Nicole Kidman uses this versatile, low-maintenance planting trick to keep her backyard private

The actress relies on a glossy evergreen for year-round protection and privacy – and landscaping experts urge us to follow her technique

Nicole Kidman
(Image credit: Dia Dipasupil via Getty Images)

Privacy is something we may all crave in our backyards, but arguably, nobody understands the significance of a protected space like Nicole Kidman. With her career comes the inevitable desire for a yard that is as secluded as it is serene – but to achieve this, the Big Little Lies actress has turned to a planting technique that is replicable in yards of all sizes.

In the fourth photo on the carousel below, Kidman exhibits a boxwood plant (also known as Common Boxwood or Buxus sempervirens), a glossy evergreen that's a favorite among those looking for the best plants for privacy. Above the boxwood, she opted for (what appears to be) a Ficus Nitida – Ficus' Indian Laurel' which is similarly popular in Los Angeles and Southern California as a privacy hedge.

The Common Boxwood may be a feature in Kidman's backyard but as Vladan Nikolic, a plant expert from Mr House Plant explains, we can enjoy its benefits far beyond Los Angeles.

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'The Common Boxwood, also known as American Boxwood, is a multi-branched, evergreen shrub. This plant is low-maintenance and adaptable to different soil and light conditions. Although its mature height can reach up to 15 to 20 feet, you can keep it much shorter through pruning,' Nikolic says. 'This plant also loves well-draining soil, and you can add a few inches of mulch to protect its roots from getting hot and dry since they are shallow.'

Alongside its versatility, the expert explains that Common Boxwood plants are refreshingly low maintenance, and with the right care, they will provide the privacy we desire around the calendar. 

'Since it's an evergreen plant, it will give you privacy around the year with its glossy dark green leaves. It has many cultivars of different heights, so you can pick the one that suits your space the best,' Nikolic explains.

boxwood plants in front porch

(Image credit: Sadolin)

Alongside the Common Boxwood, Nikolic also recommends the American Arborvitae plant for its privacy qualities (and it's similarly a great shrub for the front of the house). 

'American Arborvitae, a pyramidal-shaped evergreen tree from the Cypress family. It has dense, scale-like leaves that are dark green on the upper surface and lighter green on the underside, and during the winter, the leaves have a beautiful bronze hue,' Nikolic says. 

Although the crown height of American Arborvitae can reach anywhere from 15 to 40 feet, there are wide dwarf varieties that are more fitting for smaller spaces, such as 'Rheingold' or 'Wareana Lutescens.'

This plant is also easy to care for and thrives in moist, well-drained loams that are neutral to alkaline. However, you should avoid placing it in full shade.'

Vladan Nikolic
Vladan Nikolic

Vladan Nikolic, otherwise known as Mr. Houseplant, is a houseplant expert with over 10 years of experience. He is the founder of the houseplant care blog and also an influencer who helps newcomers in the houseplant world become great plant parents. 

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.