En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - August 19, 2009

From: Sedona, AZ
Region: Southwest
Topic: Drought Tolerant, Privacy Screening, Shrubs
Title: Low water hedge for Sedona, AZ
Answered by: Amy Johnson


I'm looking for a shrub to plant along a 90' property line with my neighbor in Sedona, Arizona (high desert). Ideally, the shrub would grow to about 8' and would not require too much water. What would you recommend, and how many plants would I need to cover the 90' (growing to be a hedge that would completely block my neighbor's yard/house)? Thanks.


There are a few native shrubs for your area that would get to about the size you are looking for: Mountain Mahogany Cercocarpus montanus (alderleaf mountain mahogany), Red Oregon Grape Mahonia haematocarpa (red barberry), and One-seed Juniper Juniperus monosperma (oneseed juniper).  The first is mostly evergreen, the second two are fully evergreen.  Since they are all native to upland sites in your area, they should require less water, although all plants need water for the first year or so at least when you first plant them to establish their root systems.  To create a hedge, you may want to try to plant these relatively close together, and how closely you space them of course affects how many you will need.  Follow the directions given from the nursery for whichever plant you buy.  If you plant them five feet apart, you will need about 18 shrubs.   Just take your 90' length, and divide it by the spacing you decide to use to get the number of shrubs required.

There are some alternatives to a hedge you may want to consider, since it will take a little while for the shrubs to grow to 8 feet.  You could build a fence and grow vines on it.  You could also plant a few trees in combination with either the vines or some slightly shorter shrubs, say 5 feet high or so.  You could also build a berm, or a mounded area, ranging from 1-3 feet at the highest point, and then plant shrubs, trees or vines on top of that.  The more layers of different size plants you use, the more completely your view will be screened.  If you would like to explore some planting alternatives for your area, you can go to this link: Arizona Recommended Species, and narrow your search by the type of plant you are looking for.


Cercocarpus montanus

Mahonia haematocarpa

Juniperus monosperma

More Drought Tolerant Questions

Finding a manzanita species suitable for Fort Worth, TX
April 28, 2015 - Which manzanita shrub would thrive best in the Fort Worth, Tx. area? I was thinking of planting it in a large pot. Thank You!
view the full question and answer

Plants for a Austin thicket underlayer
July 25, 2014 - We live in Austin, west of 183. We are planning to put a thicket in our backyard, where there is no threat of deer. Anchoring the thicket are a clump of live oaks, a Texas persimmon, an Eve's Necklac...
view the full question and answer

Privacy screen for Sedona AZ
August 02, 2013 - I live In Sedona Az. A builder just built a house next to my house and the new house is ugly to look at. What plant or tree would grow fast and reach 18 foot in height fast. It can be about 5 to 6 foo...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover under live oaks
June 18, 2012 - I have some areas under Live Oak trees (maybe 200 sq. ft.)that remain bare, in spite of trying Habiturf. Soil is dry, poor and shallow. Can you suggest a living ground cover that would not require m...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for a school garden in Austin
May 14, 2009 - We are starting a native garden at our school in Central Austin, what native plants and flowers would be best to plant? The area we are planting faces east. We also need drought tolerant plants becau...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center