How to Plant a Hedge

A short guide to planting a hedge in your garden. We discuss the different types of hedges you can have and some of the types of plants you can use to create your boundary hedge.

Created by David Coton on Tuesday, 16th of October, 2012.


NULL

Plan Carefully

With hedges you need to plan carefully and choose wisely. What is the purpose of the hedge (privacy, security etc), will it serve this purpose (evergreen or deciduous, thorns or flowers) then consider the soil and situation and whether it can it be maintained easily. Good subsequent management will then ensure a garden feature that is both useful and attractive.

The advantages of planting a hedge over putting up a fence are many. For a start they look better, more natural, a living boundary that will change over the seasons and years. Particularly native hedges can be a haven for birds, welcome visitors who eat all those garden pests. Both fences and hedges provide a wind break but a hedge lets the air circulate, avoiding the chance of frost pockets in winter.

Formal and Informal Hedges

A formal hedge that is clipped and shaped provides a strong backdrop to a garden, choose evergreens such as yew or laurel to give the greatest privacy or thorny hawthorn and spikey holly for security. Beech has attractive golden foliage in the autumn but is deciduous and will grow very high (approx. 40ft), while privet is semi-evergreen and reaches only 15ft.

Informal hedging takes up more room and won't be suitable for small garden. Any tallish shrub, flowering or with attractive foliage, can be used such as a butterfly friendly viburnum or escallonia which both reach about 10ft in height, the latter has a mass of fragrant pink or crimson flowers from June to October.

Mixing species in both formal and informal hedges can be particularly striking. Think about hedges formed from native species such as hawthorn, blackthorn, privet or holly and look around where you live to get an indication of what grows best in the prevailing soil conditions – laurel for instance is good in heavy clay while honeysuckle likes a chalky soil.

Planting

Plants can be bought as 'whips' that establish rapidly, bare rooted plants (only suitable for planting in the winter months) or container grown (the more expensive option). Evergreens and conifers are often sold with their roots in sacking and should be planted in the spring or autumn.

The best way to plant a hedge is to dig a trench about 2ft deep by 3ft and break up the sub soil. Add manure, compost and other organic matter together with blood, fish and bone. It's now advisable to let the soil settle for about a fortnight before planting at the recommended distances. Some such as privet should be cut back as soon as they are planted to encourage bushy growth. Water well and mulch.

Hedges will need a spring feed like any other shrub and then mulched with organic matter. Clear out the bottom of the hedge in the autumn.

Trimming

The amount of trimming can be an issue if you are not in the first flush of youth as it can be hard work. Give this due consideration when thinking about the type of hedge you want. Informal and slow growing hedging normally requires cutting only once a year to keep it in shape while formal hedges such as hawthorn need two, perhaps three trims but, like other deciduous hedges, should recover well if this isn't done. Conifers need regular pruning as they won't grow back.

Related Articles

What To Do In The Garden in June

What To Do In The Garden in June

At this time of the year you'll find a fabulous selection of summer bedding at our Garden Centre in Birmingham. David Coton will be planting the bedding in containers this month to achieve a wonderful display of colour and here are some other jobs to do in the garden in June.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Wednesday, 17th of May, 2017.

How Thrive's Accessible Gardening Changes Lives

How Thrive's Accessible Gardening Changes Lives

The Society for Horticultural Therapy is an organisation generally known as Thrive, and David Coton recently learnt more about their projects, training and consultancy.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Thursday, 16th of June, 2016.

2016 Gardening Trends

2016 Gardening Trends

With Christmas and the New Year celebrations over with, it’s time to think about gardening trends for 2016, here’s what Nathan James Dodd foresees in the coming months.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Thursday, 7th of January, 2016.

Attracting Butterflies With Buddleia

Attracting Butterflies With Buddleia

Of the many pleasures found in gardening, none is probably greater than encouraging wildlife. Interesting to observe and vital for pollination, insects can be fascinating and, in the case of the butterfly, beautiful visitors. As Nathan James Dodd explains, one plant - the Buddleia - is superb at attracting these wonderful creatures.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Friday, 29th of May, 2015.

comments powered by Disqus

Author

David Coton

Partner at GardenSite

View Profile

RSS

View RSS Feed

Follow Us!

Recent Articles

How To Attract Wildlife To Your Garden

How To Attract Wildlife To Your Garden

In order to promote and enhance biodiversity and conservation of our wildlife, there's a selection of habitats and boxes you can purchase that are specifically designed to attract various small animals and insects to your garden. Here we look at some of the products available which also make unusual and very engaging gifts.

Author: Robert Hall

Written by Robert Hall.
Published on Monday, 23rd of April, 2018.

What To Do In The Garden In April

What To Do In The Garden In April

With warmer weather and an early Easter, the garden centre is busy at the moment with customers stocking up on summer bedding plants - snapdragons, cornflowers, cosmos, verbena, phlox, petunia, As well as filling planters, hanging baskets and borders with colour that will last all summer, there are always plenty of jobs to do in the garden during April and David Coton has these suggestions.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Thursday, 29th of March, 2018.

How Can I Help To Save Our Bees?

How Can I Help To Save Our Bees?

Every gardener must have noticed a decline in the bee population over recent years. Intensive farming that demands the use of toxic chemicals, climate change and parasite infestation have all been put forward as potential causes, it's a worrying trend but one that we can all help to reverse.

Author: Martyn Loach

Written by Martyn Loach.
Published on Thursday, 22nd of March, 2018.

Trimetals Launch Two New Guardian Sheds

Trimetals Launch Two New Guardian Sheds

As an excellent alternative to conventional products, Trimetals' storage solutions blend top quality manufacture with contemporary style. Their range has now been extended to include two new maintenance free sheds and Robert Hall has all the details.

Author: Robert Hall

Written by Robert Hall.
Published on Monday, 12th of March, 2018.