Privacy hedges are extremely popular: who hasn't had that neighbor with the balcony overlooking your yard, a "scenic" view of a storm drain, dumpster, or alleyway, or a desire to go into your yard without the whole world knowing about it?
But what if your privacy hedge could be edible? Just think about it!
Let's look at some common privacy needs and how we can solve them using edible plants:
The hedge fence
The simplest way to add privacy is to add plants to an existing fence:
A natural privacy fence
Some other alternatives, if you need a narrow privacy hedge, is to plant a row of clumping bamboo (only use clumping bamboo unless you want it to take over your yard!) or other very narrow shrubs or trees such as Irish juniper.
Thuja "green giant" arborvitae is an extremely popular plant used for this purpose -- and yes, it's edible! The leaves are very high in Vitamin C and can be used for an herbal tea, although for some it's an acquired taste -- try it out before buying, if you really want a hedge you can eat.
But there are many other tall evergreen bushes that can be sheared into a more narrow shape. If you don't need privacy year round (for example, you don't use your backyard in winter), there are many more deciduous edible plants such as elderberry, blackhaw, and magenta cherry that form a dense mat of leaves during the summer and can be pruned to a relatively narrow form.
Other hedges for privacy
Just need a bit of privacy? Many edible hedge shrubs grow to the 6 to 10 foot range, good for keeping people who walk by from seeing into the yard but are still easy to trim and harvest. If you like the more informal type of hedge, large flowering bushes like hibiscus, American cranberry, and banana plants can make wonderful thick hedges.
Banana plants are especially nice for patio privacy and around swimming pools as they don't shed leaves all over the place like many other fruit trees do.
Here are more good edible hedge plants for privacy screens:
I'll be adding to the list later as I find more.
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