Don’t Overlook Hedges in Garden Design

Posted by on Jul 11, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

Don’t Overlook Hedges in Garden Design

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When planning a new garden design, hedges are rarely the top priority. In comparison to mapping out areas of lawn and path, planning the planting of diverse and colourful borders, or selecting specimen plants or features to attract the eye, hedges lack excitement. They can however serve a variety of purposes in the garden design.

If you are rethinking the layout of your outdoor space, it is important to consider how hedges could add structure to the layout. No matter whether you are opting for a formal, cottage, wildlife friendly or family garden, hedges help to create form, direct the eye, divide areas, add privacy and create a boundary.

What is a Hedge?

A hedge is essentially a number of closely planted of shrubs or trees that grow together to form a continuous line. It can take years to grow to the desired height and then requires regular pruning and trimming in order to retain the shape and health of the plants.

Although a hedge isn’t as instant as erecting a fence or wall, it does offer a natural alternative that can either blend into other landscaping or create a sense of distinction. Hedges are ideal for wildlife as they provide shelter, protection and shade for a wide variety of insects, birds and small garden mammals. In a mixed hedge, wildlife can also benefit from the berries and pollen which are produced.

With an extensive choice of shrubs and trees, a hedge can take many forms. It is possible to use dwarf specimens to create a low growing hedge, flowering shrubs to create an appealing hedge or traditional plants such as Box, Cypress or Privet for a dense and formal effect. The other option is to combine a number of plants to create your hedge. You might include a combination of Hawthorn, Hornbeam, Beech, Berberis or Holly.

Selecting Hedging Plants

If you plan to incorporate hedging into your garden design, it is important to understand the purpose you want it to serve, along with the height and density that you require. This will help you to select the right shrubs or trees for planting. In addition to the hedge, you need to consider the impact on the rest of your garden design as the hedge creates shade and consumes water and nutrients which may inhibit the potential growth of neighbouring plants.

Planning is crucial for deciding where to plant the hedge, especially if it is intended to act as a boundary. A small shrub may look a long way from your neighbour’s property, but if they are planted too close they can encroach as they grow and fill out.

If you want to speed up the process of creating a hedge, then double row planting can be preferable to a single line of shrubs. Two staggered lines allow for a denser screen to be created. Once planted, the hedge will need regular watering until it gets established. It also needs hard pruning to encourage plenty of fresh shoots for the base.

In the second year of growth, the hedge needs to be clipped monthly from late spring until early autumn to form the desired shape and to increase the density of the leaves. In future years an annual trim may be sufficient to maintain the shape and size of the hedge. For more formal and manicured effects, regular attention will be required.

If you are keen to incorporate hedges into your garden design, Maidenhead based Gardeneer can assist. From helping you to select the best plants and planning the layout, through planting and on-going up-keep, our team can make it easy for you to achieve the garden design you desire.

 

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