6 of the best fast growing privacy trees to block out your neighbours

Keep your garden safe from prying eyes

Tree in middle of a garden with blue wall
(Image credit: Colin Poole/Future Publishing Ltd)

Trees are a beautiful and welcome addition to any garden, but they’re also extremely handy and practical. In fact, fast growing privacy trees that grow fast can help you turn your overlooked garden into an intimate oasis in just a few months. 

Yes, choosing the best trees can offer a wealth of opportunities to block out your neighbours and keep your family away from prying eyes. And no matter whether you’re looking for small garden screening ideas or patio privacy ideas, these privacy trees can be incredibly versatile. However, some trees aren’t suitable for the job.

If you’re looking for the best fast-growing trees for privacy, the last thing you want is to wait 10 years for them to grow tall enough to seclude your space. That’s why we’ve consulted with the experts to find the fastest-growing options out there. 

Fast growing privacy trees

‘Privacy trees are a great alternative to putting up high fences,’ explains Steve Chilton, garden expert at LeisureBench. ‘Their greenery blends in with your garden and the surrounding natural environment while attracting wildlife and insects.’ But if you want to add some privacy to your garden as quickly as possible, you need to choose the right kind of privacy tree. 

Headshot of gardening expert Steve Chilton
Steve Chilton

Steve is a passionate and knowledgeable garden expert with several years of experience within the field and has developed strong expertise for all things nature and plants. Steve is a keen educator and loves to share this knowledge with others. He strives to simplify complex garden practices and encourage eco-friendly gardening.

1. Silver birch

Silver birch trees in garden

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The silver birch is one of the most common trees in the UK, and you might already be familiar with its white peeling bark and drooping leaves. But have you ever considered adding some to your garden? Silver birches can make beautiful privacy trees, but they do have their downsides. 

Steve says, ‘Birches, in general, are great privacy trees. However, they are deciduous, so will drop their leaves in the colder months. If this isn't a problem, then the silver birch is an ideal tree for privacy due to the fact that it grows up to 1 metre a year in height.’

‘Another great thing about these trees is that they rarely need any aftercare once they're established. Plant them in Autumn, and keep them watered during drier periods.’

Of course, the silver birch's fast growth is great if you want fast growing privacy trees, but you need to be careful with these trees - especially if you live in urban areas. They can grow incredibly tall, so they may need regular pruning to keep them in check if you don’t want to upset the neighbours too much. 

Where to buy online:

  • Crocus: Pick up 3 bare root trees for £9.99 with a 5 year guarantee

2. Italian cypress

Row of Italian cypress trees un field

(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you’re looking for privacy trees that complement your modern garden idea or Mediterranean garden idea, the Italian cypress could tick all of your boxes. While practical, they’re also extremely ornamental due to their tall, slender shape and dense evergreen leaves. Plus, they grow very quickly. 

‘These trees are long and slender, and can be grown tall to cover larger buildings or kept shorter to cover gardens,’ explains Steve. ‘These trees are quite easy to look after and will survive in sunny spots or spots with partial shade.’

This means that you can grow them against your fence or just dot them around your garden to add some privacy to your outside space. In fact, you can even grow Italian cypress in pots. 

Where to buy online:

  • Crocus: Pick from 3 different sizes for one that will suit your garden

3. Bamboo

Bamboo planted around terrace area

(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you’re looking for fast-growing privacy trees, look no further than bamboo. Perfect for creating a zen garden idea, bamboo can easily be turned into privacy screens. In fact, bamboo can grow anywhere from 1 foot to 5 feet every year.

Steve says, ‘These offer a more contemporary, modern look when it comes to creating privacy screens around or within your garden. They grow best with well-draining soil, and some varieties of Bamboo prefer a more acidic soil.’

‘The majority of bamboo prefer growing in the sun, although there are some that prefer shade. It's best to check what you can offer your plants before you choose a bamboo variety.’

However, it may be that you need a south-facing garden to really reap the full rewards of bamboo trees.

Where to buy online: 

4. Photinia

Photinia red robin hedge in garden

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Often called ‘Red Robin,’ photinia is recognised by its red leaves, white flowers and red berries. It’s one of the best hedging plants you can choose, but it’s important to note that photinia can also make great privacy trees - especially if you’re looking for something a little different to the other green trees on this list. 

‘Photinia trees are the ideal choice to extend currently standing walls and fencing, or they're great if standing alone, too,’ says Steve. ‘As well as this, they add a bit of colour to your garden, with its foliage being bright red.’

This privacy tree can grow incredibly fast (around 30cm a year) so it’s a good idea to keep on top of pruning if you want to maintain its shape and size. Just make sure you know when to prune photinia to keep it healthy. 

Where to buy online:

  • Primrose: Pick up a Photinia from £7.99 

5. Privet tree

Japanese privet tree close up

(Image credit: Alamy)

If you’re worried your garden isn’t suitable for fast-growing privacy trees, think again. Privet trees are universally loved due to their resilience and their ability to grow just about anywhere, and the only growing requirement they have is being planted in free-draining soil.

Aside from that, they will grow in full sun or full shade, making them perfect for those who have a north-facing garden. If your privet trees are happy and healthy, you should expect them to grow anywhere between 30 and 60cm a year.

Steve also loves privet trees, saying, ‘These are the perfect trees for creating screening around a garden, and can survive well in a variety of different soil types in either full sun or partial shade.’

6. Scots pine

Scots pine tree in garden

(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you prefer a woodland garden idea, Scots pine could be more up your street. It’s one of the best privacy trees that grows fast, and it looks stunning in a garden thanks to its rustic pine needles and orange-red bark.

It’s also guaranteed to offer you privacy all year round, as this evergreen tree will retain its needles for a few years at a time. However, every four years or so it will drop its needles to make way for new ones. It’s still perfect for most gardens, though.

Steve says, ‘This is an evergreen tree that now only grows quickly but is pretty hardy when it comes to the conditions it can grow in, easily adapting to various weather conditions and soil types.’

But how much will a Scots pine grow? Well, throughout the growing season of February to September you should see growth of between 30-60cm. 


What are the fastest-growing trees for privacy UK?

If you’re looking to add more privacy to your garden but don’t want to wait years for them to grow, you should opt for fast-growing trees like silver birch, Italian cypress, bamboo, photinia, privet trees, or Scots pine. 

These trees will all grow anywhere from 30cm to 1 metre in height every single year, as long as they are planted in the right position and have the right growing conditions. 

What is the fastest-growing plant for privacy?

This all depends on how you want to use these plants. If you want to use standalone trees to block out your neighbours, most experts would suggest either the Italian cypress or privet trees. 

However, if you’re looking for the fastest-growing hedging plants, you might want to consider photinia. 

On the other hand, if you’re looking to create your own natural screens, bamboo is a great option, as it’s both fast-growing and versatile. Plus, it also looks incredibly striking. 

So, which of these fast-growing privacy trees will you be blocking your neighbours with?

Lauren Bradbury

Lauren Bradbury is a freelance writer and major homes enthusiast. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English and Creative Writing from the University of Chichester in 2016, before dipping her toe into the world of content writing. After years of agency work, writing everything from real-life stories to holiday round-ups, she decided to take the plunge and become a full-time freelancer in the online magazine world. Since then, she has become a regular contributor for Real Homes and Ideal Home, and become even more obsessed with everything interior and garden related. As a result, she’s in the process of transforming her old Victorian terraced house into an eclectic and modern home that hits visitors with personality as soon as they walk through the door.