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?

Share

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 - October 07, 2009

From: Friendswood, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Privacy Screening
Title: Privacy screen by pool in Friendswood, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We just moved into a new home with a pool in the backyard. We are trying to figure out what to plant along the back fence to allow for a bit of privacy; we have no direct backyard neighbors but there is a walking trail directly behind our home. We live in Friendswood so I know it's zone 9. We are looking for something that grows 6-9 feet fairly quickly, that's pretty but doesn't have a lot of flowers that will fall into the pool. The fence is about 10 feet from the pool. I was thinking of possibly Juniper of some type or hibicus???

ANSWER:

You need an evergreen, fairly dense shrub. Fast-growing we can't guarantee and, in fact, don't recommend. Woody plants like trees and shrubs that grow too fast can have weak wood,  break down easily and are short-lived.

Your suggestion of a hibiscus probably wouldn't work very well. They are all deciduous, and grow to only 3 to 4 ft., which means you would have thin coverage with big flowers that would be heading for your pool in the Summer, and just bare branches in the Winter. Moreover, none of the hibiscus native to Texas seem to be native to your area in Galveston and Harris County, so they might not be compatible with your soils and climate. Juniperus ashei (Ashe's juniper) will apparently grow in your area, but most people in Austin would tell you not to consider it. For one thing, it can grow out to be pretty wide, and 30 ft. tall. These trees, commonly called "cedars" in Central Texas, are about the most allergenic  plant around. The female bears the "cones" and the male the pollen, which turns the plant and everything around it yellow in the winter, causing much misery in anyone allergic to it, which seems to be everybody. And that yellow pollen wouldn't be too attractive on your pool area.

So let us suggest three possibilities for your pool privacy screen. All are evergreen, two have small, fairly inconspicuous flowers, and one flowers when there has been rainfall, year round. Follow the links to the page on each individual plant to learn more about its growing conditions.

Leucophyllum frutescens (Texas barometer bush) - compact, 5 to 8 ft. tall, blooms purple and pink January through December, low water use, sun or part shade

Ilex vomitoria (yaupon) - can grow 12 to 25 ft. tall, but is easily pruned, blooms white April and May, small flowers, low water use, part shade

Morella cerifera (wax myrtle) - 6 to 12 ft., multi-trunked, blooms green in March and April, high water use, sun or part shade

From our Native Plant Database:


Leucophyllum frutescens

Ilex vomitoria

Morella cerifera

 

 

 

 

More Privacy Screening Questions

Evergreen plants for a windbreak
June 13, 2008 - Our church has need to plant a windbreak. We would like fast growing native plants, preferably evergreen or really early 'leafers' to protect us from our windy season beginning in mid/late February....
view the full question and answer

Plants for privacy shield in Austin
May 19, 2010 - We are looking for a tall hedge on the lot line between us and our neighbors. Thinking Prunus caroliniana (Carolina laurelcherry) would be a good choice. Question: how close should we plant them tog...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen trees for screen in North Carolina
September 14, 2008 - Recently moved into a new "cluster" development where homes are very close together. Need to plant bushes / trees for privacy and would like fast growing ones that are good in the south. Attempted...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen replacement for bamboo in Redding CA
July 27, 2009 - We have just removed bamboo from our backyard and need to replace it with a plant that will give us the same type of privacy. What plant would you suggest to plant along a fence line that will surviv...
view the full question and answer

Shrub to scrren house from dust from gravel road
July 28, 2013 - HI: We live in the foothills of Dobbins, California (2 hours North of Sacramento, Ca). I live on a gravel dirt road with traffic that goes about 45 miles an hour. When they drive by our house it lo...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center