Which Are The Best Hedging Plants?


Good hedge plants in a range of colours

If you’ve got a new garden and you’re in the mood for some hedges, you may be a bit confused about what to choose. I’ve taken the time to identify the plants that will get you on the right track to hedgerow heroism, so let’s go!

The best hedging plant for privacy is an fast-growing evergreen, such as laurel, that is hardy enough to survive the varied seasonal weather patterns. For colour, Photinia’s red leaves make it the best, while the small dense foliage of boxwood make it the best hedging plant for topiary.

You could choose the best varieties for protection against intruders or types that add colour to your garden, depending on your tastes, but beware of plants that may have a negative impact on your local surroundings.

There are a few different factors to consider when deciding what are the best hedging plants for you, and it’s worth using these as a basis for your choice:

  • Formality
  • Height
  • Foliage
  • Security
  • Climate

In this article we will go into these factors and help you pick the right bushes for your borders, according to your needs!

Formality

A curious description this one, but hedges can be broadly classified into formal or informal types. Formal hedges are commonly found in domestic settings, where plants are grown in close proximity and trimmed to create dense barriers, whereas the hedgerows you see along the edges of fields and roads, with bushy plants grown loosely is an informal style.

Trimmed Hedges at Sizergh National Trust
Formal Hedges at Sizergh National Trust

Height

Hedge plants are a great way to provide barriers and partitions in gardens, and your garden design decisions may influence your hedge choices. Tall hedges provide privacy and are commonly used around the edges of properties, while shorter hedges can create internal definition of space – as often seen around vegetable patches in kitchen gardens. Choosing the right plant at the start can save you time and energy in maintaining the border profile you desire.

Popular tall hedge plants include:

With all tall hedges, a bit of community mindfulness goes a long way, so be sure to trim your tall trees regularly and you’ll avoid blocking out light and getting into arguments with your nearest neighbours!

For a detailed look into the types of plants that will get you a tall hedge in short order, click here.

Popular low hedging plants include:

If you want a better looking into some low growing hedge plants, click here.

Colourful Variegated Hedge Leaves

Foliage

Not all evergreen plants have to be ever-green, and with a bit of careful planning, you can add colour and drama to your borders that will provide interest throughout the year. Here are some great examples of colourful choices for your best hedging plants:

For more high-contrast hedging suggestions, check our our guide to colourful plants!

Security

If you have concerns about unwanted visitors, your plants can provide protection! Spiky and thorny hedges can create unappealing barriers for man and beast alike, while still providing visual appeal for your outdoor spaces. Popular protective plants include:

Climate

The right plant in the right environment is going to thrive, and you owe it to you and your garden to choose the best hedging plants that will best fit the weather and water profile of your land. The variance in sunshine and shade, as well as the drainage of the water around the plant are matters of life and death to your friendly foliage, so choose wisely!

A smart move is to look around your area and try to identify the hedges that other people have chosen. You should be able to identify plants that are enjoying their homes and this might give you a good steer about which ones to choose.

Which are the best hedging plants?

When all’s said and done, there will be a trade off between the hedge you imagine, and the hedge that is best suited to your environment. If you plan on keeping your garden for a long time, you can experiment with different types to see how they thrive, however it will take a few years for the plants to get established.

Sometimes the familiar good hedge plants are chosen for a reason – they are hardy and will look good in most places – so don’t be afraid to think inside the box(wood) if you want an easy outcome.

I’ve written separate posts about the different types of hedge, so check those to get more detail on the specific options, but here are my five choices to get you off to a good start.

Tall Hedge: Leyland Cypress (Leylandii)

Leyland Cypress by Leonora (Ellie) Enking on Flickr

With an average growth of up to 3 feet in a year, Leylandii is the fastest growing hedge plant (it’s a tree!) but with that level of growth comes great responsibility. An good trim once or twice a year will keep the tops of this evergreen tree in check and before long you’ll have a deep green wall that will provide privacy for you and a nice habitat for tiny wildlife.

We’ve got a great guide to Leylandii here!

Low Hedge: Boxwood (Buxus)

Boxwood by Bri Weldon on Flickr
Source

It’s a classic for a reason. Boxwood are good hedge plants for most climates, with small glossy leaves that grow densely. While it might take some time to grow, it is a sturdy plant that will last a long time, and if you want to get into topiary, it’s a great plant to play with.

We’ve got a great guide to Boxwood here!

Colourful Hedge: Photinia “Red Robin” (Photinia x fraseri Red Robin)

Photinia 'Red Robin' are the best hedging plants for colour

With it’s bright red new growths, the Red Robin variety of Photinia is a popular choice for adding some annual drama to your garden. It’s an easy going plant, happy to grow in most spaces and if you trim it twice a year, those red shoots will keep on coming.

Find out more about Photinia here!

Security Hedge: Pyracantha Orange Glow

Pyracantha Coccinea 'Orange Glow'
Source

Pyrocanthus (also known as Firethorn) is a dense hedge with some serious thorns appearing throughout, so if you are concerned about unwanted visitors, this bush will give them a nasty welcome. However the Orange Glow variety also has a sweet side with spring flowers and vibrant orange berries in the Autumn.

Sensual Hedge: Lavender Hidcote (Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’)

Lavender Flowers by Olesya Grichina on Unsplash

For my final choice I’ve gone for something sensual, because good hedge plants needn’t just be good borders, they can be interactive as well. Lavender is a lovely smelling plant and the Hidcote variety is particularly well suited to garden hedging with it’s dense foliage and rich purple flowers. Given some time, this can be a rewarding and engaging hedge that will appeal to passers-by and passing bees!

For more info on the loveliness of Lavender, check out our guide!

Looking for Evergreen Hedge Plants?

Mr X

I'm Jamie and I started TrimHedge to learn about hedge trimming and topiary and share my findings with you. I enjoy the sight of well formed foliage and enjoy helping you keep your hedges in good shape and your borders in order. To find out more about me, visit my About Page.

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