Living Walls – Creating Privacy with a Hedge

As a Toronto pool contractor, we at Solda Pools have experienced all kinds of backyards in many different neighbourhoods around the greater Toronto area (GTA). One consideration to consider is how you will make your new backyard retreat private for you and your family. An alternative option to higher fencing or screening is creating privacy with a hedge. Landscape screening can come in many forms and usually involves planting hedgerows of plant material that will grow into maturity and provide a lush and natural barrier between you and your neighbours. This is not to say that you do not get along ‘swimmingly’ with your neighbours, however, at the end of the day it is nice to be able to relax in the privacy of your own backyard. Here are some different methods and plant materials that our landscape team uses on a regular basis and highly recommends.

The Classic Cedar Hedge

  • The cedar hedge has been a staple for landscape designers for many years and for a very good reason. A hedgerow of cedars is dense and provides not only a good privacy screen but also a barrier from harsh winds and blowing snow. Planting a hedgerow of cedars will effectively create a wall of green as cedars tend to merge together over time. Plant cedars against prevailing winds on your property or along chain link or wrought iron fences to fill holes along your property lines. Cedars will give you immediate privacy in a backyard setting.

Best Species: Emerald Cedar (Thuja occidentalis ‘Smaragd’) and for large properties: Eastern White Cedar (Thuja occidentalis)

Cedar Hedge Around a Solda Pool

The Elegant Pyramidal Oak Hedge

  • This second option is more expensive than a cedar hedge but is more elegant and unique. Pyramidal or columnar species of oak come in many different varieties and can add some colour interest as well as significant height in a larger yard. These specimens are beautiful when lit at night and can be used as show pieces. These species will not grow together and create a windbreak as well as a cedar hedge but they will provide you with graceful natural columns along a fence line or lining a driveway. Be advised, oak trees do drop acorns so be sure that you have enough free garden bed to accommodate the droppings.

Best Species: English Oak (Quercus robur), Green Pillar Oak, Crimson Spire Pyramidal Oak (Quercus alba X robur)

Pyramidal English Oak (Photo Courtesy:

The Rich Columnar Beech Hedge

  • The beech family has produced some beautiful columnar specimens that, much like the oaks, are elegant and rich with colour. Columnar beech varieties will not get as wide as the oaks but will still provide great height. The richness of purples and greens in these trees make them ideal for night lighting as specimens.

Best Species: Dawyck Gold, Green or Purple, Red Obelisk

These are just some of the hedging options available at nurseries throughout the greater Toronto area (GTA), but many more can be used. Be sure to ask your local nursery what they recommend as they may have alternative options for you to try. As pool installers we understand the value of creating privacy in your backyard getaway. Feel free to contact myself or any other design professional at Solda Pools for tips and tricks for creating privacy in your yard.

Dan Thurtell, BLA – Solda Pools Design Professional


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