Planting a mixed Beech hedge really comes down to a matter of taste. Horticulturally, both species will share most soils and situations with the following few exceptions:
- Unlike the European Beech, Purple Copper Beech will tolerate neither shade nor an acidic soil. Other than that, they get on famously and will happily live next door to each other
- Neither is a slow grower, though the European Beech tends to be a little quicker . If you want to ensure a mixed Beech hedge reaches its designated height in synch, it may be worth considering planting larger Purple Copper Beeches
Other than this, you can really plant them in any combination you choose…
Personally I’m not too fond of the zebra effect in hedging – but if you want
A stripy hedge then plant European and Purple Copper Beech alternately in singles or pairs. Not quite my cup of tea, but don’t let that stop you.
If you want stripes but a little less stripy, then plant as above but in rows of six or so plants of each type.
If you are planting a longer hedge (say 20m+), then you could have a short row of 3-4 of one species at each end with the middle comprising the other.
And if you want to add extra variety, then Privet works extremely well alongside Beech as it is both horticulturally compatible and offers an effective and sympathetic visual contrast.