Privacy Plants for a Deck or Patio

A landscaped patio.

Installing plants in your outdoor space will bring life and color to your patio or deck—and can also protect yourself from nosy neighbors at the same time. The right plants can create a living privacy wall to surround yourself in living beauty far more easily than you can build a fence. Use this simple DIY solution to get the outdoor space you want, and start enjoying it more!

Colorful Flowers

A tropical pink hibiscus bush.

Sunflowers are known for growing tall (up to 12 feet!) and they add a bright, bold splash of color to any outdoor landscape. But they're not limited to shades of yellow; you can find sunflower varieties in stunning shades of red and orange as well. These plants are very easy to grow and maintain because they need little care. The name says it all: sunflowers need lots of sunlight and no shade, and they grow well in a variety of soil types. Grow sunflowers in pots so they can be moved around and your living privacy screen can be changed and shifted to fit your needs. Remember to always harvest sunflowers at the end of the year because their seeds can be toxic to your grass.

Another tall plant with colorful blooms is the hibiscus. A tropical plant by nature, the hibiscus thrives in hot weather and needs at least six hours of sun per day, so they are often grown in big planters to be easily moved into the sun. Hibiscus needs to be watered every day in hot weather, but far less in colder temperatures. In fact, during winter, only water hibiscus when the soil is dry.

Juniper and Cypress Trees

A row of cypress trees.

Grow slender, tall trees around your deck or patio to create a wonderful screen against both prying eyes and weather. Trees act as natural windbreaks and provide a little cover from rain and snow as well. Juniper and cypress trees grow 10 or more feet high to create a tall green screen, but they are both skinny trees so you will need to plant them close together to get complete coverage and create a true living privacy wall.


Bamboo next to potted plants on a patio.

Bamboo is known for being invasive, but not all species are the same. Fargesia bamboo grows roots that clump together, making it less invasive than most other types. Fargesia bamboo is also evergreen, so it will keep your deck private all year long. Prevent it from spreading out by pruning excess growth and pulling up any new plants that appear outside the borders of your deck and patio area twice a year. It grows very quickly and is a hardy plant that will survive many environments—and give you plenty of privacy!

Boxwood Hedges

A row of boxwood bushes in terracotta pots.

When in landscaping doubt, turn to boxwood hedges. Boxwood is both a traditional and popular landscaping choice because you can style it to look exactly as you like. Trim your boxwood into circular shapes or squares to create a dense, natural green fence. Varieties will reach varying heights, from under five feet to up to 10 feet tall. Boxwood needs to be trimmed regularly, once or twice a year, but these evergreen hedges will screen your deck or patio through all seasons.

Italian Buckthorn

An Italian buckthorn bush.

If you want greenery that grows taller than traditional boxwood, turn to Italian buckthorn (Rhamnus alaternus). These tall shrubs grow quickly and reach for the sky, shading your deck or patio from prying eyes for six or more feet. Italian buckthorn is very leafy and creates dense cover, plus it's an evergreen so it will continue to create privacy throughout the year. Plant these shrubs close together, because Italian buckthorn is a tall plant, but not a wide one.

Put it all Together

Try using a combination of bushes, flowers, and trees to create a rich, multi-layered landscape around your deck and patio. Begin with the tallest plants first, and then layer outward by placing your middle-high plants in front of them. Place the shortest plants in the very front, so from the outside your deck or patio area is surrounded by a gorgeous, layered garden. The tallest plants will create a natural privacy wall closest to the interior of your outdoor space.