I have posted this several times- I will make it as clear as I can this time.
Thuja occidentalis ( Eastern Arborvitae, American Arborvitae )
Thuja koraiensis ( Korean Arborvitae )
Thuja orientalis ( Oriental Arborvitae )
Thuja plicata ( Giant Arborvitae, Western Arborvitae )
Thuja plicata x standishii ( Green Giant Hybrid Arborvitae )
These are ALL types of Arborvitae. By simply stating that "Arborvitae are ugly" does no justice to the hundreds of different cultivars that are available. Thuja plicata x is the TREE, not tall shrub, that I am refering to and it is anything but ugly. It is most often considered a very stately tree that has MANY attributes over any other screening evergreen.
1. It is very fast growing. Something that can not be overlooked when shopping for a plant to for a quick visual screen because the vast majority of evergreen ARE NOT fast growers.
2. It is not disease OR insect prone.
3. It is most often grown with a single leader, and has descending branches that shed snow making it resiliant to ice and snow.
4. It is versitile in that it can grow well in dry or wet sites- again a very uncommon attribute for evergreens in general.
5. It requires no pruning or shearing to maintain a dense wall of foliage in full-sun or even part-shade.
6. It is available in multiple different types (cultivars) that exhibit different ultimate sizes and even different colors. (Dark green, Gold, Dappled white over green)
As for your local landscapers telling you to rid yourself of existing trees and replant- I look at that two ways. It puts more money in their pocket, or an entirely fresh start could enhance the look of your yard if the right designer was involved and you don't mind the added expenditure.
I hope this helps to clear up some of the differences between the typical "ugly" 'Emerald Green' Arb and the Western Arb derivatives.