Forum home Garden design

Benefits of planting a very wide hedge?


At my south boundary there is a very tall 8 ft plus privet hedge and my house is about 3-4 meters away on a higher ground level which has created a shaded corridor.

My feeling was to chop back (down) the hedge but my neighbours aren't keen because they "like a hedge vs a fence".

Funny really considering they haven't planted their own hedge anywhere on any of their boundaries they just love my hedge on my property.

When I started think what else I'd do with the area I couldn't decide and then I wondered if I could go the other way and plant another couple of hedgerows next to it?

Would there be a way to utilise such a hedge becuse I'm keen on self sufficiency, wildlife and my children's enjoyment.

In my minds eye there is produce to be picked from the top and the kids are scrambling around underneath.

Any input appreciated. I'd like to not alienate any more of my neighbours if possible.



  • Hi image

    Love the diagrams  image

    I'm all in favour of hedges rather than fences - so good for wildlife and much more attractive - however it might be that I've not had enough image yet this morning, but I'm not clear where you're thinking of planting more hedges image

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

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,353

    I'm not either  image

    Do you mean cut the hedge back to make it narrower, and then plant another at right angles to it?

    You really need an overhead (bird's eye view) plan to make it clear where the planting would be on the ground, lb. Makes it easier to offer suggestions  image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • WateryWatery Posts: 388

    I think you may have some trouble establishing new hedges if they are being shaded out, although it looks like you plan to halve the hedge you already have height-wise, which may help.   Most fruit producing things would prefer sun, I think.   Brambles, hawthorn and dog roses will grow in shade toward the sun, but that would mean your children have to be quite hardy to play along the bottom, to say the least.  But you won't be able to put in 6 ft tall plants so they will have a tough time to get going.  Also the second picture shows quite high, exposed trunks.  Hedge plants don't really do that.  

    Can I ask what you used to draw your diagrams? (I think it's pretty clear.  First one is current status showing the shade thrown by current hedge. Second is your idea of 3 tree wide massive hedge)

    I think you can tell your neighbours that you understand their preference but you really need to lower the height or get rid of entirely but that you would be happy for them to have trellis on the top of the fence and to cover it with climbers.   It appears that fence is north-facing so you will always have some degree of shade there.

    How long have you lived there? 

  • raisingirlraisingirl Posts: 7,010

    I think I understand what you want I'm just not clear why. If to reduce the shade at the bottom of the bank, just lowering the existing hedge will do it, without planting more hedge to thicken it up. Or is it because privet is dull and you want something more interesting to look at?

    I agree with Watery that establishing new hedge plants right next to an existing hedge is tricky because the existing one takes up all the sunlight, most of the moisture and all the nutrient in the ground.

    If you want to make it a more interesting section of garden, I'd go for lowering the existing hedge, and under-planting with some nice woodland plants. Perhaps grow clematis through the privet hedge to brighten it up - you may need to help it get established by planting it spaced away from the hedge. They like their feet in shade and heads in the sun though. Chose one that doesn't need a lot of pruning - you'll never be able to untangle it if it gets going..

    And then if you want to create a 'forage path', put a couple of really interesting small trees at the foot of the bank where there is better light, (wild cherry, autumn olive, elder, crab apple) and grow climbers, also planted on the bank, through the new trees or over arches - runner beans, wineberry, dog rose, loganberry. You could mix in raspberries, alpine strawberries, chives along the bank. Make a little patch of forest garden and the existing hedge will be an asset rather than a problem image

    “It's still magic even if you know how it's done.” 
  • We have an area that we call The Wilderness - just an area planted with low shrubs and groundcover plants good for wildlife.  It could easily be adapted to add some plants that could be foraged for - as has been said  alpine strawberries, raspberries etc. and bullaces (a type of wild cherry-plum) make lovely pies and wine and are loved by birds too. 

    Just make sure the children know how to recognise the privet berries as these need to be left for the birds rather than foraged for - don't want them with upset tums image

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

Sign In or Register to comment.