Privacy Cypress Trees: Which Varieties to Plant for Privacy

Trees give your yard privacy and are more attractive than a wooden or metal fence. Cypress trees create a natural border that offers you privacy and helps create a lush yard. Privacy trees typically grow fast, so you don’t have to wait long for what many call a “living wall.”

Can You Use Cypress Trees for Privacy?

Privacy Cypress Trees

Many trees give privacy if you plant them close together, but your yard size plays an essential role in your choice. Cypress trees have tall and narrow types better suited for smaller yards or larger trees so that you can plant fewer.

Leyland Cypress Tree

The most popular privacy tree is the Leyland cypress. You can expect it to grow three to five feet taller yearly. You’ll have privacy after a couple of seasons instead of waiting ten years. If you don’t trim your Leyland cypress, it can reach 70 feet tall.

The height isn’t the only reason these trees are so popular. They’re low maintenance, so you only need to water them if you’re in a drought. The Leyland cypress is somewhat drought-resistant to withstand full sun and periodic rain without harm. 

Water newly-planted trees several times a week, depending on the weather. Established trees only need water twice a month in spring, summer, and fall and once a month in winter.

When your Leyland cypress is three years old, you should start pruning it each winter. Once it’s dormant, you can remove any dead wood and trim it to your ideal size and shape.

The Leyland cypress has feathery needles pointing upward. The tree’s conical shape ensures you have a great deal of privacy at the base while still getting sunlight around the peaks. Not only will a wall of Leyland cypress give you privacy, but it can block wind and noise.

Italian Cypress Tree

Privacy Cypress Trees

The Italian cypress is narrower than the Leyland cypress. Instead of a pyramid shape, it more closely resembles a column. They’ll grow three feet a year, so once you get your ideal privacy, you can start trimming the top of the tree, as it can reach 50 feet tall on its own.

The tree’s width is only four or five feet around. It’s much smaller than the Leyland cypress, though both trees have dense blue-green needles to add beauty to your yard. Italian cypress trees need the same degree of care as Leyland trees, so the only factor in choosing between these stunning trees relates to your preferred diameter.

How Far Apart Do You Plant Them?

If you’re planting Leyland cypress saplings to create a privacy wall, position them about 15 feet apart. This distance keeps each tree’s roots from tangling with its neighbor’s. The trees can get as broad as 8 to 12 feet,  but you can prune them for your ideal degree of privacy.

As Italian cypress trees are narrower, you’ll plant them closer together. For a privacy border, you should plant them five or six feet apart. When they mature, the branches will touch each other, giving you maximum privacy. However, their roots will stay a safe distance apart.

Before planting either type of cypress, inspect your property. The trees grow tall, so you must look at power lines and overhangs. Consider your property line, too—you should plant them at least eight feet from your property line.

Consider staggering your trees in a zigzag or two close rows for a more natural look. This design breaks up the rigidity of a straight line while still giving you total privacy.

Final Notes

Cypress trees are beautiful evergreens that grow quickly. You can plant Leyland or Italian cypress trees and have a living privacy wall in just a few seasons. Adding to the benefits of these stunning trees is the low degree of required maintenance.