HOA in your Way? Grow Yourself a Fence! – Part 3

The following of this privacy hedge series has done nothing but ‘grow’, so I feel compelled to give you Part 3!

Viburnum privacy hedges can be an excellent way to add a green layer of seclusion from your neighbors or if your HOA will not allow you to build a fence.

The first part of this series, HOA in your Way? Grow Yourself a Fence!   was born out of a desire to keep my Fluffalupagus safe in our backyard.

HOA in your Way? Grow Yourself a Fence!

Part 2 was a follow up on my preference changes for privacy shrubs, switching to Viburnum as my numero uno favorito.

HOA in your Way? Grow Yourself a Fence! – Part 2

Now that we’ve moved on to a new adventure with similar needs, it only feels appropriate to create a Part 3 with all the new information I’ve learned along the way.


First off, let me give you an update on the original privacy shrubs.

The viburnum privacy hedges were a year and a half old last time I saw them. You will absolutely not believe the amount of growth they had over that period of time. Take a look at these time lapse photos:

Day of planting:

9 months:

One year:

And the very latest, a year and a half after planting:


viburnum privacy hedge

Look at these bad boys! So plush and fluffy just like we always dreamed they would be! That is a 6 foot fence and the hedge soars well above it. Here is a video of the full line of hedges:

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Pretty incredible when you look back on it.

I get asked all the time what kind variety of viburnum we used. This particular species is odoratissimum aka sweet viburnum. We have a few secrets to getting them this way, one of which is that you must  continue to shape and trim as they grow. Otherwise, you’ll end up with bushes that are too leggy at the bottom and full at the top like our Ligustrum in Part 2 

Another important note is that they need to be planted approximately a foot and a half off of the fence line (if you have one). Planting too close can hinder growth/the ability to trim and too far off the fence line can cause a really awkward gap if they don’t fill in.

We Branched Out

Our new home came with a beautiful lot, along with, just like in Part 1, neighbors who liked to admire our backyard.

In an effort to nip that in the bud and create more privacy, we turned to our trusty viburnum once again.

Here they are on the day of planting. I was actually kind of bummed because they looked so sad and puny. Like everything these days, the price for the larger ones we’d had previously had skyrocketed, and it didn’t make financial sense to pay for the bigger guys. These were also pretty dry upon arrival, so we made sure to water right away. We knew with some extra love and attention, we could get them up to snuff.

Day of Planting:


Here they are 9 months later. This much closer to the size of the ones we started with last time. Again taking a little longer than before just because of how small they were originally, but still shooting up and creating that privacy barrier.

9 Months Later:


About a year and a half in, they started really taking shape. They even had beautiful blooms in the spring time. I wish you could smell these photos, they were so fragrant. Things were finally looking up.

Year and a half later:

Sweet viburnum blooms


Viburnum privacy hedge

Then, the unthinkable happened…

We decided to hire a landscape company and had implicitly asked them not to touch the hedges, as we are so particular about them.

Early one Saturday morning I heard the wirrring of a hedge trimmer. The viburnum are the only privacy shrubs we have, so I knew exactly what was happening. I ran outside to stop them, but it was too late. They hacked, and i mean hacked those poor hedges. My kiddos would have done a better job (if they were old enough to use the power tools).

Going out on a Limb

Luckily, this was the tail end of Springtime, so the hedges were able to turn over a new leaf. The hack job turned into a blessing, and more growth than ever occurred as fast as ever. These photos of the same broken branch were taken 8 days apart.

Now I am by no means endorsing hacking up your viburnum. Our incident just happened to have taken place at the exact sweet spot in time garden-wise. They looked like swiss cheese for a few weeks, then were fully vibrant and plush again afterward.

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After we knew the viburnum privacy hedges were all set, we added these faux boxwood panels to our aluminum gate for additional privacy.

boxwood privacy panel

It’s been here a year now and the panels have held up really nicely. I’ll tell you what though, they stunk to high heaven for the first few days so we let them air out in the yard. Easy to install and we decided to double up with panels on both sides for extra coverage.


After all these years, sweet viburnum is still my go to for a privacy hedge. I recommend it to all my customer’s who ask for tips on seclusion. It grows relatively quickly, is sturdy, and really does offer an additional layer of solitude and security for your family once filled in. As you saw, the plant size you start with determines how fast they’ll give full coverage, but I’ve found the sweet spot of full growth to be about a year and a half- twice now.

Would you grow yourself a fence?

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