Advice on selecting your hedge
There are many varieties of plants which can be used as hedging, a large majority of them will adapt quickly to being regularly trimmed to shape and size and their growth habit will usually become more dense, giving you a more effective hedge.
Things to consider are if you intend the fence to be purely functional, decorative or a combination of the two. Also size and shape need to be thought about; if the hedge is to be a low formal one in an Italian themed garden for example then buxus is traditionally the preferred choice. A windbreak hedge to stop the cold winds howling into your back garden would usually comprise of an evergreen shrub such as cherry laurel or if you are looking to deter unwelcome visitors into your property then a thorny deterrent like Blackthorn is likely to be high on the list.
We stock a large quantity of bare rooted hedging which typically arrive between 45cm (18”) and 90cm (35”) high and are ideal for creating a young hedge that will grow and mature over time. We also supply many of the varieties as large potted plants which will give you a more “instant” hedge.
We have included a help section Which Variety to Choose to give you as much advice as we can on the sort of hedge you need.
Which Variety to Choose
Almost all hedges are boundary markers of some form, the decision whether to make it for security or purely decorative is a personal one. This section will help to guide you towards the right sort of plants you will need to suit your purpose. Each of the following also has its own section giving more details and varieties of plants, however here, the more common choices are listed.
The more thorny the better when it comes to deterring anyone from coming through onto your property. Making a hedge more likely to inflict pain on a would-be intruder is going to make them think twice and put them off completely. This doesn’t just apply to humans though, if you have a problem with four legged visitors to your garden, then creating a dense barrier full of thorns will deter them too. Varieties suitable for this include:
- Blackthorn – long thorns and dense growth make this an ideal security hedge, covered in white flowers in spring and famous sloes in autumn too.
- Dog Rose – spreading outwards and covered from top to toe in very spiky thorns.
- Hawthorn – A common sight along most of Britain’s country hedges, hawthorn is another dense, thicket forming shrub that forms a very effective barrier.
- Holly – whilst not as drastic as some of the other thorny shrubs and trees, each evergreen leaf is edged with prickles which will still scratch and is so dense that it will prove difficult to push through.
- See all our recommended Security hedging plants here.
For year round privacy, or protection from wind in exposed areas, an evergreen hedge will be best suited for you. Many of them will either grow into a very dense barrier whilst others have large leaves which help deflect the worst of the weather. In particularly exposed areas a double row of plants is well worth considering for extra depth and protection see our Planting Guide for more information on this.
Varieties to consider include:
- Cherry Laurel – large leaved and fast growing, an effective screening plant that also has pretty flowers and bright fruit in autumn.
- Privet – A traditional garden hedge is often made up of privet, easy to grow and takes well to regular clipping.
- Yew – often used as a larger formal hedge in stately homes, Yew can also be used in gardens and grows well as a formal neatly clipped hedge.
- Box - most often used in topiary, Buxus also suits lower growing hedges in small gardens and can be kept trimmed for a very neat and tidy appearance.
- See all our recommended Evergreen hedging plants here.
Hedges are often tricky to establish in exposed conditions in areas near the coast, salt laden winds will quickly kill off less hardy plants and almost constant winds can dry out varieties that are not able to cope. Some plants, however, can tolerate these conditions and can be used to form a hedge that can be effective as a barrier, boundary marker and also windbreak. These include:
- Sea Buckthorn – Thorny as the name suggests with small but dense leaves, producing bright orange berries in late summer which are a good source of vitamin C.
- Golden Privet – a golden leaved variety of the common hedging plant, evergreen and tough, perfect for coastal windbreaks and screens.
- New Zealand Broadleaf – fast growing evergreen with a neat and tidy habit, ideal for windbreaks and screening.
- Rowan – deciduous but finishing the year with a colourful flourish, Mountain Ash grows very well in coastal areas.
- See all our recommended Coastal hedging plants here.
Whilst hedges to have a function to perform, there’s no reason whatsoever why they can’t also look attractive for parts of the year. Some plants in our collections are well known for their flowering seasons and will help to provide a backdrop of colour on your boundaries whilst also acting as a barrier. Some suggested varieties are:
- Hawthorn – not only is this plant a great deterrent with its thorns, it is also well know for being completely covered in masses of tiny white blooms in early summer.
- Guelder Rose – this variety of Viburnum is also called the Snowball Bush because of its profusion of white flowers that decorate it throughout late spring and summer.
- Ramanus Rose – delightful pink flowers will appear continuously from June through to September on this rather thorny hedging plant.
- Wild Cherry - a mass of white flowers in springtime cover this hedging plant from head to toe, looking fantastic and well as being functional.
- See all our recommended Floral hedging plants here.
Alternative Shades Hedging
Not all hedging plants are plain green. If you are looking for extra colour, or something a little different then there are hedging plants available that are not the usual colours you would expect. Why not try a purple hedge, a golden one or even mix up whatever you like for a really colourful boundary marker? Good examples of “non-green” hedges are:
- Copper Beech – deep purple leaves in dense formation cover this deciduous hedge, perfect for screening in the summer.
- Golden Privet – yellow varigation on the edges of the leaves give this evergreen hedge a golden colouring.
- Golden Weeping Willow – silvery leaves appear on a golden yellow stem, keeping interest all year round.
- Red Leafed Rose – A dense thicket of purple/red leaves on similar coloured stems make this an attractive and effective hedging plant.
- See all our recommended Alternative Shades hedging plants here.
Native and Wildlife Hedging
Planting for nature can be very rewarding, to have a living boundary that offers food and shelter to our native wildlife can be even more so. There are many of our indigenous species of hedging that are available to make up a colourful and vibrant habitat as a well as an extremely effective hedge too. Some of the varieties available are:
- Beech – dense green leaves make a perfect place for nesting birds, also welcomed by insects as a place to shelter.
- Yew – whilst most of the tree is poisonous to us, the flesh of the berries is a favourite of many birds, an evergreen and also performs well with regular clipping too.
- Field Maple – Great for autumn colour and has interesting winged seeds which are attractive to birds and small mammals.
- Elder – A true all-rounder in the hedgerow; covered in flowers in spring to attract pollinating insects, the profusion of berries that later develop are also a good source of food for birds – with the bonus of being useable for winemaking too.
- See all our recommended Native and Wildlife hedging plants here.
Why not plant a hedge that gives you shelter and protection from the elements and will also provide you with some food too? We can supply you with a variety of hedging plants that will produce fruit or nuts that can either be eaten fresh from the bush or cooked into some tasty treats later on. Double the uses in one go, this type of hedging has twice the practicality than usual. Good examples of edible hedging plants are:
- Hazel – the famous cob nuts are a favourite snack, healthy and a good source of dietary fibre and vitamin E.
- Sea Buckthorn – With bright orange berries in the autumn that are packed full of Vitamin C too.
- Blackthorn – Producing sloes as their fruit, can be harvested for cooking in meat dishes or adding to make sloe gin.
- Crab Apple – Perfect for using in jams and preserves, full of natural pectin which is used in cooking other jams too.
- See all our recommended Edible hedging plants here.