What can I say.  Some views are detrimental to your mental health !



What should I plant on my rooftop to block the view of that ugly building ? – this  is something I have heard countless times.

Now … Throwing a plant in a pot and hoping it works – doesn’t work.  Determining what are the characteristics the plant has to have to accomplish the needs is the better way. Here are some suggestions.




A sunny rooftop has some basic considerations; its sunny, tends to be windy, and its exposed to harsh winter winds.  If we add another factor like “it has to be full and not see through” to block a view – our list gets shorter. Especially because that means putting in several plants in a row or cluster to make a hedge or screen.


Pretty view – hot, sunny, windy and totally exposed rooftop terrace !

Garden Installed and maintained by Plant Specialists.




Another important consideration – does it get insects or disease readily? – no point in putting something pretty that has to be treated every month !  Our list got a little shorter still…


Just because its evergreen doesn’t mean its a good choice. Alberta spruce with new growth damaged by spider mites – very frequent problem with these plants !




These below are the tough ones – capable of handling rough rooftop conditions, while low insect and disease prone. Nothing else holds up better – unless you are talking plastic ! – and that discolors quickly – yuk !




These are good if you use the terrace year round, solid block when you are outside !  However, bonus is you can also enjoy them from inside during the winter when you look out to the terrace.


Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis ‘Emerald Green’ ) –  dark green leaves, tall, pointed growth at top, slow grower, top can be pruned and it gets more cylindrical over time.


Garden installed and maintained by Plant Specialists – the customer asked us to cover up the ugly building next door – we made an Arborvitae wall !


Japanese umbrella pine (Sciadopitys verticillata) – Called “koya-maki” in Japan – one of their sacred trees. Light chartreuse green leaves in whorls, fast grower once established, easy to prune and keep its’ shape.


Umbrella pines can be stunning as a tall hedge screen.


Juniperus scopulorum ‘Wichita’  – silver green leaves, fast grower, somewhat solid once established, easy to prune, a bit “fuzzy” shape.



Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus Virginiana) – olive green leaves, turns reddish in fall, fast grower, somewhat solid once established.


And don’t forget all the great berries !


Spartan Juniper (Juniperus chinensis “Spartan”) – bright emerald green leaves, pyramidal shape. medium grower, somewhat solid once established.





Good choice if you only use the terrace in summer or can not see from inside.

Magnolia soulangeana ‘Jane’, multi-stemmed, typically spread sideways , ‘pink flowers in spring, robust grower, easy to prune, somewhat solid hedge if pruned yearly – we used as hedge on customer terrace below.


Garden installed and maintained by Plant Specialists.

Customer asked us to make a magnolia hedge to hide an ugly wall !


Common Privet (Ligustrum vulgare) – a very fragrant hedge plant, super solid full all summer with white panicles of flowers in June.  Bees and butterflies love them! Tough through the harshest winter.



A view no one wants to hide !


Garden designed, installed and maintained by Plant Specialists

If you see any ugliness coming from your neighbors side –

Call Plant Specialists TODAY !

We can cover that up immediately !

Don’t delay – the sooner the better !






Article written by our Staff Horticulturist, Peter B Morris, BSc, MSc, MBA

All photographs used with permission @SHUTTERSTOCK