Using hedges to create a privacy screen, windbreak, or decorative border is a beautiful way to serve a purpose and punctuate an already beautiful lawn or garden.

Privet Drive

The famous lane where Harry Potter lives in the muggle world is named for a common hedge plant–the privet shrubs. Privet shrubs reach a height of four to 15 feet. In North America privets are invasive–which might be a good thing for you if you don’t want to spend a lot of time getting them growing. They do need to be pruned if you want them to look like a prim and proper hedge. They can tolerate an aggressive pruning if they have become wild and unruly and will be growing again in no time. There are a few different varieties of privets, so refer to your gardening book or nursery professional for guidance.

It’s Not Me, It’s Yew

English yew is a conifer and the hedge of choice for English gardens. English yew is what comprises those fantastic mazes you see in English palaces. They grow slow but also can tolerate a great deal of pruning. They can be trimmed into topiaries for extra interest–cones, balls and spirals are the most common shapes.

Boxwood: Great for Short Borders

Boxwood has a small green leaf. Its tight growth makes it look so nice when it is trimmed square or round. It is also a common shrub in English gardens. It grows slowly, so be patient. You may have seen a boxwood planted with a chicken wire form of an animal for the plant to grow into. That is a great way to make extreme topiaries.

Whether it is a simple hedge you want or a fantastic garden design, ask the professionals at your garden store what works best in your climate zone and with your soil.