Top 5 Screen Plants for Sydney

Whether you have a fab relationship with your neighbours or not, screen plants in the form of a quick growing hedge can create a private oasis for those precious family moments. From the delighted squeals of the rudie nudie run to the tug of wars with your family pet, the foil of dense green leaves creates shelter from prying eyes. And saves you from whispers as you have an afternoon cocktail in the dimming sunlight while the children play under the sprinkler.

Screen plants are not just effective at screening out your neighbours. Screen planting can be positioned to provide shelter from prevailing winds and cast shade for those super sunny days. It can disguise ugly structures, like a shed or adjacent building and offer pops of seasonal colour.

Layered with elements of good garden design, screen planting forms a visual backdrop to your family’s outdoor play space.  Plant suitable species in your garden and you will have a privacy in no time.

Our Top 5 Screen Plants for Sydney are:

Native & Versatile Lilly Pilly

Screen Plants Lilly Pilly
Image: Evergreen Growers

You can’t go past the Lilly Pilly if you are looking for a native screen plant. There are 2 types of Lilly Pilly, Syzygium and Acmena. With so many varieties to choose from that its dizzying. We recommend Syzygium australe ‘Resilience’ for a fast growing, thick natural screen.

This cultivar has been specially bred to be resistant to psyllid pests (hence it’s name). Plus it will grow happily in sun or part-shade, and does best in moist, well-drained soil. These features along with the blush of bronze on new growth make this Lilly Pilly a favourite.  

These species do have small attractive fluffy flowers and berries. But the berries are not poisonous, you can even make jam out of them if you wish! 

Fast Growing Viburnums

Screen Plants Viburnum
Image: Hardy & Healthy Nursery

Viburnum odoratissimum, known as sweet viburnum is much loved for its lush, bright green leaves and quick growth. It’s tough, surviving well in a variety of conditions without special attention.

But it can be a vigorous grower so will need clipping to keep it neat. Performs best as a 2 to 4m hedge. Small white fragrant flowers add a gorgeous scent to your garden.

Berries from the viburnum species can range from edible to mildly poisonous, so seek advice before trying.

Textural Bamboo

Screen Plants Bamboo
Image: Pinterest

For something a bit different you cannot go past clumping Bamboo. Sculptural with slender canes and fine leaves, clumping Bamboo is non-invasive and forms a spectacular screen up to 7m.

Bambusa gracilis (common name Slender Weaver) is the most popular in Sydney. Its an upright, multi-stemming, compact species of bamboo that forms a dense privacy screen. With the added benefit of not encroaching into the garden space.

One of the toughest bamboo species it is both drought hardy and frost tolerant and stays lush and green all year long.

Its hard to argue with Bamboo’s ability to stylishly screen a dodgy view quickly and efficiently.

Blooming Sasanqua Camellia

Screen Plants Camellia
Image: Monrovia

A little bit slower growing, but neither the less spectacular is the Camellia sananqua. Taking 3-5 years to form a dense evergreen hedge 2 to 3m tall, the variety of colours available add a splash to any garden.

From the most stylish of whites to the most tropical of crimson-reds, their large abundant blooms are set against a glossy green leaf. Liking full sun to part-shade, they prefer a rich, slightly acidic soil.

Fun Fact : Green tea comes from leaves of Camellia sinensis…. 

Sweet-scented Murraya

Screen Plants Murraya
Image: Benara Nurseries

You can’t have a Top 5 list of screen plants and hedges for Sydney, and not include the perennial favourite, Murraya paniculata (orange jessamine).

The Murraya has become one of Sydney’s favorite hedges for all of the right reasons with glossy green leaves that are small and dense, and perfumed white flowers as a delightful bonus.

Suitable for hedges 1.5 to 4m tall, Murraya grows quickly, in sun or part shade, and in most soils.


Prune little and often right from the start to form bushy dense hedges and screens.  

Need help designing and maintaining your family garden? Check out our garden designers and gardeners here.

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