Bamboo is a grass plant and comes in two types: Running and Clumping. Running bamboo will run away with your landscaping and should be avoided. It's invasive and can send out shoots that will wind up in your neighbor's yard several houses away. It's extremely difficult to eradicate and if you are planting it, keep it in a container and don't bury the container completely so you can watch for side shoots. It's best to keep it potted above ground.
Clumping bamboo, on the other hand, is a grass with a radial growing pattern. This means that it grows in an ever widening circle from the main shoot. It won't send an underground shoot out several feet to crop up unexpectedly. It can remain contained.
It grows as well as traditional forest bamboo which is known to be one of the fastest growing plants on the planet. In some cases, it can grow up to a meter per day. The clumping bamboo being sold as landscaping plants can be categorized by maximum height. It will also grow in very densely which is a characteristic that's a big draw for quality privacy hedging.
There is also a lot of versatility in types available on the market. Some have limited heights and many come in colors and variegated patterns that can complement any landscape or home yard. Used as a privacy hedge, it can also provide a windbreak or simple edging. Since it remains well contained, it's also good for architectural designs in the yard.
Variety is also found in the width of the plant. Some types available now are bushy and low growing while others look like topiaries with denser leaf growth at the crown. Either way, as long as it's a confirmed clumping type, clumping bamboo should not be overlooked as a means of decorating and fencing the yard.
Summer is the strongest growth period and as far as maintenance, it's likely they will need some trimming. As with many landscape plants, they'll keep their general shape but a wayward shoot might appear and need to be cut. When pruning, cut the stalk at the base where it meets the mother plant and use sharp instruments. To reduce height or shape the plant, hedge trimmers are perfectly fine.
Keep an eye out for the new Clumping Bamboo when looking for yard plants, particularly privacy hedges. All varieties share basic needs so there's no end to the creativity you might find in mixing types. Stripes, green, high or low, it's possible to find nearly all your looks in one plant.