Privacy and security are important considerations for an outdoor living space. Some homeowners use walls or fences, but these can create a “boxed in” feeling. A great option is to use greenery such as Boxwoods. Here are tips for incorporating Boxwoods into your landscape construction for security in your Yorktown, NY, patio.
What Are Boxwoods?
Boxwoods are broad-leaved evergreen shrubs with small, round leaves. There are over 100 different species of Boxwoods. Due to their density, hardiness, deer-resistance, ease of maintenance, and year-round beauty, they are a versatile shrub that enhances any garden. Boxwoods are a staple in any formal garden. They have been used as living privacy screens for centuries, but they are also a top choice for disguising foundations, as backdrops for gardens, and to line walkways.
Using Boxwoods for privacy is made easy due to their density. These hardy shrubs take well to pruning, and they need only infrequent pruning to maintain the desired shape.
Which Boxwood is best for security and privacy?
Yorktown is classified in Hardiness Zone 6b. Since Boxwoods thrive in zones 5-8, you can choose from nearly any variety. The common boxwood grows to 15–20' tall. It also has a spread of 15–20' at maturity, which is an important consideration when planting shrubs for security and privacy.
Some Boxwood varieties only grow to 3-4’ tall; these won’t provide privacy or a sense of security. Be sure you’re getting an upright Boxwood that will grow at least 6’ high, to provide a visual screen and a physical, virtually impenetrable barrier around your patio.
Common Boxwood (buxus sempervirens) grows to a height of 15-20’ with a 15-20’ spread at maturity. However, keep in mind that Boxwoods are slow-growing. Boxwoods grow just a few inches per year, so you may want to opt for smaller varieties planted closer together, either to fill in the gaps between the massive Common Boxwoods while they slowly grow to maturity, or simply choose the smaller varieties as your living security fence.
A few options are the Green Tower Boxwood, which grows to about 9’ tall but only has a spread of 1-2’; or the Green Mountain Boxwood, which doesn’t grow quite tall enough to completely block views - only 3-5’ - but this variety is an attractive conical shrub that provides some privacy without the closed-in feeling. It also provides the same impenetrable green wall feeling as taller Boxwoods.
Is it necessary to prune Boxwoods? Most people prune Boxwoods to keep them looking neat and tidy. But the short answer is, they do not need to be pruned. If you don’t want to fuss with the perfection that comes from constant pruning, let your Boxwoods grow naturally. This creates a softer look that’s especially wonderful for privacy hedges (to avoid the walled-in look). While Boxwoods like to be pruned, you can still maintain a softer, natural look by selectively pruning just a few of the new growth shoots instead of all of them.
Pruning is also driven by how quickly you want your privacy hedge to become a solid mass of greenery instead of individual shrubs. Plant smaller shrubs close together for a faster hedge. Prune in a slightly conical shape no matter the natural growth of your Boxwoods (with the widest part at the bottom and gradually tapering upward).
Boxwoods are very hardy once they’re established. They prefer full sun exposure to partial shade, and they thrive in well-drained soil. In very windy locations, Boxwoods create a wonderful wind screen, but they may experience some browning on the windward side.
For best results, work with our experts for a Boxwood hedge that provides the security and privacy you want around your outdoor spaces.