want to make a specific spot in your backyard more discreet – around a fire pit, a patio, or a pool, for example – you could install privacy hedges around that specific location.
What benefits do privacy hedges provide over a traditional privacy fence? Most notably, they act as a natural barrier that blocks the view of your yard from prying eyes. But privacy isn’t all they offer; hedges can also block out unwanted noise, act as a wind barrier, filter out dirt, dust, and debris, and they can provide some much-needed shade (which, in sunny Southern Florida, is always a good thing). Other benefits that make privacy hedges more appealing than a traditional fence include the fact that they’re less costly and environmentally-friendly; plus, they offer shelter for wildlife and because they’re living plants and there are so many different options to choose from, hedges provide aesthetically pleasing, one-of-a-kind privacy for your yard. If well-maintained, privacy hedges can even improve the resale value of your property.
Best Privacy Hedges for Southern Florida
With so many benefits, it’s easy to see why privacy hedges are such a popular choice among homeowners. If you’re interested in installing privacy hedges, if you want them to flourish, it’s important to note that selecting plants that will thrive in your climate is an absolute must. After all, when plants flourish, they’re much more aesthetically pleasing and if their objective is to create privacy, the hedges will do a much better job of achieving that goal if they’re strong and healthy. Add in the fact that plants that are known to do well in the climate they’re planted in are a whole lot easier to maintain.
If you live in Southern Florida, when selecting privacy hedges, one of the first factors you’re going to want to opt for plants that thrive in the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) plant hardiness zone. Hardiness zones are geographic locations that are split up according to the average annual winter temperature and zone can be used to determine which plants will thrive in a particular region. As per the USDA, Southern Florida is divided into three different hardiness zones:
- Zone 9b – 25 to 30 degrees F (the upper regions of South Florida, like Fort Pierce, Jupiter, and Port St. Lucie)
- Zone 10a – 30 to 35 degrees F (upper-middle and southern areas of South Florida, such as Palm Beach, Riviera Beach, Palm Springs, Miami, and the Keys)
- Zone 10b – 35 to 40 degrees F (middle regions of Southern Florida, including Pompano Beach, Fort Lauderdale, North Miami Beach, and Sunny Isles Beach)
Based on the above-mentioned information, here’s a breakdown of the best privacy hedges, according to USDA hardiness zones, that will not only thrive in South Florida, but that are easy to maintain, that will make your yard a more secluded space, and that will certainly enhance the overall aesthetic appeal of your property.
There are two different varieties of Clusia, including Clusia rosea and Clusia guttifera. Both varities thrive in South Florida’s heat and humidity. Both varities are also exceptionally drought tolerant, require very little maintenance, and display a breathtaking tropical-like look and texture. The leaves have a teardrop shape, are very thick, and are highly durable, making both an excellent choice for a privacy hedge.
The first variety, Clusia rosea, is more commonly referred to as “pitch apple”. It has larger leaves and usually, it’s grown as a tree. The second variety, Clusia guttifera, grows as a standard or dwarf size, and both do better when grown as a hedge. Depending on the look you want to achieve, you can trim Clusia guttifera regularly to create a more manicured look, or you can trim it less frequently so that it has a more casual, tropical-like look.
When newly planted, both varieties of Clusia need to be watered on a regular basis; however, once established, they only need to be watered during the occasional dry spell.
Featuring beautiful sunny yellow and bright green leaves, Trinetta lends a cheerful look to any property. It also does exceptionally well in tropical climates and is quite easy to care for. It’s for these reasons that Trinette is such a popular plant used for privacy hedging in South Florida.
The vibrantly colored leaves will create a stunning privacy hedge and will surely add interest to your yard; especially if the predominant color in your landscape is green, as they’ll add a pop of color. Of course, the yellow and green leaves also look fantastic when combined with plants that feature a variety of hues, such as pink, purple, or blue.
In addition to the fact that it thrives in South Florida’s heat and humidity and that it’s simply stunning, another major benefit of Trinette is its incredible durability. It does well in both full-sun and partial-shade and it requires very little maintenance; two more factors that make Trinette such an appealing privacy hedge among South Florida homeowners.
Green Island Ficus
Another commonly used hedge in South Florida is the Green Island Ficus. It features deep green leaves that have a glossy-like finish. With exceptional durability, Green Island Ficus does well in both sunny spots and shady locations. It’s highly resistant to various diseases and pests that are common in South Florida; hence why this plant has become such a popular choice for privacy hedging in the region.
Versatility is another key benefit that Green Island Ficus offers. When trimmed on a routine basis, it lends a nice, neat, clean look that ties in perfectly with a well-manicure landscape; however, when left to grow naturally with trimming only done occasionally, Green Island Ficus offers a tropical look. It’s important to note that this hedge does tend to grow slowly, so it might take a while to reach the desired height, but the slow growth is also beneficial, as it requires minimal maintenance. As with all plants, Green Island Ficus should be kept well-watered, but once it’s well-established, it only requires an occasional watering.
Exceptionally versatile, Bougainvillea can grow as a hedge, a shrub, a tree, or a vine. It comes in an assortment of colors, too, including pinks, purples, reds, yellows, oranges, and even whites. If you want to not only want to add privacy to your yard, but a bit of color, too, the highly adaptable Bougainvillea is a fantastic option to consider. While it is stunningly beautiful and it does very well in South Florida’s heat and humidity, Bougainvillea likes a lot of sunlight; therefore, it isn’t ideal for shady locations. If profuse flowering is your goal, you’ll want to make sure that you fertilize your Bougainvillea once every quarter. Additionally, it’s important to note that the stems of the Bougainvillea plant are thorny, so it shouldn’t be planted within close proximity to locations where physical contact could occur, such as children’s outdoor play areas or around swimming pools. However, there is an upside to the thorns; they’re a great way to keep unwanted visitors at bay.