How to Fence With Hedges


Create a living fence on your property with a row of bushes or small trees. Instead of costly fiberglass, unsightly chain-link or wood-panel fences with short life spans, a hedge is a type of fence or barrier that offers year-round beauty. A neatly manicured hedge separating your yard from adjacent property is a neighborly solution for dividing territory. Fencing off garden areas with natural, growing hedges adds dimension and texture to your landscape.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Shrubs
  • Select shrubs with a columnar form for planting a hedge in a narrow space. Upright Chinese juniper (Juniperus chinensis) with a spread of 5 to15 feet and Leyland cypress (x Cupressocyparis leylandii) with a 15- to 20-foot spread are suitable for fencing in a narrow area between houses. Place shrubs and trees with a wider spread, such as the 20- to 40-foot-wide Eastern white pine (Pinu strobus), in a hedgerow to fence off the back of a large property.

  • Space shrubs and trees with dense foliage close together in a hedge to make a living privacy fence. Set evergreen arborvitae (Thuja species) 15 to 20 feet from each other in a row; as the shrubs mature the crossed branches and thick foliage will prevent prying eyes from peering into your fence-enclosed areas.

  • Fence the street side of your property to reduce traffic noise by installing a hedge to block the sound. The leathery leaves and dense growth pattern of English laurel (Prunus laurocerasus) and the finely textured needles of small pine trees are suitable sound barriers. Keep the hedges neatly pruned to prevent overgrowth into the sidewalk and to present a well-kept, manicured visual impact.

  • Build a protective fence to block intruders with a hedge of plants that are armed with stickers or spines. In arid climates, a row of prickly cactus effectively serves this purpose. American holly (Ilex opaca) cultivars, with multiple stickers on each leaf, deter both animals and humans.

  • Plant a hedge of low-growing shrubs around your vegetable garden or a patio to separate the area from other parts of the yard. Canadian yew (Taxodium canadensis), a medium-textured evergreen that grows up to six feet high and eight feet wide, may be pruned heavily to make a compact, attractive divider. A hedge of neatly trimmed forsythia (Forsythia x intermedia) bushes bears bright yellow flowers in early spring, bringing a touch of color before vegetable gardening is in full swing.

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