Feeling like you are besieged with your neighbours nose stuck to your windowsill, or have to put up with the view of your street until you sell?
Maybe it’s time to consider hedging plants to keep out prying eyes.
Planting hedges has multiple benefits. Firstly, it can block out unsightly views, like your neighbours tumbling down fence and unmown yard. Out of sight is out of mind after all. Secondly, a hedge can prevent people gawking in at you and bring some much-needed security and privacy. Thirdly, a hedge can provide shade, screen noise and even help keep your house cleaner by blocking dust. If you choose your hedge plants well they can also provide colourful foliage, stunning flowers, wafting perfume or delicious fruit.
Privacy in your home can be simpler and easier to obtain than you might think. Having a hedge means you can enjoy the feeling of pulling back the blinds, opening your window and sitting back with a coffee, without neighbours and mailmen weighing in on what type of roast you’re drinking.
For the best blocking hedges, you need to look at plants that have thick foliage and the right height. Make sure you choose a plant that is well suited to your local climate and soil type, getting this match right will ensure the bushes grow thick and fast, giving you a decent sized hedge in no time.
Here are five great tips for best hedging plants can offer great screening in record time.
1. Lilly Pilly (Syzygium smithii)
The one thing to keep in mind with Lilly Pilly plants is that they are also trees. For this reason get a staff member at the nursery to help with your final purchase. It’s important to make a plan for how big you want you hedge to be and buy the variety most closely matching your hedge height. Doing this will ensure your hedge is easy to maintain and will be the shape you want. While ten meters is possible with Lilly Pilly plants, usually three meters works well, although Lilly Pillies also have a great range of smaller hedges if you are looking for something a meter or less.
You can expect your Lilly Pilly hedge to reach its full height in three to five years. You will need to be diligent about cutting them back though, rapid growth does mean more maintenance.
The Lilly Pilly plant makes a great choice for Australian hedges because it is hardy, is suitable for a range of different soil types, can handle coastal conditions, and also frost.
They are evergreen with thick leaves and some varieties have beautifully coloured regrowth (another good reason to trim regularly).
Some varieties also have thick bunches of white flowers in summer and edible berries (in pink, purple and white) that can be made into cordial or jelly.
2. Silver Sheen (Pittosporum)
This New Zealand native is a great screening choice for Australian gardens. The silvery green leaves are commonly seen as front yard hedges on just about every block.
Once they are established they don’t need much water, they can handle some light frost and do best in full sun. They thrive in containers and love being pruned. Like the Lilly Pilly plants, there is a wide variety to choose from so select the best plant for your climate, soil type and desired hedge height.
If you are getting the feeling that the size of your hedge matters, this is another example of knowing what result you want before you buy.
In this case you are looking out for one of two varieties, you have the tall Viburnum odoratissimun which grows quickly (again, that means more pruning and attention to keep in in line). This plant usually reaches a height of four meters, it has larger leaves and clusters of fragrant white flowers that bloom in spring.
If you are looking for a smaller hedge then try baby brother, Viburnum tinus. Growing to around 1.5 meters this plant grows more slowly (you can get away with an annual trim) and has smaller leaves. You will still be treated to the sweet smell of white flowers in spring.
Viburnum do well in drought areas (although they will need some watering to get them established) and will benefit from a yearly dose of slow release fertiliser and a prune to maintain shape.
4. Olive (Olea europaea)
Yes the humble olive tree makes a great hedge. While varieties differ a great choice is the Tolley’s Upright, a tall shrub with not too much fruit.
Olives are great for large gardens and can tolerate dry areas. They do well when pruned and look great when they are planted in groups.
These fast-growing plants can be set in rows and allowed to fill out, or, for something different the branches can be pleached, or interlaced with its neighbour’s to create a striking connected look. If you are interested your nursery can show you examples of pre-pleached plants that have been trained (usually with bamboo). Pre-pleached plants usually come from Italy, making Olives a fan favourite.
5. Feijoa (Acca sellowiana)
For something even more edible try the feijoa (also known as pineapple guavas). These robust shrubs have grey-green foliage and do well either as a relaxed screen or pruned into a tight box shape.
The bright flowers will be attractive to bees and butterflies and you can harvest delicious fruit, great for healthy snacks, jams and moist cakes.
The plants themselves are fragrant, boasting a delicate sweet scent in the summertime.
While feijoas are hardy in most environments they do take a little more nurturing than others on this list. For really great results you should consider a warm position with soil that is mulched, fertilised and well-drained
So now you do not need to put up with the world outside your garden. Get rid of that nasty view or nosy neighbour and find your green thumb today with these great hedging plants.
Peta Stewart – Certified Practicing Conveyancer