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Bamboo Plants for Privacy Screening

See how to use bamboo plants as an inexpensive and quick alternative for privacy screening.

A video transcript featuring Joseph Huettl, Huettl Landscape Architecture

On this particular project, we used bamboo for perimeter screening. Bamboo is very useful on a small project in particular because when you need perimeter screening, if you use a regular shrub sometimes they're not very exciting to look at. Bamboo, if you have a limited space, is both a visual barrier but also a visual interest, with the canes.

If you were to use a regular, say, a pittosporum or a laurus, you'd have this hedge screening with no real interest and you'd have to have additional plants in front of that to provide interest. With bamboo, if you have just a 4-foot width, you can have a plant that's both screening and then the canes can be pruned to provide visual interest as well.

Bamboo varieties
With bamboo, you have to be careful about which variety you use. Bamboo is usually put into two categories: You have clumping bamboo and running bamboo. What we have here is a black bamboo, which is one of the runners. It's a great bamboo, but if you don't have root control, you're going to invite problems.

In this situation, this bamboo is bound by two concrete walls, which it absolutely cannot escape from. When you do not have root barriers, a useful bamboo to use would be a clumping bamboo. My favorite varieties would be in the Bambusa family. The Bambusa genus and Alphonse Karr would be my number one choice, depending on the size you have. Golden Goddess is another good one. There's also Fernleaf and there's some larger bamboo, such as Tuldoides and Textilis, which are really striking but need a bit more room because their root balls will end up being about 5 or 6 feet wide, at least.

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