What Are the Best Plants for Creating a Privacy Screen on an Urban Balcony?

Living in a bustling city often means dealing with a lack of privacy on your balcony – the one place where you might hope to enjoy some solitude. But don’t despair! For all you urban dwellers out there craving for a touch of greenery and a little privacy, we have the perfect solution: a living, breathing screen of plants. By carefully choosing the right species, you can transform your balcony into an outdoor oasis, a personal Eden in the heart of the concrete jungle. This article will guide you through the best plants to grow on a balcony to create a living privacy screen. We’ll discuss everything from design ideas to planting tips for an efficient and green privacy solution.

Selecting the Right Plants

Before rushing to your nearest garden center, it’s crucial to consider a few factors about your space. The available sunlight, the amount of care you can provide, and the weather conditions where you live will significantly impact what types of plants will thrive on your balcony.

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Balcony orientation is a crucial factor in plant selection. A north-facing balcony will receive less sunlight than a south-facing one, meaning you’ll need to choose shade-tolerant plants. On the other hand, if your balcony faces south or west, you’ll need plants that can withstand intense sunlight and heat.

Local climate also plays a significant role in plant survival. Some plants are frost-hardy and can withstand cold winters, while others may need to be brought indoors during the colder months.

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As for the maintenance level, some plants require regular watering and pruning, while others are more independent. Make sure to consider how much time and effort you can invest in caring for your balcony garden before making your selection.

Best Plants for a Balcony Privacy Screen

Now that we’ve had a look at the factors influencing your choice let’s delve into the best plants for creating a privacy screen on a balcony.

Trees and Shrubs

For those of you with larger balconies, small trees, and shrubs can provide excellent privacy. Bay trees, olive trees, and the Japanese maple are good options as they can be kept in containers and pruned to control their size. These trees not only provide privacy but also add a touch of class to your balcony design.

Shrubs like boxwood or privet are also great choices, as they can be grown in containers and can withstand heavy pruning. They can be shaped to create a formal hedge or left to grow naturally for a more relaxed look.

Climbing Plants

Climbing plants are another fantastic option for creating a living privacy screen. They grow vertically and can cover a considerable area, making them perfect for a balcony. Examples of climbing plants include ivy, clematis, and honeysuckle. They can be trained to grow on trellises or along balcony railings, creating a lush and fragrant screen.

Tall Perennial Flowers

If you prefer a burst of colors, tall perennial flowers can provide privacy and add visual interest to your balcony. Plants such as lupine, delphinium, and hollyhock can reach impressive heights and produce stunning blooms all summer long.

Planting and Growing Tips for a Balcony Privacy Screen

Creating a vibrant, green privacy screen on your balcony involves more than just selecting the right plants. Here are some ideas and tips to help you get started with planting and growing your balcony garden.

Use Containers and Pots

Most balcony gardens rely heavily on containers and pots. They are versatile and allow you to create a garden in a space with no soil. When choosing containers, consider the size and depth needed for your plants to grow. Large plants or trees will need bigger pots to accommodate their root systems.

Provide Support for Climbing Plants

As mentioned earlier, climbing plants are great for creating a green screen on a balcony. However, they will need some kind of support to climb. This could be a trellis, a pergola, or even the railing of your balcony itself.

Watering and Fertilizing

Unlike plants in the ground, plants in containers can’t draw moisture or nutrients from a large area. This means they will need regular watering, especially during hot weather. Similarly, since they can’t access nutrients beyond their pot, you’ll need to provide them with a regular supply of fertilizer.

By following these guidelines, you will be well on your way to creating a lush and private balcony garden. Whether you use trees, shrubs, climbing plants, or tall flowers, your green oasis will not only provide you with privacy but also transform your urban balcony into a personal Eden.

Creating a Year-Round Balcony Garden

Let’s now discuss the best plants to give you year-round privacy on your urban balcony.

Evergreen plants are ideal for this purpose as they retain their leaves all year, providing a constant privacy screen. As the name suggests, these plants keep their green color throughout the year, thereby maintaining the aesthetic appeal of your balcony garden.

Bamboo is a fast-growing plant that provides excellent privacy. It’s also low maintenance and can adapt well to various conditions. However, it’s important to choose a clumping variety, not a running type, to prevent it from spreading uncontrollably.

Ornamental grasses such as pampas grass and feather reed grass can reach great heights and act as a privacy screen. They’re also relatively low maintenance and can add a unique texture to your balcony garden.

Hedge plants can also offer a year-round privacy solution. Buxus, or box hedge, and yew are good examples of hedge plants that are compact, easy to shape, and evergreen.

Enhancing Your Living Space with a Balcony Garden

Creating a balcony garden is not only about privacy. It’s also about enhancing your outdoor space and extending your living room into the open air. A well-designed balcony garden can become an outdoor kitchen and dining area, a place to relax and enjoy the view, or even a sanctuary for meditation.

To create a balcony garden that serves multiple functions, consider the following tips:

  • Use furniture: Incorporating furniture in your balcony garden can help define the space and make it more functional. A small table and chairs can create an outdoor dining area, while a hammock or lounge chair can provide a place to relax.
  • Add lighting: To enjoy your garden into the evening, consider adding outdoor lighting. This could be fairy lights strung up around your plants, solar-powered lanterns, or even a few strategically placed candles.
  • Include a water feature: The sound of running water can be soothing and help block out city noise. A small fountain or a birdbath can make a great addition to your balcony garden.
  • Add personal touches: Art pieces, wind chimes, or a bird feeder can add a touch of personality to your balcony garden.


Creating a privacy screen with plants on your urban balcony can not only provide a sense of solitude amidst the hustle and bustle but also improve the aesthetic appeal of your outdoor space. It’s an enjoyable project that allows you to put your green thumb to good use and create your own personal oasis in the heart of the city.

Remember, the key factors to consider when selecting your plants are your balcony’s orientation and local climate, as well as the level of maintenance required. Fast-growing, low maintenance plants like bamboo, evergreens, and ornamental grasses are excellent choices for creating a year-round privacy hedge.

Whether you’re looking for a way to enhance your living room, create an outdoor kitchen and dining area, or simply wish to enjoy some privacy, a balcony garden can help transform your urban dwelling into a green retreat. So, get you’re gardening gloves ready, it’s time to create your own Eden amidst the concrete jungle.

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