In a bustling area like Southern California, many homeowners find an increased need for privacy. Fences are the obvious choice when it comes to creating a more private space, but privacy hedges are a great way to improve the look of your home and often provide more benefits.

Hedges provide privacy from street traffic and neighbors, create a sound barrier to reduce noise, act as a windbreak to protect against harsh winds and provide increased security on your property. There’s no one-size-fits-all option when it comes to privacy hedges, but a lot of great choices when considering the best privacy hedges for Southern California backyards.

Basic Considerations When Choosing Privacy Hedges

It’s important to choose the right hedges for your location and needs. When looking at privacy hedges for your Southern California home, here are a few factors to take into consideration:

Height and Width

All trees and shrubs grow to different heights. The height and width of a hedge ultimately drives plant choice, and it’s important that you find a plant that meets your needs. For example, if you want your privacy hedge to reach your second story window, you’ll need to choose a plant that can reach that height. However choosing a plant that grows too tall could mean increased maintenance.

Evergreen or Deciduous

When choosing plants for your privacy hedge, you need to consider whether the species is evergreen or deciduous. Evergreen trees and shrubs offer a year-round screen. Choosing a deciduous shrub may leave you exposed during certain parts of the year so consider how many months of the year you need the screen.

Dropping Leaves

Certain plants have the potential to drop leaves or flowers. This requires some extra maintenance on your part with trimming and cleanup. If you have a pool in your backyard or walks nearby, you may want to avoid choosing shrubs that drop leaves or flowers.

Eugenia (Syzygium Paniculatum)

Eugenia is a non-invasive broadleaf evergreen that’s commonly used as one of the best privacy hedges in Southern California. The shrub can reach anywhere from 12 to 20 feet tall and eight to 15 feet wide. It’s relatively fast growing and will need to be shaped with hedging tools periodically.


Italian Cypress (Cupressus Sempervirens)

Native to southern Europe, the biggest distinguishing characteristic of Italian Cypress trees is their tall, column-like form. Classified as an aerial hedge, these trees grow to a mature height of 40 to 60 feet and width of five to seven feet which make them a perfect option if you’re looking to screen something large such as a tennis court. Italian Cypress trees are considered easy growing and need little intervention after their first year of becoming acclimated to your property.

Italian Cypress trees are ideal for Southern California because they’re drought tolerant and do well in our semi-arid climate.

Cherry Laurel (Prunus Laurocerasus)

Cherry laurel is an attractive, upright evergreen shrub that grows anywhere from 15 to 40 feet tall with a 10 to 35 foot spread. In the spring, cherry laurel shrubs produce small, white flowers. There are many types of the cherry laurel plant to choose from, and they are relatively easy to care for, making it among the best privacy hedges for Southern California properties.


Ficus Nitida

Closely related to the common Fig tree, ficus trees are widely used as privacy hedges in Southern California. Ficus nitida grows into a 25 to 30 foot evergreen tree with a 35 to 40 foot spread when fully-grown. The dense foliage creates immense amounts of shade and privacy. The biggest downside of ficus trees is that the roots are very invasive, and it’s common to see this tree cracking sidewalks and invading neighboring properties. However, this doesn’t mean you should rule out the ficus tree for your home. A professional landscaping company can help you properly install the ficus tree and control its roots.

Privet (Lingustrum Vulgare)

Common privet shrubs can reach a height of four to fifteen feet with a spread of four to eight feet. These fast-growing shrubs bear white flowers in late spring or early summer, and black berries typically follow.

When pruned into hedges, privet shrubs provide dense foliage. This dense foliage, along with their height, makes the privet shrub an attractive privacy hedge in Southern California.


Hopseed Bush (Dodonaea Viscosa)

The green hopseed bush is most useful as a privacy hedge or filler plant. Hopseed is an upright growing shrub and can reach up to 10 feet tall, but it can easily be kept smaller with some shearing. It’s not quite as dense as other shrubs, but it is fast growing.

The hopseed bush can be drought tolerant if established with deep watering in well-drained soil, making it ideal for Southern California.


Boxwoods are a slow-growing evergreen shrubs and can be used as an accent, screening or edge plant. The compact-growing leaf structure allows it to be pruned and shaped as a small hedge. Many different varieties of boxwoods are suitable for privacy hedges in Southern California, and it’s best to consult a landscaping company as to which is best for your property.


Alphonse Karr Bamboo

Bamboo is also a great option for a modern and contemporary privacy plant. Bamboo can have a bad reputation because of lack of education on the species. Where most of the problems lie are with the “running” species of bamboo. There are two main classifications of bamboo: running species or clumping species

Alphonse Carr is an evergreen plant that that can range from 20 to 35 feet tall. This type of bamboo thrives in full to partial sun and is perfectly equipped to handle the hot Southern California climate.

The difference between clumping and running bamboo is crucial. Clumping bamboo does not grow wildly in all directions like running bamboo does. Clumping bamboo grows in tight, organized groups or “clumps”. For this reason, it is crucial to use clumping bamboo such as Golden goddess or Alphonse Carr for your privacy hedge option.

Finding a Professional for Design and Installation

There’s no single tree or shrub that’s perfect for every home. Depending on your needs, some may grow too tall or not provide enough privacy.

To find which of these trees and shrubs is ideal for your Southern California home, find a landscaping company that can explain the features of each plant and the potential challenges.

Here at Pacific Outdoor Living, we have experience designing and installing privacy hedges in Southern California. Our knowledgeable team will walk you through the process of selecting the right trees and shrubs, developing a design and installing the plants around your property.

Our in-house team of experienced landscapers will make sure you have a privacy hedge that meets your exact needs. Contact us today to learn more and schedule a free consultation.

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