En Español

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - August 03, 2011

From: Knightdale, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Privacy Screening, Shrubs
Title: Need a shrub to conceal a privacy fence in Knightdale, NC.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills


Could you recommend a medium-sized shrub/bush (max height of 6-7 feet) to plant along a privacy fence (purpose is to conceal the fence from the street view per HOA)? I live in Zone 8.


Probably one of the first things you  should do is determine if your HOA has a recommended list of plants or any specifications/restrictions? Its better to learn that now rather than after you have plants in the ground.

Mr. Smarty often gets questions about using plants to hide something; usually its neighbors, but in your case its a fence. Earlier this summer he received an inquiry about a privacy hedge from North Carolina. The circumstances are different from yours, but the answer contains some useful information including instructions for using our Native Plants Database, a short list of plant suggestions, and a link to the  Asheville Chapter of the Native Plant Society of North Carolina. So check out this previous answer which will hopefully answer most your questions.

A couple of reminders:
Once you have selected your plant, wait until the Fall before planting your screen. It is just too hot now to put plants into the ground

You can control the height of your hedge with careful pruning. Here are two links that describe how you can do this:

Pruning 101

Garden Share

Checking our National Suppliers Directory can be helpful in locating Native Plant Nuseries in you area.


More Privacy Screening Questions

Evergreen Privacy Screen for Maryland
November 19, 2012 - I am looking for an evergreen that will suffice to be planted as a privacy screen between my property and my neighbors. Looking to plant a row at the property line. The lot is shaded most of the d...
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for privacy hedge in Northern NJ.
May 01, 2012 - Hi, I'm looking for advice on what plant would make an excellent privacy hedge in Northern NJ (Bergen County). Ideally something low maintenance, about 5 feet tall, would act as a fence. Thanks...
view the full question and answer

Water-Wise Privacy Hedge for California
February 22, 2016 - I would like recommendations for a privacy hedge that would grow at least 12 feet tall with non-invasive roots and hopefully water-wise in Los Angeles.
view the full question and answer

Shade trees for Tucson AZ
May 25, 2012 - I need to plant some "fast growing" trees or shrubs on my southwest yard in order to reduce the heat in my bedroom. What do you suggest? I live in Tucson, Arizona. Thank you in advance. I'm...
view the full question and answer

Dog and kid barrier in East Wenatchee WA
October 01, 2009 - I have about a 8 foot section between my driveway and the neighbor's yard, and their kids and dogs like to run through it! I would like to plant a non-invasive 4-6 foot growing shrub/bush of some s...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center