Forum home Garden design

New Hedge

Hi Guys

I'm new to the forum but hope to be using it a lot more now we have a new house with a substantial garden.

Im am planning on putting a new 60m leylandii hedge in at the front of our house. At the minute its just put to lawn. My question is what is the quickest way to clear a strip of the lawn ready for planting? I am planning to roll out week membrane over the strip then plant the leylandii along it to control the weed afterwards. I now I could dig it over but that would be a lot process over 60m.

Was thinking my option could be spaying with some sort of weed killer or simply laying the weed membrane out and hoping that will kill the lawn off underneath. 

Thanks for any input




  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,847
    edited January 2020
    Sorry, but lots of things wrong with your labour saving ideas and they'll lead to failure and wasted time and money.

    First of all, no new hedge will establish well in undug soil  The roots will find it too hard to spread out and establish themselves.   Secondly, its far easier to use a machine such as a rotavator to dig a planting trench than it is to dig a separate hole for every single plant and it will be easier t apply general fertilisers and soil improvers along a trench.

    It is far better to use a good layer of mulch - composted organic matter or chipped bark - to suppress weeds than a membrane which will be ugly and will eventually tear and degrade and add plastic to your soil. (We've inherited some here under a hedge and it's horrid)

    Lastly - does it have to be leylandii?  It's dull, heavy, not attractive to wildlife and doesn't regenerate if you get the pruning and clipping wrong and cut into brown wood.  privet, beech, hornbeam, holly, mixed hedging plants including dog rose, hawthorn, elder and do on would be far better suited to your rural setting and be a welcome home to all sorts of insects, pollinators, birds and small rodents needing food and shelter. 
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • punkdocpunkdoc Posts: 14,618
    edited January 2020
    Welcome to the forum @owb82
    Have to say, I completely agree with @Obelixx. Not only is Leylandii horrible, imo, but it will look totally out of place in your setting.
    Whatever you choose, you will need to remove the turf and prepare the soil. I would wait till Spring, use weedkiller, when the grass is dead dig out the remains and prepare the soil.
    How can you lie there and think of England
    When you don't even know who's in the team

    S.Yorkshire/Derbyshire border
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 12,165
    Hello @owb82, and welcome  :)
    Guess what, l'm singing from the same hymn sheet ! 
    When planting anything, it's all in the preparation . You're forking out a sum of money for this hedge, so it's worth while giving it the best start you can.
    I would also advise avoiding Lelandyii, a bit of Googling will show you the problems that can arise. If you do want to go for the conifer look, have a search for Thuja plicata.
    Some more information about planting conifers here
  • NollieNollie Posts: 7,488
    Congratulations on your new house and garden.

    Again I second Obelixx, you will need to dig and well-prepare a trench, improving the soil as you go, if your new hedge is going to have a hope of surviving. You have a beautiful setting there, but it looks quite exposed, so you may need to install a post and wire fence or similar to tie in the young hedging whips and give them some support from prevailing winds. Perhaps a local farmer with a mini-tractor or digger might be able to dig your trench for a fee? Worth asking at the local pub!

    Make sure you allow a generous strip between the hedge and the road, not only to allow for the eventual width of the hedge but to give you off-road space to hedge-trim in safety.

    Leylandii has it’s uses, it can form a good dense hedge to shield you from the view and noise of the road, but do think seriously about other options as it takes regular cutting to keep in shape and if left to get out of control is will turn into an unruly monster. It never seems to die uniformly, either, even if you do keep on top of the trimming, resulting in the odd dead tree or horrible brown patches that don’t regenerate.

    What do you plan to do with the big field in front? If you plan to use it for various activities, such as garden borders, seating area, small orchard, veg patch etc., a shorter evergreen hedge mid-way will define different areas and screen much of the road, meaning you could go for a more naturalistic deciduous native mixed hedge by the road to define your boundary. If you plan on leaving it open, the father away the hedge the taller it will have to be to screen the road and the bigger job it will be twice a year to trim.
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
  • Guernsey Donkey2Guernsey Donkey2 Posts: 6,713
    edited January 2020
    I totally agree with @Obelixx too. We inherited leylandii trees along the bottom of our garden and would strongly recommend that you plant a double layer of plants - that is some tall upright trees i.e. silver birch upright, closest to the road and a second row of smaller trees and shrubs, that way you will have interest for the birds and other visiting creatures, good soundproofing from road traffic and a dense growth (shrubs and smaller trees) to give you privacy.  You will be able to buy most of the plants now as whips which will keep the price down substantially.  Try to plant before the warmer weather arrives so before April, but not if the soil is water logged or freezing.  Water well for the first year and keep them well anchored into the soil so they don't move in strong winds. More planting information is available on line.
  • +1 for Leylandii being worth reconsidering. According to Wikipedia they are known to grow to 15metres tall in 16 years. If turning 60metres of grass sods sounds like a lot of work think about the work required to keep 60metres of super vigorous Leylandii under control. Unless you know someone local with a tractor mounted hedge trimmer who is willing to run over it a couple times a year I also think it is a poor plant choice for a hedge.

    The suggestion for a mixed native hedge sounds like the best option to me and I would be reluctant to dig out a deep trench for planting as I am of the opinion that less soil disturbance usually works better. It depends on how compacted your soil is but I have planted using a two handled shovel just to lever out a slit in the soil big enough to push the roots into and compacted it back down with my boots to good effect and agree with other people I have talked with that planting into a deep trench may not work as well. I generally do not plant with a big prepared planting hole and it has worked fine for lots of plants. I would also discourage adding fertiliser into the area you dig out as it is said to slow the hedge plants sending their roots deeper into the soil which they can be slower to do when the planting hole is filled with a mixture that is too nutrient rich.

    I also agree that a synthetic weed membrane is not a good thing to add to the environment. Posted some clips of a hedge I planted of hawthorn and hornbeam that is almost two years old now and has grown well without any membrane to suppress the weeds. The easiest method is just to hoe out the weeds when they are small every couple of months as when they get bigger it can cause more root damage to the young hedge when digging them out. For the hedge in the video clip I stopped weeding after a year as the hedge is now taller than the weeds can grow. I'll be trimming it a bit to get it into a better shape this spring.
  • Papi JoPapi Jo Posts: 4,024
    edited January 2020
    Welcome to our forum and congrats on your new home, set in a fantastic landscape.
    Like the other members have already said, you've got all your options wrong. :(
    It would be a pity to "uglify" such a nice environment with leylandii trees and to use un-friendly weed-membrane and week-killer.
    Please re-consider your choices and go for a more ecological attitude. ;)
    PS. Where are you based? In the US?

    You are invited to a virtual visit of my garden (in English or in French).
  • owb82owb82 Posts: 13
    Hi Thanks for the great responses.

    The main reason for the hedge is to block the road from sight, giving us privacy and to give noise protection As it can be quite busy at times. We will also be doing down the left hand side of the property. I don't want to wait years for the hedge to do its job. Wife is already talking about a wooden fence. Something I'm not considering though.That's why I was looking at Layandii. Cutting is not a problem. The farmer across road is already going to clear the left side hedge for us to plant up. He has said he would like to keep the hedge Hawthorn around the paddock and will do the external cutting for us with his tractors around the whole property. Which I'm happy with.

    I can purchase Layandi for £1.50 a plant at a height of 40cm. I think around 250 will be needed to complete. I totally understand the they are not very eco, but we will be planting up the garden in time with trees and plants.

    I think rotovator to clear a strip is a good idea. I have planted Layandaii hedges before. When I have used wood chips underneath I found that the blackbirds were forever in it throwing it all over the lawn, that's why I was considering membrane instead at least until it was established.

    Is there anything else that will grow at similar speeds, give good wind and noise protection and not turn brown and twiggy in the Winter.

    Im based In Lincoln, UK

    Thanks again for everyone help so far


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,969
    Have a look at Thuja plicata ... an appearance similar to leylandii but without many of the disadvantages ... particularly unlike Leylandii it will regrow if you cut back into the brown wood, which will be important if the farmer is going to cut if with a tractor and flail. 
    Leylandii needs much more precise trimming otherwise you are left with bare brown patches which never regrow.  

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • NewBoy2NewBoy2 Posts: 1,813
    Everyone is just trying to be Happy.....So lets help Them.
Sign In or Register to comment.