Forum home Garden design

Native mixed hedge against a fence?

Between my neighbour backyard and my we have a standard panel (6x6) fence.

He doesn't want to change it but I 'd prefer a more natural border.

Can I plant a native mixed hedge with 50% hawthorn near the fence?

Is 40 cm a good distance from the fence or is it too close?

My side of the fence is north west facing.




  • artjakartjak Posts: 4,167

    Uberto, I don't know how large your garden is, but a native hedge will end up being fairly thick. I would attach some trellis to the fence or wires and grow clematis, roses or other climbers up it, hopefully that wouldn't steal too much space from the rest of the gardenimage

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,839

    60cm would be better.   I have a hawthorn hedge on my Northwest/Southeast boundary and it's doing very well but there is no fence either side.    I don't see why it wouldn't work for you as long as you prepare the soil well before planting.   Dig it to a depth of between 1.5 and 2 spades, remove stones, rubbish, weeds and then put the soil back with plenty of added garden composta nd well rotted manure to improve its structure and nutrients.

    You can buy whips - short, single stems - of hawthorn in autumn which is also the best time to plant.  Soak the roots in a bucket of cool water for an hour and then plant at 9 inch intervals if you're doing just one row which will be enough for your purposes.  For  a thicker hedge you can plant them in two zig zagged rows at 9 to 12 inches.    Trim the stems to 9 inches high and water well.  They will spend autumn and winter growing new roots which will then provide the energy for new stems in spring.

    Mine grew 6' in their first year.   You'll need to trim them back to about 3 or 4 feet heigh the first autumn after planting to encourage them to bush out and thicken up and so provide more flowers, berries and shelter for birds and insects.  You can keep them trimmed to 6' thereafter.  How wide you keep it is up to you.

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Mrs GMrs G Posts: 336

    I agree with leaving a decent distance between the fence and whips as you want some airflow at the back there, and planting too close could push you fence over.  Our neighbour has planted a Ribes right against the fence,  the panels are the kind you slide in and out of concrete posts and their shrub is pushing the panel out.  You may also need to access the panels to replace them at some stage and having the hedge planted too close would make this very tricky.

  • Thanks for all the responses.

    My back garden is 5 x 12 meter, and I'm willing to sacrifice (or should I say invest?) roughly a meter in width to have a healthy native hedge about 2mt. height.

    Since the fence is neighbor property I suppose we can access it from his side and remove it if necessary for maintenance.


  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,114
    You will also need room between the fence and the hedge to cut it. The neighbour would be within his rights to refuse to let you do anything to the fence so you can get at the hedge.
  • Think well ahead, say 10 years. What will it be like then? Will you be able to maintain it or will it get out of hand and damage the fence, especially as the latter will deteriorate without any help. Wild hedges can grow several feet every year and need annual cutting back/trimming. The main trunks can become tree-sized over time.Best if you can get behind it. If not perhaps you should think of a plan B?

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,839

    I can't see that many stems would grow on the dark, fence side so it should be OK but, if needs be, Plan B could be trellis panels erected 60cm inside the fence so you can get round behind if needs be for maintenance and then grow something like pyracantha up it - evergreen leaves, blossom in sprng and berries in autumn so very good for wildlife.  

    Pyracantha are easy to train, cheap to buy and produce berries in yellow, orange or red according to variety.   Soil preparation as above but they tend to come as container plants so can go in any time as long as you water them regularly if you plant between spring and autumn.  You can add ivy, hops, clematis and dog rose to the mix to train over the trellis and provide food and shelter for insects.

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • I too love pyracanthas and have several. Bearing in mind this post is about a natural hedge, they grow very quickly, 4 to 5 feet a year and have viscious thorns which can make maintenance very painful. A few years ago my clothes were shredded when I had to get in and cut them back and the clothes had to be binned. The numerous deep scratches on my arms and legs took weeks to heal. You cannot afford to turn your back on them. I neglected to cut mine back for a couple of years and they were 12 feet tall and beyond my capabilities. I paid someone to take them down to knee level! I await the next chapter in our battle.

    I am also a lover of clematis, but as these will weave in and around the other plants how does one trim the hedge without unnecessarily damaging the clematis. Which type are you thinking of?  A montana type looks suitably natural in your hedge but should not be pruned, but left to ramble. This restricts annual trimming of the hedge. You could use the types that need pruning hard each spring, removing annually all the top growth, which will be entwined around and through the hedge.

    Someone recently said that the best wild hedge is bramble. An interesting notion.




  • Thanks again for useful advice. I don't see a problem trimming hedge twice a year, but I'm worried for fence damages.

    I will think about a plan B.

  • JamesT0001JamesT0001 Posts: 10

    Viburnum opulus (guilder rose - not actually a rose)  is good.  It grows more upright than outwards.

    if you are growing to attract wildlife then the leaves of this shrub always seem to have holes in them.  There is also the nice white flowers and then after, the red berries.

Sign In or Register to comment.