The 12 Fastest-Growing Trees To Plant For Privacy In Your Yard

Whatever you do in your yard, whether sunbathing, barbecuing, or camping, you might not want the eyes of the entire neighborhood joining in. Walls and fences are a typical way to garner privacy, but sometimes they can feel restrictive. Luckily, there is another option — trees. This greenery can keep prying eyes away while adding a nice touch to your outdoor space without making it feel too closed off. However, privacy won't come overnight since these plants have to grow to their concealing heights. Fortunately, we have found 12 fast-growing tree varieties for you to have your privacy-granting foliage in no time.

Out of all the ways to make your backyard more private, trees are arguably the best option. They provide shade, clean the air, reduce noise pollution, help the local ecosystem, and naturally fit into your outdoor space, as trees are more native to the earth than us. With a fast-growing tree, you can have a tall hedge after just one or two growing seasons. Many of these varieties are low-maintenance and easy to grow, so you don't have to be a master gardener either.

1. Willow hybrid tree

The willow hybrid tree (Salix x matsudana x alba) can grow up to 6 feet annually, reaching roughly 45 feet at maturity when planted in rows. In just two years, you can have a hardy hedge to conceal your outdoor space in the summer, as they will be bare in the fall since they're deciduous. Willow hybrid trees can span 5 to 10 feet in width, so you only need a few to line the average yard. They are hardy in USDA zones 4 to 9 and beginner-friendly to grow. Full sun and moist, well-drained soil are the best conditions for growing your willow hybrid tree.

2. Thuja Green Giant

Thuja Green Giant (Thuja plicata x standishii 'Green Giant') is one of the most popular tree varieties for privacy hedges. This low-maintenance evergreen can grow up to 6 feet each growing season. This giant can tower up to 60 feet at its highest and span 15 feet wide. It will need frequent watering (multiple times a week) when first planted, but after six months, the rain should take care of it for you. This tree grows best in hardiness zones 5 to 8 with full sun.

3. Lombardy poplar

USDA hardiness zones 3 to 9 are where the Lombardy poplar (Populus nigra 'Italica') thrives best. This tree has a tall and slender profile, making it a great choice for small backyards or if you only want to block off a certain part of your home's exterior. These slim trees reach up to 60 feet tall and grow about 6 feet each year. On the downside, Lombardy poplar is not an evergreen, so the leaves won't be there to offer privacy in the winter, but its tightly-packed branches can still obscure the view.

4. Leyland cypress

Leyland cypress (Cupressus × leylandii) is a popular evergreen tree that gives you privacy all year round. Fully grown, this tree offers 60-foot-tall and 20-foot-wide coverage, so your neighbors won't see a thing. It can grow up to 5 feet annually with full sunlight to partial shade and occasional watering. Leyland cypress trees thrive best in zones 6 to 8 but can be planted in zones 5 to 10. Further, once established, these evergreens are tolerant to drought, poor soil, air pollution, and salt spray.

5. Eldarica pine

If you live in an area prone to dry weather or droughts, the Eldarica pine (Pinus eldarica) is a great option for your privacy hedge. This pine is highly-adaptable to high winds, harsh heat, and drought. Eldarica pine can reach up to 80 feet tall and 25 feet wide, definitely providing privacy several stories high. The pine tree typically grows 3 feet each year with full sun, minimal watering, and well-drained soil. This variety does best in hardiness zones 6 to 10 and can also attract birds, squirrels, and butterflies.

6. Brodie eastern red cedar

The Brodie eastern red cedar tree (Juniperus virginiana 'Brodie') can be grown in various areas, from coastal to desert regions. Poor soil and droughts don't stop this cedar from thriving. It is hardy in zones 4 to 9 and can grow up to 25 feet tall, roughly 3 feet per year. It is a stellar low-maintenance and easy-to-grow option for your privacy hedge. Full sun to partial shade is best for your Brodie tree, and once the roots are established, it only needs water during dry seasons.

7. Italian cypress

The Italian cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) is a statement evergreen. This tree can reach up to 60 feet tall and its slim profile makes it look even grander. Since it only spans 5 feet wide, the Italian cypress is a tree that's perfect for a small yard. However, only those in USDA hardiness zones 8 to 10 get the pleasure of a thriving outdoor Italian cypress. The columnar evergreen grows 3 feet each year thanks to full sunlight and well-drained soil. It is another variety that only needs watering a couple of times a year once it matures.

8. Northern Spire western red cedar

Full sunlight and moist, well-drained soil is all your Northern Spire western red cedar tree (Thuja plicata 'Northern Spire') needs to survive. This evergreen has lush foliage that turns rust-colored in the fall, providing privacy and beauty all year long. This fast-growing tree thrives best in hardiness zones 4 to 9. Growing about 2 feet each year, it can tower up to 20 feet tall and span 6 feet wide, making it ideal for adding privacy to your yard. Northern spire western red cedar is also deer-resistant and cold-hardy, so hungry mammals and frigid nights won't stop its growth.

9. Robin red holly

With its bright red berries, the Robin red holly tree (Ilex x 'Conin') can add a pop of color along with privacy to your yard. It can attract birds who snack on its fruit, and the trimmed branches are stellar as ornamental pieces inside your home. This fast-growing tree can add 2 feet per year and is hardy in zones 6 to 9, deer-resistant, and shade-tolerant. It can reach 20 feet high and 15 feet wide for an excellent privacy screen. Full sun to partial shade and moist, well-drained soil will best serve your red holly tree.

10. Taylor juniper tree

Like Lombardy poplar and Italian cypress, the Taylor juniper tree (Juniperus virginiana 'Taylor') is tall and slender. It can tower roughly 30 feet tall and 5 feet wide, growing up to 5 feet per year. This evergreen can adapt to various conditions. When the juniper tree receives full light, the soil conditions can waver from dry to moist but should always be well-drained. Hardiness zones 3 to 9 are where this evergreen flourishes and is cold-hardy. The blue-green leaves can add a decorative look to your outdoor area while barring off your personal space.

11. Full Speed A Hedge American Pillar arborvitae

The Full Speed A Hedge American Pillar arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis 'American Pillar') grows more than 3 feet each year. It peaks at 30 feet tall with a 4-foot width, making it another tall tree suitable for a small outdoor space. This species is great for beginner gardeners or those who don't have green thumbs, as it's resistant to deer, harsh cold, and heat. Plus, it can survive in various soil and air conditions. This low-maintenance evergreen is hardy in zones 3 to 8. Full sun is ideal for the American Pillar, with light watering needed once the tree matures.

12. Cryptomeria radicans tree

To round out our list, the final fast-growing tree is the Cryptomeria radicans tree (Cryptomeria japonica var. sinensis), which has feathery branches. Because it grows 5 feet per year, you could have your live green fence in just a couple seasons. Cryptomeria radicans tree can get pretty large, reaching up to 40 feet in height and 20 feet in width. It'll eventually also be tall enough to block the second floor if you skip pruning. USDA hardiness zones 5 to 9 are where this tree thrives most. A spot with full sun to partial shade will create the best conditions for your tree to thrive.