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a beech hedge in winter

Garden design with hedges: five of the best hedges for your garden

We love hedges. From a garden design point of view, hedges can provide structure, height, texture and visual interest (check out our 7 reasons garden designers love hedges) but which hedge is best for your garden and your project? There are lots of options, so it can be tricky to know which species of hedging plant will be most suited to your needs and your garden.


Here is Tythorne Garden Design's guide to the best hedges for your garden:

box hedge at barnsdale tythorne garden d

1. Buxus sempervirens (common box)

The classic low hedge, Buxus is a small-leafed evergreen that benefits from regular clipping. It is enormously useful as a means of adding structure and ‘formality’ to a garden (like the example in the picture above at Barnsdale Gardens in Rutland), and nothing looks better when nipped by a frost or dusted with snow.


Plant container grown stock (1 litre potted stock is a good option) at a ratio of 5-8 plants per linear metre for an immediate impact, and clip at least once or twice a year.

Taxus baccata

2. Taxus baccata (yew)

Not as slow growing as commonly thought, a yew hedge makes a fantastically dense evergreen screen. Once established it will thrive, and its small dark green foliage provides the perfect backdrop for mixed planting. Taxus doesn't like very wet soils, and do be aware that that the leaves berries are toxic if eaten (so probably not a good choice for areas near horses or livestock).


Plant root-balled or container grown stock at a minimum spacing of 45cm, and clip as and when required (avoiding periods of frost).

beech hedge green tythorne garden design

3. Fagus sylvatica (beech)

Another classic choice for a taller screen, beech makes an interesting green or copper hedge (depending on the variety). It is deciduous, but old leaves often remain on the plant well into winter (see picture above) and provide a lovely rustling sound when the wind blows. Beech is particularly well suited to free draining soils, but in wetter areas Carpinus (hornbeam) looks very similar and will thrive.


Plant bare-root or root-balled stock at a minimum spacing of 45cm, and clip as and when required (avoiding periods of frost).

lavender hedge tythorne garden design

4. Lavandula ‘Hidcote’ (lavender)

Lavender can make an attractive low-growing hedge, providing evergreen foliage, a prolonged floral display, and delicious fragrance. It is also perfect as the edging to a path. Some lavenders have a tendency to become woody or ‘leggy’ over time, but my favourite variety (Lavandula ‘Hidcote’) is ‘better behaved’ and easy to manage.


Plant container grown (2 litre potted stock is a good option) at a minimum spacing of 20-20cm. To prune, simply clip the plants once in the autumn to remove the spent flower stalks and just a little of the current year’s growth, and then again in spring to remove the rest of the previous year’s growth. This should rejuvenate the plant and reduce the risk of it becoming too untidy.

hawthorn berries and green leaves

5. Mixed hedgerow (various species)

The traditional choice for dividing fields, a good mixed hedge contains an attractive and functional combination of plants. Mixed hedges are superb for wildlife and provide a surprisingly resilient barrier.


Excellent plants for a mixed hedgerow include beech, quickthorn, hawthorn (see above), blackthorn, holly and field maple. A great option for an informal or ‘wildlife-friendly’ area of a garden, or for a boundary between a garden and a field or woodland.


Best planted with young bare-root stock over winter, at a spacing of approximately 30-45cm. Clip as required to encourage strong growth at the base of the hedge and to maintain desired size and shape.



So, there we have it. Certainly not an exhaustive list, of course, but a good selection of hedging options with something for most gardens…and not a Leylandii or laurel in sight!


What not consider planting a new hedge in your garden this winter?

Tythorne Garden Design provides professional fixed-fee garden design solutions for customers in Grantham, Stamford, Newark and surrounding areas. Let's see how we can help you to enjoy your garden more. Call us on 07900 224 239 or 01529 455 355.

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