The different uses of Hedging Plants

Whilst hedging can be used purely for ornamental purposes, the 3 main uses for hedges are for barriers, boundaries and screens.

Hedge barriers are used across Britain’s farmlands to control livestock and also to act as a deterrent to other animals that may intrude and damage gardens. These types of barriers have been used throughout history, as early as Julius Caesar; he was the first recorded person to use hedging as a military barrier. Red Barberry / Red Berberis is a fantastic hedging plant to use as a barrier due to its fast growth and the prickly, reddish purple leaves that adorn the branches. It not only works well as a deterrent to keep intruders out of your garden, but Berberis Ottawensis x Auricoma hedging offers a wonderful splash of colour. Masses of yellow flowers appear in spring against the dark foliage, before red fruits develop in autumn and the leaves adopt a fiery orange shade.

red Berberis


Property lines throughout the British countryside and in urban areas are often marked by a hedge boundary, providing an attractive way to highlight the parameters of houses and land. Leylandii hedging is perfect to use as a boundary hedge as the conifer hedging family has the fastest growth rate of all hedging plants and offers bright, dense, evergreen foliage and a pleasant, subtle fragrance. Cupressocyparis Leylandii hedging needs to be trimmed at least twice a year as you can’t cut into the old wood, but an alternative hedging plant to use for boundaries is Yew (Taxus Baccata). Easier to maintain, but slightly slower growing, Taxus Baccata hedging is often referred to as the ‘King of Hedging’ due to its huge diversity. You can read more in our Yew hedging blog.



Hedges are also used as screens for a number of different reasons: for privacy; as a shelter to reduce wind strength; to absorb noise – particularly from traffic or to hide unsightly views. Cherry Laurel is the UK’s most popular landscape and garden species, securing a spot in our top 10 hedging plants and making it a great choice to use as a screen. The large, glossy green foliage is evergreen, creating year-round, dense screening, which significantly reduces noise pollution and wind impact whilst providing a huge amount of privacy. Prunus laurocerasus Rotundifolia hedging can be trimmed for more of a formal hedge or left slightly bushy for a more natural look.

cherry laurel

The variety of different shrubs and plants that can take on any of the roles mentioned: barrier, boundary or screen, is endless and demonstrates the versatility of hedging plants; not only providing a ‘living screen’ and vibrant displays of seasonal colour but also useful for security, privacy and border purposes.

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