Privacy shrubs are used to create a living fence that shields a property from neighbors and passersby. The shrubs also create a windbreak that diminishes wind speed.
It is best to plant a variety of privacy shrubs in clusters rather than in straight rows, according to the Penn State extension service. A pest or disease that attacks a particular plant can take out an entire living fence if one type of plant is used. The cluster-planting method creates a natural-looking privacy screen that is easy to supplement with new plants if some of the shrubs die. Fast-growing shrubs that are appropriate for a living privacy fence include lilacs, forsythia, cotoneaster and red twig dogwood.