Inexpensive shrubs can hide a usable fence to make a more satisfying landscape. Cultivars are frequently more expensive than the species of a given tree, however in the case of certain types of shrubs, older cultivars can be just as inexpensive as the species that are general. Keep costs to a minimum by planting low-maintenance shrubs which are common to your specific site. Plant shrubs which grow as tall or taller than the fence.
Glossy abelia (Abelia x grandiflora) rises reliably in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 6 to 9 where it remains evergreen in places with mild winters. Reaching a height of 10 feet with a 12-foot spread, a glossy abelia hedge is reduced upkeep. Clusters of tubular, light lavender flowers leave behind copper-colored sepals once the blossoms drop, supplying fall shade interest. New development is purple or burgundy. Yellow-leaved cultivars include “Goldsport” and “Gold Spot.”
Screening shrubs serve many purposes when they produce drop berries that attract birds and also add visual interest. Pyracantha (Pryacantha spp.) , a vigorous grower with thorny branches, creates red, yellow or orange berries on flat stems. Originating from the eastern Mediterranean region, P. coccinea “Kasan” creates orange berries on a 8- to 10-foot tall plant. Pacific wax myrtle (Myrica californica) rises along the West Coast. In autumn, clusters of wax-covered BB-size purplish blue grapes clothe the stems, offering a decorative effect and food for the birds. Both of these shrubs grow in USDA zones 6 to 9.
Holly (Ilex spp.) Creates a screen or hedge with dense growth and spiny green leaves. When male plants are present, female plants produce berries in autumn. Growing in USDA zones 5 to 9, hollies vary in size from several feet tall into small tree-size. English holly (Ilex augustifolia) cultivars include “Large Bull,” a decorative male holly, and “Ferox,” with quite twisted, spiny leaves. Japanese hollies (I. crenata) resemble boxwoods (Buxus spp.) , with small, finely toothed leaves. “Compacta” grows 6 feet tall and wide.
Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis) is a hardy shrub or small tree which thrives under various growing conditions. Branchlets of needlelike leaves have a feathery appearance, creating an intriguing texture effect. Intermediate-size arborvitaes include T. occidentalis “Brandon,” which grows 12 to 15 feet tall, and “Yellow Ribbon,” a yellow-leaved cultivar, which grows 8 to 10 feet tall. Taller growing arborvitaes include “Fastigiata,” reaching a height of 25 feet with a 5-foot spread, along with “Spiralis,” with branchlets that spiral around the comes with this 30- to 35-foot tall tree that disperses 10 to 15 feet. Thuja occidentalis rises in USDA zones 2 through 11.