Green hornbeam hedging

Hedges provide shelter and privacy in the garden
Image: Hornbeam (hedging) from Thompson & Morgan

Here’s everything you need to create a spectacular living boundary from hedging plants in your garden. We’ve pulled together wisdom from a whole host of independent gardeners and designers and featured their best YouTube videos, Instagram posts and articles. Whether you start with bare root or container grown plants, here’s how to choose, plant and prune the perfect hedge.

Jenny – Murphy’s Garden

semi-mature yew hedging

Older yew hedging can be regeneratively pruned over the course of three years
Image: Murphy’s Garden

As soon as you move into a new property, the best thing to do is plan your garden boundaries, says YouTuber Jenny from Murphy’s Garden. After years of trial and error, her favourite hedging plant is yew. Don’t cut the main stem from your yew until it’s the height you want, she advises. Watch Jenny’s video to pick up her top growing tips for the seven boundary plants she uses in her idyllic North Shropshire garden.

Lee Burkhill – Garden Ninja

Griselinia hedging in pots ready to plant

Get the right hedging variety for the right place like Lee
Image: Garden Ninja

Pick something suitable, otherwise no matter what you do, you won’t get it to establish properly, says YouTuber Lee at his channel Garden Ninja. Lee’s gone for griselinia, which copes well with windy and exposed sites. Including top tips for choosing the best variety, through to preparing the soil and actually planting your hedging, Lee’s video provides a great overview.


Blackthorn hedge covered in sloes

Sloe berries are plump and perfect for foraging
Image: Blackthorn (hedging) from Thompson & Morgan

Plant an edible hedge of sloe berries (blackthorn) for a ready supply of hedgerow berries. @fruitsoftheforage add sloes to their award winning Seville orange marmalade, and even make a sloe and Seville orange liqueur! They follow the harvest, going wherever they can get their hands on these prized hedgerow berries. Check out their insta post to learn more.

Barny Davidson – The Jolly Gardener

Lavender hedge in full bloom

Flowering hedges add colour to a front garden
Image: The Jolly Gardener

This blogger recommends hydrangeas in his list of top flowering hedging plants. “Although they’re deciduous, hydrangeas hang on to their dried flowers over the winter which means they continue to look interesting,” says Barny Davidson at The Jolly Gardener. Go for paniculata varieties, particularly ‘Limelight’ for its gorgeous lime coloured blooms, he says. Browse through Barny’s list for more top flowering hedge plants.

Wild Your Garden with Joel Ashton

Man standing in front of dog rose

Rosehips are a nutritious source of food for us and for garden wildlife
Image: Wild Your Garden with Joel Ashton

Do you want a hedge that attracts wildlife? Joel Ashton recommends planting a dog rose (Rosa canina) for the edible hips that appear in autumn. Not only is it a great food source for birds, he says, but the thorns deter cats, making dog roses a secure place to nest. Watch Joel’s video and learn more about this hard-working hedging plant over at Wild Your Garden with Joel Ashton.

Thompson & Morgan blog

Hawthorn hedge trough

Start with potted plants for instant greening
Image: Hawthorn (hedging) from Thompson & Morgan

Bare root hedging plants appreciate a good soak for an hour when they arrive in the post, says Thompson & Morgan in-house expert Sue Sanderson. Bare root can be a cost-effective option, but won’t create an instant effect like potted plants in leaf. Read Sue’s handy article to weigh up the pros and cons. Looking for a hedge for specific soil types? To find the best varieties take a look at hedging plants for chalky or clay soils by T&M expert Annelise Brilli.

Alexandra – The Middle-Sized Garden

planting a container grown hedge

Dig a trench to prepare the soil and plant a longer section of hedge
Image: The Middle-Sized Garden

Sprinkle bone meal underneath your plants to give your new hedge the fertiliser it really needs to get established, says garden YouTuber Alexandra Campbell over at The Middle-Sized Garden. Watch her video to find out which other essential ingredients she adds to her newly planted hedge to kick start healthy green growth.


Clipped sweet bay hedge

Sweet bay makes a lovely hedge with edible scented leaves
Image: Laurus nobilis from Thompson & Morgan

Make planting your hedge into turf easier by laying cardboard and mulching the ground six months beforehand to kill off the grass, say the experts at Thrive. Then there’s no need for heavy digging, they say. Just add a bit of organic matter when it’s time to plant and you’re good to go! Check out their friendly article for more top tips.

Fantastic Gardeners

pruning hedge with shears

Regular pruning keeps your hedge fresh and healthy
Image: Pixavril/Shutterstock

“Formative pruning is performed for the first two to three years after the hedge has been planted, usually in winter or early spring,” say the garden experts behind Fantastic Gardeners. Further annual hedge pruning after that depends on the variety, whether you’re hoping for flowers, and whether you want to train your hedge into a specific shape, they say. Read their excellent article for all you need to know about pruning to stimulate growth and improve the health of your hedge.

Debbie Roberts & Ian Smith – @acreswildgardendesign

clipped box topiary with frost

Box looks lovely when it’s neatly clipped into shapes
Image: @acreswildgardendesign

Worried about box blight? “Spray your box plants with liquid seaweed once a week during the growing season to keep the box blight at bay,” recommends the Debbie and Ian @acreswildgardendesign. Check out the gorgeous topiary box balls under the care of these gardening experts in their lovely post. They look like iced buns to us – what do you think?


Lonicera nitida hedging

Lonicera nitida makes an excellent alternative to box if you have trouble with blight
Image: @ali.ibbetson

Do you need a good replacement for a box hedge? Lonicera nitidalooks almost the same, is as tough as old boots, pest free and drought tolerant,” says Ali over at @ali.ibbetson. The only thing to keep an eye on is trimming because this is a vigorous variety, she says. Head to her post to read all about the new hedge!

Paula – Low Impact

Willow whips woven into a living fence

Willow is a good for weaving during its winter dormancy
Image: Low Impact

Create an immediate boundary and enjoy the perks of a living hedge by making a ‘fedge’. Check out how Paula makes a fence/hedge in a London back garden to hide unsightly compost ‘daleks’. The perfect material for a fedge, willow happily comes into leaf through summer and is flexible enough to be woven into lovely designs, Paula says. Check out her fun article at Low Impact for step-by-step fedge making instructions.


Hedges are fantastic design tools
Image: @nigel.dunnett

Your hedge doesn’t have to be alive to form an effective or attractive barrier, says top garden designer Nigel over at @nigel.dunnett. His ‘dead hedge’, created from woody garden cuttings, is covered in fantastic autumn colour from the rosebay willowherb that happily grows up through it during the summer months. Check out his post to see this fantastic idea in its natural woodland setting.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this collection of hedging tips. If you’re looking for something on a grander scale, check out our wide range of hedging trees, or be sure to visit our trees and hedges hub page – our dedicated hedges resource, and visit our conifer hub page for growers tips, variety advice & pruning guides. Planting an unusual hedge? Share your photos over on our Instagram or Twitter pages. We love to hear from you.

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