Garden hedges may consist of a single species or several, usually they will be mixed. In most newly planted British hedgerows, 60 percent of the shrubs are hawthorn, blackthorn, alone or in any combination. The first two are particularly effective for creating barriers for livestock.
Other shrubs and trees used include holly, beech, oak, ash, and willow; the last three can become very tall.
The hedgerow is a fence, half earth, half hedge. Oak and beech hedges are very common in Great Britain. If hedges are not maintained and regularly trimmed, gaps will form at the base over the years. Hedge laying consists of cutting most of the way through each stem of the plant near to the base, bending it over and interweaving it between some wooden stakes. This will also encourage new growth from each plant.
Garden hedges are still being laid today not just for aesthetic and functional purposes but also for their ecological role in protecting against soil erosion and helping wildlife. The RSPB suggest that hedges in Britain not be cut between March and August. This is to protect any nesting birds.
An alternative to hedge laying is trimming using a hedge trimmer. The height of the cutting can be increased a little each year. Trimming a hedge always helps to promote bushy growth. The disadvantage of this is that of course the hedge species takes a number of years before it will start to flower again and in some cases bear fruit for wildlife and people. The techniques of hard pollarding and coppicing can be used to help rejuvenate a hedge where hedge-laying cannot be carried out.
Hedges clipped and unclipped, are used as ornament in the layout of a garden. Unclipped hedges always take up more space, generally at a premium in a lot of modern gardens, but compensate by flowering a lot more. In more mild climates, a lot more exotic flowering hedges are created, by using Ceanothus, Hibiscus, Camellia, orange jessamine (Murraya paniculata), or lillypilly (Syzygium species). It is also possible to create really nice and dense hedge from other deciduous plants, but of course without the flowers.
Garden hedges that are below knee height are generally thought of as borders. Clipped hedges above eye level may be laid out in the form of a labyrinth or to create a garden maze. Hedges and pruning can be used to enhance a garden’s privacy, as a buffer to visual pollution and to hide fences. A hedge is always aesthetically pleasing to view. DS Landscaping and maintenance can help you pick the correct hedge to suit your garden and needs.