Most people would say they know all there is to know on the topic of hedges. Step 1, pick a plant. Step 2, plant a line of them. Step 3, oh wait, you’re done. Well I think the overlooked hedge plantings of our homes and gardens deserve a bit more attention, after all, they do a lot more for us than just block the view. Once you realize how powerful an element those green borders are, I know you’ll want to spend a little more time trimming them up to look their best, and maybe you’ll even start your own hedge if you don’t yet have one.
The first reason to plant a hedge is obvious, to block the view. Whether you have those crazy neighbors you’d rather not see skinny dipping in the middle of the day or just want to be able to grill some burgers out back in peace, a visual screen benefits anyone who spends time in their yards. The backyard is really an outdoor living space where we prepare food, share good times with family, and relax after our hard work each week. So why would you leave this one room of your house without walls? The hedges along a property line serve to give us a sense of security and hominess, as much as privacy.
If you are looking to gain that sense of personal space out back, you do have a few other options in the way of fencing. However, I’d always argue the hedge wins out as the best choice for outdoor privacy. First of all, fences are expensive. Secondly, I think a stark wooden fence sends the wrong message. If good fences make good neighbors, then good hedges make good friends.
A nice big hedge can make life more enjoyable on either side of it, but it can supports life right in the middle too! Our urban environments can be a hard place to live if you’re a little critter trying to eek out a living. Large hedges are one of the best places for birds to make safe nests in for their little ones to hatch. All manner of native songbirds will nest in a thick network of leaves and branches. If you’re an avid bird watcher you simply must have thick hedges. Even the best bird seed won’t attract all the birds to your yard if you don’t have the right places for them to feel safe. Planting those hedges will ensure you’ve got color of more than just flowers in the garden. You’ll have rich red cardinals and bright blue jays to brighten up your shrubbery in no time.
I’m not much of an artist, but I can color between the lines pretty well. The definition of those thick black lines make all the color inside pop. Planting hedges along the outer edge of your garden or backyard does the same thing as those lines. A strong border of larger plants helps to visually highlight brighter colors planted in the interior of the space. When you take the time to maintain a thick and healthy green outline to your yard, you won’t have to work so hard on everything inside.
If your big green borders are in need of some attention, now’s the time to get them cleaned up. You might not have paid much mind to those hedges in the past, but they can sure be one of your best outdoor assets. Take good care of the hedges you have, or plant new ones where they’re needed, and you’ll have the perfect outline around your dream garden.
*This article was written by Jonathan Burns (Tallahassee Nurseries Outdoor Manager, FNGLA Florida Certified Horticulture Professional)