privacy vegetation

Is It Rude to Plant Privacy Trees, Hedges, And Shrubs?

Hedges are second fiddle to a permanent privacy fence for some homeowners.

To those who love trees and plants in general, a perimeter hedge made of your favorite ornamental plant is refreshing than a concrete fence.

But, Is It Rude To Plant Privacy Trees, Hedges, And Shrubs?

Not at all, unless they are planted in such a way that they either interfere with the visibility of the traffic or become entangled with power transmission lines and other overhead structures when they mature.

Six Things To Keep In Mind When Planting Vegetation Near The Property Line

1. Not just any type of tree

Your choice of the tree or shrub can have a say on whether your neighbor will interpret your move as rude.

For example, some trees are prone to shed tons of leaves or fruits at some point every year – all these can add up to one big seasonal problem.

Once, I had a neighbor with Java Plum trees dotting the perimeter of their fence.

The branches could get heavy in the summer with bunches of tiny bluish succulent fruits that could rot on the ground in weeks and make the whole place smell like a brewery.

  • Choose a plant that won’t inconvenience your neighbor.
  • Stay away from deciduous plants (plants that shed tons of leaves in a season).
  • Also, avoid those plants that overproduce when it comes to fruit production.

Kei Apples (Dovyalis caffra) is probably the worst yet popular hedging plant out there. A prick from its thorns will leave you thinking they were impregnated with poison.

Even snakes dread it, but its fruits are something else – they drip a sugary acidic juice that turns the ground into a smelly and slippery mess.

2. Will it interfere with visibility?

Visibility is another factor to consider. It would be super rude to plant a hedge that restricts visibility past your yard.

Let’s be honest – most of us would rather mind our businesses within our borders than look over the fence and get branded nosey.

However, we’d be a little upset with a neighbor who always wants to keep their fences high – you feel they want nothing to do with you for no good reason.

Don’t do this with your hedges.

Plant your hedges in such a way that they don’t restrict your neighbor’s view past your yard.

Most people don’t like to be restricted from viewing the environment around them.

3. You better stay clear the property line

To avoid being perceived as rude, plant your hedge a reasonable distance away from the property.

This can also prevent the risk of your trees overgrowing and leaning into your neighbor’s yard.

It is recommended that you plant your hedge far enough into your property.

That way, you will have an easier time trimming overgrown branches and prevent them from hanging into your neighbor’s compound.

Planting the hedge on the property line is one of the worst mistakes you could make on the border.

If the neighbor ends up disliking it (which is guaranteed), you will be compelled to uproot and replant it into your land.

This may cost you a lot of time and financial resources.

There’s always the need to leave enough space between your hedge and your neighbor’s fence to make it easier for you to maintain the trees and shrubs on your hedge.

An average estimate, or a more agreeable distance, is about 10 ft. (about 3 meters) off the line – and that is for smaller ornamental plants.

Larger shade trees are known to grow tall and wide and will require even larger distance from the property line if you are allowed to grow them at all. Large trees are good windbreakers, but they don’t make good fences.

That is another factor to consider when thinking hedge – will tree placement becomes an issue in bad weather?

Is there a possibility their branches will fall on your neighbor’s property?

4. What’s your neighbor’s opinion (before you start)?

How about asking for your nosey neighbor’s opinion about what flowering shrubs they could recommend?

Sometimes nosey (if that’s what they are, that is) could mean lonely or bored and they might want to give you some ideas and even appreciate the mere fact that you respect their opinion enough to inquire for their take.

Then you could take their opinion and incorporate it into your hedge project.

5. A hedge grown to impress

Neither you nor your neighbor will want an eyesore of a hedge to be grown on the border.

If you don’t want to come out as rude, try to plant a hedge that can impress the eye.

Privacy hedges are almost the same as privacy fences – they conceal your property from passersby and neighbors.

The problem is that, while it may be easy to erect a solid and beautiful privacy fence, choosing an ornamental plant that will impress the eye and also provide the qualities of a privacy fence is difficult.

Most of the ornamental hedging plants out there take too long to establish a bulk growth that can prevent people from peeking into your yard.

So, instead of going for a privacy hedge, more so one consisting of just one plant, it only makes sense to go for several varieties of shrubs to create a single bed.

Choose shrubs or plants that would look pretty from all sides of the property line.

Besides being aesthetically attractive, the shrubs of your choice shouldn’t need pruning, or if they do, then they should be well-spaced, say, once or twice a year.

Not all climates or soils would support just any type of shrub, so your choice of shrub will be affected by these factors.

Consult your knowledgeable friends or local botanists to know what would work for you.

Some shrubs grow well in wet soils and climates, they include Abelia, azaleas (not those small strains), Euonymous manhattan (not the fanciest looking shrub out there, but it grows into a pretty green hedge with cute evergreen leaves and can reach 6 – 8′ if you subject them to expert-level pruning), Viburnum, camellias, exochorda, ninebark, and bayberry.

You can try out small understory trees too (dogwoods, serviceberry, and crape myrtles).

If you arrange all the plants in one line, the end product will create an impressive good screen but you will have to wait for more few years.

6. Be mindful of the neighbor’s fence

If your neighbor already has a fence, you need to be careful with the kind of hedge or trees you plant next to it.

Your choice may destroy your neighbor’s fence if you don’t get it right.

For example, if you plant trees or shrubs that develop a wide network of strong roots in the ground, chances are the root growth will inflict cracks in your neighbor’s solid fence (if it’s concrete/brick).

If the trees ever grow past 6 ft. your neighbor’s fence will be no more.

Another problem is that the shadow created by your trees or hedge may block the sun from shining in some parts of your neighbor’s yard.

With oxygen and light deprivation, it might be impossible to grow anything on that side of the fence.

Also, as aforementioned, leafy hedges or trees will create a constant need to rake off the dead leaves, something neither you nor your neighbor may not be prepared to handle regularly.

Adding a hedge may actually be a good idea if you approach it with all the considerations necessary. I mean, think about it – trees will add tremendous value to the property, and even your neighbors’ land also.

Large trees, though problematic when they grow too tall, are good for your property and environment as well because they help replenish the valuable oxygen in the air.

You have no idea how many different species of joyful birds you will attract with hedges and trees. Don’t they form a wonderful sight to look at also?

In a nutshell

It is never rude to plant a tree or hedge, unless they are planted in such a way that they either interfere with the visibility of the traffic or become entangled with power transmission lines and other overhead structures when they mature.

Your choice of the tree or shrub can have a say on whether your neighbor will interpret your move as rude.

For example, some trees are prone to shed tons of leaves or fruits at some point every year – all these can add up to one big seasonal problem.

Visibility is another factor to consider.

It would be super rude to plant a hedge that restricts visibility past your yard.

Plant your hedges in such a way that they don’t restrict your neighbor’s view past your yard. Most people don’t like to be restricted from viewing the environment around them.

Neither you nor your neighbor will want an eyesore of a hedge to be grown on the border. If you don’t want to come out as rude, try to plant a hedge that can impress the eye.

If your neighbor already has a fence, you need to be careful with the kind of hedge or trees you plant next to it. Your choice may destroy your neighbor’s fence if you don’t get it right.

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