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Privacy Landscaping Trees

Privacy landscaping trees fulfill many important roles in Houston landscaping design. Some of these roles are practical, and by nature relate to the practical aspects of a very genuine need for privacy. Tree plantings also give definition to a landscape by creating zones of interest. They also add vertical impact to our basically flat terrain in a manner that increases the curb appeal of any property.

Walls have always been used to create privacy. Inorganic walls are a very important part of Houston landscaping design, but they cannot be overused. To use masonry to screen out nosy neighbors from every possible vantage point would quickly overpower both the home and the yard with a stark barrier more reminiscent of a fortress than a landscape form.

It is therefore necessary to use privacy landscaping trees to build organic walls and other barriers that will create controlled levels of desirable isolation. These isolated places, however, will not appear impersonal to others looking from the outside in. What they will see is a beautiful planting of trees without the feeling of being coldly shut out by those inside the tree wall.

To residents and guests of the home, the interior zone of interest created by groupings of trees feels rich with an organic presence that is tangibly nurturing. When illuminated by landscape lights, these walls become multidimensional. They multiply form and color within overlapping fields of light and shadow. This effect is often a key element in the creation of courtyards, entry gardens, zones of interest surrounding swimming pools, and outdoor living room design.


Obviously such complexity requires more than building a simple “wall” of privacy landscaping trees. In most cases, groups of trees composed of a number of species are planted in geometric patterns that grow at varying levels of height.

These groupings of trees are thick enough to block the sight lines of neighboring residences. They are also thick enough to act as sound barriers due to the number of individual trees planted in the group, and also due to the proximity of the trees to one another.

When planted along property boundary lines, trees do follow the linear movement of the property line. In this sense they do appear to be “walls” of living material, but as noted above, the patterns of arrangement are normally much more complex than what would be typically thought of as a line of trees, so to speak.

When planted within the boundaries of a yard, privacy landscaping trees are arranged more like geometrically designed “copses” of trees. Trees grow this way in nature, so it is easy to create such patterns provided the professional landscape designer uses the right types of trees to retain the clear boundaries of form necessary to create a particular zone of interest.

An example of such work would include a patio surrounded by groupings of trees that feel like the walls of a living room, yet much more expansive, alive, and free.
Another example would be an outdoor kitchen with a dining room patio, with privacy landscaping trees arranged to create a partial enclosure. This allows for a view of the home and the pool from the dining area, but it prohibits neighbors from seeing into the kitchen area and feeling tempted to invite themselves over.

This is a very subtle way of keeping people at a distance without rejecting them as people, and it always allows for conscious invitation on the part of the residence if they ever feel so disposed to extend one to the people beyond the trees.