Natural Benefits of Hedging

A key role for the garden designer is to advise on what kind of materials and plants are appropriate for a client’s garden, and an element that shouldn’t be overlooked is the boundary or internal screening.

Incorporating a suitable hedge, evergreen, semi evergreen or deciduous can create a beautiful garden backdrop, whilst also offering protection from the elements, privacy, and habitat for wildlife, not to mention security.


Buxus Hedge
Evergreen hedging is a great option if you want to create privacy, increase biodiversity and benefit existing wildlife garden visitors.

Natural hedging suits properties of all ages and size, creating both a traditional or contemporary style. Dependent on the style of the garden design you wish to deliver for your client, a hedge can be used in many ways; to provide a warm natural atmosphere in a country garden, soften the surroundings of a city garden or add structure to a modern garden.  A hedge can also be a useful screen for those areas your client might want to hide from view.

Hedging can be supplied in all growth forms, from 1 year old whips that are about as thick as a pencil up to a fully mature 2.0 meter hedge in a choice of varieties according to your clients garden aspect and soil condition. Available varieties include native, exotic, flowering, evergreen and fruit bearing.

When deliberating which hedge is right for the job, consider 5 things:

1) Hedge style:

Informal hedges:

These can be loosely cut, and rarely have crisp edges. Instead, they are left for longer between pruning, and have a more natural appearance.

All hedging types can be used for informal hedges, as well as some unusual choices such as Mahonia. You can even use grasses!

Formal hedges:

These are higher maintenance – they require more frequent pruning to maintain straight lines and crisp edges.

Choose your hedge type carefully – smaller leaved varieties such as Buxus, Ilex crenata and Taxus will produce a tighter hedge than plants such as Prunus ‘Rotundifolia’.

Prunus Rotundifolia
Prunus Rotundifolia
Ilex crenata
Ilex crenata

2) Size

Hedges can be grown as low as 20cm, right up to several metres tall.
Think about the ultimate height you wish to achieve, and what the chosen plant is capable of.

For low hedges: use slower-growing varieties such as Buxus, Ilex crenata or Taxus – these require less maintenance to keep at your chosen height.

For large hedges: Prunus ‘Rotundifolia’ or Prunus ‘Angustifolia’ can be used.

Prunus Rotundifolia
Prunus Rotundifolia
Prunus lusitanica 'Angustifolia'
Prunus lusitanica 'Angustifolia'

3) Spacing

Are you planting smaller plants further apart with the aim of the hedge filling out over time, or do you want the hedge to be instant from day one?

Generally, potted and rootballed hedging plants should not be planted closer than 15-20cm together, whilst bare root can be planted 10-15cm apart.

Request our Hedging Guide for recommended plant spacing per linear metre – Great for estimating what volumes you will need!


4) Establishing

A hedge is a long-term investment, so correct establishment is essential.

Ensure a deep root system is created through correct watering, and your hedge will be able to cope with various environmental issues, deal with pests/diseases more effectively and eradicate the need for chemicals.

Ilex aquifolium
Ilex aquifolium
Taxus baccata
Taxus baccata

5) Maintenance

Generally, the time needed to maintain a hedge will increase with size and formality levels.

It is best to prune on a cool day; if this is not possible, the hedge should be watered well, and the foliage kept moist to avoid any browning of cut leaves.

Small-leaved hedging can easily be pruned to meet the shape of the hedge.

Avoid cutting through leaves of larger-leaved hedging varieties – this can cause browning. Instead, prune each stem as it grows outward.

Thuja plicata 'Atrovirens'
Thuja plicata 'Atrovirens'

The best time to plant hedging

The optimum hedge planting season runs from November through to March/April, at this time of year Viridis can supply hedging plants as bare root or root balled, depending on the variety and the size you and your client are looking for. Containerised options are also available year-round.