Beyond leylandii hedges – alternative evergreen hedge options

Most homeowners like privacy in their garden and home, and many search around for the perfect hedge to create screening. But purchasing evergreen hedges isn’t as straightforward as it may sound and there are a growing number of cases where neighbours are falling into disagreement around over-sized leylandii hedges blocking sunlight or reaching across boundaries. So, what is the solution and what are the best types of hedges to plant if you want a fast-growing evergreen hedge in your garden that is suitable for you and your neighbours? Luckily, there are many hedges to choose from, including not only leylandii hedges, but also laurel hedges, red cedar, box hedging and more.

130ft leylandii hedge!

Britain’s most popular evergreen hedges include the leylandii with around 55 million leylandii hedges in the UK. Indeed, the Cypress leylandii is one of the biggest hedges in Britain, standing at 130ft high at The National Pinetum in Kent. However, although leylandii hedges are one of the fastest-growing and most hardy hedges you can plant, it is also one of the most troublesome, with neighbour disputes locking hedge owners into lengthy and troublesome legal battles. If you want a fast-growing hedge but you don’t have plenty of time for the upkeep of it, then leylandii probably isn’t the best one to choose.

leylandii hedge

Manageable evergreen hedges

If you’re looking for evergreen hedges that do not come with potential issues, there are still plenty of good looking, fast-growing hedges to choose from. For example, laurel is a popular hedging plant that grows quickly and is more acceptable with the neighbours! The growth rate may be slightly slower than leylandii hedges at 2ft a year, but it still looks beautiful and neat when fully grown. Laurel provides instant bushy hedging, giving you a screen-like appearance for privacy. It can also be trimmed easily and the leaves are attractive, glossy and bright all year round.

If you want to add a bit more colour to your garden, the red robin – a Photinia – will grow around 2ft a year, presenting beautiful bright red leaves especially during the spring months. The red robin fast-growing evergreen hedge only needs pruning twice a year to keep it dense and if you trim them in late spring, you will get more red shoots coming through in the summer. It will also grow in any free-draining soil.

Western red cedar is another popular evergreen hedge option, with aromatic, glossy, pointed leaves, egg-shaped cones and an ultimate height of up to 35m. Again it grows at a rate of around 2ft a year.

Popular box hedging

Boxwood or box hedging is low maintenance and will grow around eight inches per year. It is slow-growing but is perfect if you’re looking for a neat and compact hedge. It happily tolerates the shade and will grow in free-draining soil, so it’s a strong versatile evergreen hedge that can be planted anywhere. Be wary that the box hedge can suffer from ‘box blight’ disease if it is growing in very damp conditions.

Before you look at evergreen or leylandii hedges, consider where they will be planted, the type of soil, whether it will be in the sun or shade, and whether it will hinder relationships with your neighbours.

Working out the best type of hedge for your garden can be complicated but we are here to help. Please give our team a call for hedging advice on 01993 850979 or email

Our alternatives to Leylandii hedges