Fencing or Hedging is a key topic for us and a decision that many homeowners have to make. As do house builders, though here it is more complicated….
New Builds: Fencing or Hedging?
It will be no surprise that when it comes to aesthetics and security, the hedge beats the fence. Unless you are happy to put razor wire on top of a fence (hardly a good advertisement) , the mature hedge remains far more impenetrable. It may be a surprise, though, that the hedge also has the edge in terms of cost – it’s cheaper to install and maintain.
For the developer, there is one additional consideration – the time it might take for a hedge to reach maturity. No matter how rough the panels of even the lowest quality lap fence may be, they still offer immediate privacy.
But hedging competes here too. You can, for example:
- Choose taller plants! This may appear flippant but it is an obvious and effective solution. For example, a 180cm Laurel is bang on the traditional 6’ height for a boundary between gardens
- Erect a simple, extremely cheap wire fence along the boundary with hedging either side. This extenuates the sense of delineation for the properties without compromising the visual impact of the hedging
- To minimise the number of plants required, plant the hedging alternately on one side of the boundary then the other
- Construct a raised bed along the boundary. For example, two parallel lines of bricks three or four courses high with a c.50cm channel between them Fill the channel with good quality soil and plant the hedging into it. The roots will find their way into the ground and you’ll have a head-start in terms of height. It also looks exceptionally good and is ideal for more upmarket properties where potential purchasers expect that extra something
Fencing or Hedging – Which Plants?
We recommend any of the following for New Build hedging. They are all evergreen and low-maintenance There are others that we have discounted for this specific purpose such as Beech and Purple Copper Beech as they are semi-evergreen.
Evergreen Boundary Hedging
- Cherry Laurel, Escallonia ‘Crimson Spire’, Griselinia Littoralis, Photinia Red Robin, Privet, Yew…
Hornbeam is the choice for particularly heavy/wet soil, though it can shed some leaves
- Cherry Laurel and Privet.
- Cherry Laurel and Privet are among the fastest growing traditional hedging plants and this is a major factor in teir popularity.
Of course, Leylandii is the fastest-growing of them all but not only is it unsuitable for developments with houses in close proximity, its foliage also has a tendency to brown. This problem (caused by aphids) is unattractive and can easily lead to gaps in the hedge. Because of this, we recommend Western Red Cedar instead.
A Splash of Extra Colour
- Escallonia ‘Crimson Spire’, Photinia Red Robin
If you want to make something of a statement then these two hedging plants will do just that.