13 Plants That Make Beautiful Garden Barriers

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Surrounding your home with fences and walls is not always the most beautiful way to display your pride in your home. Inanimate structures can convey a blunt, uncaring vibe. Garden barriers celebrate natural beauty, and they express our desire to keep growing and blossoming through the years.

Especially if you're about to construct some kind of barrier around your home, consider looking past traditional fences and walls to their more elegant equivalents from the plant worlds. And if you have solid barriers already, think about complementing them with some plants that look great in a defensive line. Here are a few natural selections that make excellent dividers.

1. Cypress Trees

Considered sacred by the ancient Greeks, Cypress trees have a distinguished, magical presence. They tend to be tall and narrow, so plan to grow them in a close line. If you're taking the long view, be aware that Cypress has a typical lifespan of around 20 years.

2. Tall Grasses

Ornamental grasses make a beautiful sight blowing in a gentle breeze. Many are soft to the touch, and most require very little attention in the right climate. Little Bluestem is a striking, colorful varietal that does well in prairie conditions. Zebra grass and Blue Fescue are also widely popular, appealing choices.

3. Butterfly Bushes

With the look of overgrown lavender, butterfly bushes are a lovely garden treasure. Not only are they beautiful, they really do attract butterflies, who love their colorful blossoms and sweet nectar.

4. Boxwood

The incredibly flexible boxwood is a popular choice for topiaries, since it can be molded into any shape you can imagine. Its thick leaf and stem structure make it a natural choice for sculpting your outdoor space.

flowers along a curving hedge

5. Yew

Strong and stable, yew bushes can also grow quite large. Weave them into a wall or just let nature take its course and see what they do on your land. Their small red berries and intricate branch structures will be a draw for birds.

6. Forstythia

Forsythia grows long, looping strands of bush branches with mounds of Big-Bird yellow blossoms. The bush makes its own little worlds inside these loops, a great place for kids to explore, birds to scratch, and pets to find some shade.

7. Cacti

Not much conveys defense and protection in the plant world better than a cactus. Choose from dozens of varieties of these beautiful, slow growing plants and reap the benefits of their natural spikes.

8. Arborvitae

Another excellent evergreen selection, Arborvitae will get even taller and more bushy than Cypress. It's hardy and resilient, and its thick structure makes it a perfect screen.

9. Herbs

Lavender and Rosemary plants can grow especially large and robust for kitchen crops. Not only are they beautiful and delicious, but you can run a hand through them any time you go by for a refreshing, soothing scent. Any kind of mint is also an excellent choice. It grows like gangbusters and you can pluck a few fresh leaves for tea anytime.

a wall of lavender

10. Bittersweet

Birds love the bright red berries on these rapidly sprawling vines. The berries are dangerous for humans, though, so think twice about this option if you have young kids around. They'll also pose a threat to smaller trees if left un-pruned.

11. Juniper

Another incredibly reliable evergreen, juniper will stand up to the coldest climates. It comes in a variety of beautiful colors, and its robust structure makes it highly amenable to topiary carving.

12. Bamboo

Technically a grass itself, bamboo grows incredibly quickly with minimal resources, and its striking verticality conveys a fence-like sturdiness. Grow it in thin patches or curving forest clumps to break up the lines of your space.

If you're worried about too much spread from this aggressive expander, keep it in rows of planters so it can't send out its roots. And keep in mind it may not last the winter in colder climates.

13. Floral Vines

Once they take hold, honeysuckle and jasmie will expand quickly and can fill whole giant walls and fences with delicate leaves and pungent blossoms. Dazzling in bloom, some of these fragrant crawling wonders can also be harvested for tasty treats.