A friend came to me with a problem. Chain link fences separate the houses and yards in her neighborhood and she wants to hide hers. What can she use? She wants "evergreen, low maintenance, not subject to pests and it would be nice if it is attractive."
'Otto Luykens' to the rescue! As a member of the English Laurel genus, it meets all the requirements she lists and several others not realized. And You Can Grow That!
Because her neighborhood is on a hill, it is also important that no views be blocked. 'Otto Luykens' stays on the shorter side, usually topping out at 5' and 5' in width. However, if it gets too tall, it is easy to prune.
In addition, my friend needs a plant that will tolerate salt-water spray, as she is only four blocks from the beach. Again, 'Otto' is right there.
Attractive? In early summer, and again in early fall, 'Otto Luykens' blooms with upright spikes of fragrant white flowers followed by small black berries. When not in bloom, the very dark green waxy leaves provide a nice background for blooming perennials and annuals.
'Otto Luykens' is hardy in USDA zones 4-8, grows well in sun to light shade, requires minimal water after the first year, and is an all-around great plant for hedges, backgrounds, and screens with minimal requirements and pests. My friend is now a happy gardener. Moreover, the chain link fence will be barely visible in a couple of years. Problem solved.