Horticulture Magazine

14 Types Of Hedges For Stunning Garden Borders

large garden hedge with lawn and wooden bench

Hedges are extremely popular in the UK and can be seen in countless gardens across the country.

They come with many benefits, such as improving security, attracting wildlife and beautifying your property.

In this guide, we’ll be looking at the different types of hedges available as well as providing you with hedge care & trimming guidelines and some great hedge ideas for your garden.

If you’re worried that you don’t have the expertise to create your own hedge, then don’t be.

an early stage boundary fence with young hedging plants

Thanks to modern techniques and equipment, laying a hedge in your garden is a DIY project that you should be able to accomplish in a very reasonable amount of time, depending on the size of your garden. [source]

By adding a hedge, or multiple hedges to your garden you can help to attract wildlife while also creating a uniquely beautiful appearance that’s easy to maintain and will last for years. [source]

Hedging Varieties

red berries on a pyracantha plant
The red berries of a Pyracantha plant

Although there are certain hedge species that are more popular than others, there are actually a good number of hedge plants that each have their own unique properties.

Below we’ll take a look at some of the different types of hedges out there, starting with hedges with thorns…

Hedges With Thorns

Hedge species that have thorns are very popular since they not only look great, but they also provide added protection to a property.

Some of the most popular hedges with thorns are –

1) Hawthorn

white flowering hawthorn hedging
  • BOTANICAL NAME: Crataegus monogyna
  • HARDINESS RATING: H7
  • MAX HEIGHT: 4-6M
  • FLOWERS: WHITE FLOWERS IN SPRING
  • BERRIES: RED BERRIES IN AUTUMN
  • FOLIAGE: DECIDUOUS

Hawthorn is a very popular hedging plant native to the UK.

In spring it produces white, scented flowers that last through to the autumn when they are replaced by haws and the foliage drops to reveal the thorns.

2) Firethorn

firethorn hedge with red berries
  • BOTANICAL NAME: Pyracantha
  • HARDINESS RATING: H6
  • MAX HEIGHT: 2.5-4M
  • FLOWERS: WHITE FLOWERS IN SPRING OR SUMMER
  • BERRIES: RED OR ORANGE BERRIES IN AUTUMN
  • FOLIAGE: EVERGREEN

Firethorn is another very popular hedging plant.

Its prickly branches make it ideal as an intruder deterrent, but it also looks great thanks to the year-round foliage and the mix of red, yellow and orange berries that will help to attract birds to your garden.

3) Holly  

holly bushes with bright red berries
  • BOTANICAL NAME: Ilex aquifolium
  • HARDINESS RATING: H6
  • MAX HEIGHT: 10M+
  • FLOWERS: WHITE FLOWERS IN SPRING & SUMMER
  • BERRIES: RED BERRIES IN AUTUMN & WINTER
  • FOLIAGE: EVERGREEN

Although holly is often associated with Christmas, it makes for an excellent hedging plant throughout the year.

Holly is an obvious choice for deterring intruders since its prickly leaves are immediately apparent.

That’s not the only thing that makes it an excellent choice of hedge though.

Its glossy leaves provide a unique look, it’s attractive to wildlife and you can plant it pretty much anywhere and it will thrive.

Hedges With Flowers

If you want to add some colour to a hedge, then there are some fantastic hedge species with flowers that enable you to do this. These include –

4) Pink Ramanus Rose Hedging

Pink rose hips in bloom on a hedge
Beautiful rose hips in bloom during autumn
  • BOTANICAL NAME: Rosa rugosa ‘Rubra’
  • HARDINESS RATING: H7
  • MAX HEIGHT: 1.5M
  • FLOWERS: PINK FLOWERS IN SUMMER & AUTUMN
  • BERRIES: RED BERRIES IN SUMMER & AUTUMN
  • FOLIAGE: DECIDUOUS

During the summer, this thorny hedge plant produces striking rose-coloured flowers that become large rose hips during the autumn, making it a striking plant throughout the year.

It grows at a rate of 20-40cm per year and can prosper in most conditions, whether in sun or shade.

If you prefer (depending on your colour preference) you can also get white Ramanus rose hedging.

5) English Lavender

purple blooming English Lavender in a large strip
  • BOTANICAL NAME: Lavandula angustifolia
  • HARDINESS RATING: H5
  • MAX HEIGHT: 1M
  • FLOWERS: PURPLE FLOWERS IN SUMMER
  • FOLIAGE: EVERGREEN

Lavender is a very popular selling hedge species and is ideal for low hedging and creating pathways.

The foliage of lavender is evergreen, and its distinctive purple flowers are most vibrant during the late spring/early summer.

6) Star Jasmine

star jasmine hedging
  • BOTANICAL NAME: Trachelospermum jasminoides
  • HARDINESS RATING: H4
  • MAX HEIGHT: 6-8M
  • FLOWERS: WHITE FLOWERS IN SUMMER
  • BERRIES: GREEN BERRIES IN AUTUMN
  • FOLIAGE: EVERGREEN

Star Jasmine is another very popular plant used for hedging in the UK.

It’s extremely versatile and grows year-round making it an ideal choice for a hedging plant.

During the summer, it blossoms small star-shaped flowers that have a very distinctive fragrance.

It can grow up to 60cm tall and grows very quickly once established.

It would be ideal for bordering a lawn or as part of a feature in a garden.

Deciduous or Evergreen?

One of the main things you need to decide on when choosing a hedge for your garden is whether you want it to be deciduous or evergreen…

As the name would suggest, evergreen hedges grow all year round, which makes them excellent if your primary reason for having them is privacy.

Because they grow year-round, evergreen hedges do require more maintenance and you’ll need to trim them at least once a year, ideally twice.

Deciduous hedges which have lost all their foliage

Deciduous hedges are also a great choice for hedging but because they lose their leaves during the autumn/winter, they’re not ideal if privacy is your main concern.

A big advantage of a deciduous hedge over an evergreen is that they allow wind to filter through much more easily.

Anyone who’s lived in the UK for a while knows that high winds are not uncommon during the winter and can cause a lot of damage so having a hedge that can better withstand this is certainly a big bonus.

a hedge which has lost all its leaves and is slightly damaged by wind

Deciduous hedges also require less pruning and can be renovated more easily if they’re neglected for a while.

A couple of great evergreen species for your garden are –

7) Conifers

conifer shown against backdrop of house and blue sky background
  • BOTANICAL NAME: VARIOUS
  • HARDINESS RATING: VARIOUS
  • MAX HEIGHT: VARIOUS

Conifers are a staple of gardens throughout the UK and come in a variety of sizes and shapes, making them ideal for use in multiple settings.

You can get dwarf conifers as potted plants as well as many other species that can be used for hedging, architectural features and ground cover.

8) Portugal Laurel

portugal laurel hedge
  • BOTANICAL NAME: Prunus lusitanica
  • HARDINESS RATING: H5
  • MAX HEIGHT: 10M+
  • FLOWERS: WHITE FLOWERS IN SUMMER
  • FRUITS: DARK PURPLE FRUITS IN AUTUMN
  • FOLIAGE: EVERGREEN

Portugal Laurel is another popular evergreen choice of hedging.

It has small white flowers during summer which give way to small fruits in autumn.

It also has good foliage colour throughout the year.

Great choices for deciduous hedge plants include –

9) Field Maple

field maple foliage
  • BOTANICAL NAME: Acer campestre
  • HARDINESS RATING: H6
  • MAX HEIGHT: 10M+
  • FLOWERS: GREEN FLOWERS IN SPRING
  • FRUITS: WINGED MAPLE FRUITS IN SUMMER & AUTUMN
  • FOLIAGE: DECIDUOUS

A compact and dense hedge species – Field Maple provides excellent coverage when planted close together.

It also looks particularly impressive during the autumn as its distinctive leaves turn into beautiful shades of red and yellow.

10) Purple Beech

very tall purple beech
  • BOTANICAL NAME: Fagus sylvatica f. purpurea
  • HARDINESS RATING: H6
  • MAX HEIGHT: 10M+
  • FLOWERS: PURPLE FLOWERS IN SPRING
  • FOLIAGE: DECIDUOUS

With its impressive deep purple leaves, Purple Beech is an excellent choice of hedging plant if you want to achieve a distinctive look for your garden.

Hedging Types For Shade

If you want to plant hedges in a shaded area of your garden, then you might be worried that you’ll be limited for choice.

The good news is that this simply isn’t the case – there are many species of hedge plants that thrive in the shade. These include –

11) Cherry Laurel

cherry laurel hedging with a lawn in the foreground
  • BOTANICAL NAME: Prunus laurocerasus
  • HARDINESS RATING: H5
  • MAX HEIGHT: 6-8M
  • FLOWERS: WHITE FLOWERS IN SPRING
  • FRUITS: CHERRY RED FRUITS THAT TURN BLACK IN AUTUMN
  • FOLIAGE: EVERGREEN

Cherry Laurel is a superb choice of hedging plant for a shaded area.

It has striking polished leaves that create excellent coverage and can be planted in either sun or shade – thriving under either condition.

12) Box

neatly trimmed box hedge
  • BOTANICAL NAME: Buxus sempervirens
  • HARDINESS RATING: H6
  • MAX HEIGHT: 4-8M
  • FLOWERS: YELLOW FLOWERS IN SPRING
  • BERRIES: RED BERRIES IN AUTUMN

The box hedge plant is perfect for use in shaded areas and the fact that it’s slow-growing (up to 10cm) per year makes it a low maintenance option while still looking good.

13) Viburnum Tinus

viburnum tinus growing from raised garden edging
  • BOTANICAL NAME: Viburnum Tinus
  • HARDINESS RATING: H4
  • MAX HEIGHT: 3-4M
  • FLOWERS: CREAMY-WHITE AND PINK FLOWERS IN LATE WINTER
  • BERRIES: RED, BLUE OR BLACK BERRIES FOLLOW FLOWERS

If you’re looking for a hedging shrub that does well in the shade, then this is one of the very best.

It looks great throughout the year and even sprouts an array of white flowers during winter.

It also attracts an array of birds thanks to its coloured berries.

14) Dogwood

white and green dogwood shrubs on the edge of a park
  • BOTANICAL NAME: CORNUS
  • HARDINESS RATING: VARIOUS
  • MAX HEIGHT: VARIOUS

If you want an unusual look for your garden, then Dogwood hedging is a great choice.

Winter stem dogwood has distinctive orange stems that stand out in any setting.

The fact that it grows very well in shade makes it ideal for gardens with little sunlight.

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