Ficus vs Japanese Privet vs Podocaprus
I want to plant fast-growing shrubs of the types above for a privacy screen in my backyard. Roughly 20 ft of eastern exposure and 40 ft of southern exposure. My local nursery is pushing lugustrum japonica (privet) over ficus, due to what he says is invasive ficus root system that will damage foundation 10-20 years down the road. The trees abut the wall of my neighbor's garage for the east facing exposure, so that would be the major foundation concern there. South facing is up against a 6 ft high block wall with a 3 ft concrete footing. He says the Privet is the fastest growing but I have read they have an unappealing odor and are not as lushly green as ficus. Podocarpus would be the other choice. I plan to trench in a sprinkler system for the trees so watering is not a concern. Fronting the trees will be a flower bed and then most likely sod to where we are building a deck, or possibly stone pavers after the flower bed. Also with kids out there a lot, I don't want excessive pollen attractors and bees, and would prefer not to have clean up berries/droppings. Budget-wise the privet are reasonable with 5ft staked plants costing $24 per plant.