Shrubs & Hedges, Privacy Trees
Privacy Hedges: Selecting and Planning
A natural fence is the best way to get back your needed solitude and keep in touch with nature. Forget the traditional white picket fence or the industrial drabness of a chain-linked fence. Going green with a privacy hedge saves both money and adds value to your home.
But, before you go out and buy ten hedges at random, take some time to do a little research.
Do you want evergreens? Do you want a fast grower? Are you looking for various colors that change with the season? Do you want low maintenance? These are all things that should pop into your mind when you visit the nursery. Below are some more pointers on how to get that perfect hedge and start your own private zen in your backyard.
Foliage: If you’re really wanting the utmost privacy, make sure to get hedges that are evergreen. Not only do you have a natural wall 365 days a year, you also get a little green in your life during the doldrums of winter. One of the best is the Nellie Stevens Holly. This decorative hedge can reach heights up to 15-25 feet if left untrimmed and spreads out 10-15 feet. The dense evergreen is just one of the features of the holly. White flowers blanket the shrub in the spring before giving way to the bright red berries in the fall. If you’re a bird enthusiast, you’ll have droves of winged friends dining on the berries throughout autumn.
Size Matters: This goes without saying, but make sure to get hedges that are the right size for you. You may only want a shrub to reach six feet in height, but you love the looks of the Thuja Green Giant. This extremely fast grower can reach heights up to 40 feet. You will spend half of your growing season trying the keep this hedge small. Your pruning arms will be spent, and you’ll have an awkward looking plant to boot.
On the other hand, if you want a monster grower that protects against winds and can hide an unsightly structure next door, then you should consider something like a Willow Hybrid Tree. This hedge really wants to grow (10 feet a year), and it can reach heights up to 75 feet!
Before you fall in love with the first hedge you see, make sure you know what kind of pruning it requires. Some hedges like the gorgeous Loropetalums offer vivid colors of burgundies, pinks, and reds. They offer a beautiful privacy screen, and they will be the talk of the neighborhood. But, they need to be pruned lightly to keep their shape and health. On the other hand, the Lynwood Gold Forsythia can be pruned a lot without worrying about damage. This free grower displays brilliant yellows in the spring, and it can give you a wall of green privacy in the first year.
Shape or Free Form
The next thing you need to decide is if you want a hedge that has a natural shape (like a pyramid) or do you want more of a free form look. All varieties of junipers (like the Skyrocket Juniper) have a natural shape that creates an easy flow in your landscape designs. Pruning is minimal, and deer steer clear.
For the more free form look, consider going bamboo. One of the best clumping bamboos (which means it’s not an invasive runner) is the Bamboo Hedge Mulitplex. Its exotic looks can add a flair to your backyard setting. This variety can reach heights up to 20-30 feet, but it can be easily pruned without worry of damage. And it can handle temps down to 10F.
You also need to look for bushes that can withstand a variety of variables. Is it disease and pest resistant? Can it handle persistent winds and drought? Is it cold hardy? One of the toughest hedges on the market (and one of the prettiest) is the deciduous Burning Bush. Green foliage in the summer surrenders to fiery reds in the fall. It’s known as one of the most drought resistant bushes out there. Plus, its natural shape allows the smallest of pruning. And if you’re worried about its deciduous nature, use it as a backdrop to the evergreen Thuja Green Giant.
Privacy Right Around the Corner
With these simple steps, you are on your way to selecting the perfect privacy hedge. With a vast amount of natural walls to choose from, you’ll have both solitude and a landscape that truly shines.