How to Grow a Privacy Hedge
Growing a privacy hedge is a great way to combine your desire for privacy with a love for a natural setting in your backyard. A privacy hedge can be an inexpensive way to not only add beauty to the landscape, but provide a windbreak and protect your outdoor living space. Here is some helpful information on how to grow a privacy hedge in your yard.
Select a Hedging Plant
Determine what kind of hedge design you prefer. There are numerous plants that make great hedges, so your selections to choose from are pretty broad. Determine if you want a formal or informal design. A formal design has a uniform style throughout, maintained through pruning or trimming the hedge. An informal hedge is one that is not as rigid looking and uses a combination of different hedging plants to create a privacy hedge. Look through some gardening design books to get an idea of which style you prefer.
TIP: Our expert gardening advisor, Susan Patterson adds, "There are both deciduous and evergreen privacy hedge options as well as large number of flowering options. Choose the plant that best suits your growing conditions, personal preference, budget and needs. Choose plants that are appropriate for your growing region."
Determine the Placement of Your Privacy Hedge
Before you begin planting, determine where you will place your hedge. It is a good idea to review your property lines, either on your own or with any neighbors that share a property line. Make sure the hedge remains on your property. Account for the width of your hedge so it doesn't grow onto your neighbors’ property when it reaches maturity.
TIP: Susan suggests, "Sometimes neighbors are willing to share the cost of putting in a privacy hedge, it does not hurt to ask."
Also, if you are planning on planting near a street, contact your city to find out if there are rules regarding hedges near the street, as restrictions on this vary by location. Do a little research regarding where utility lines are located on your property to ensure that you avoid them when you begin digging.
TIP: Susan advises, "Always have a soil sample taken before beginning any landscape project. This will help you determine what you may need to add to the soil to increase its health."
Research Your Chosen Plants
Before planting, take a look at your selected plants’ overall mature size measurements to determine how far apart plants need to be placed. Based on this information, space your hedge out while the plants are still in their pots. Be sure you place the plants far enough apart to allow for the necessary sunlight penetration, yet close enough to provide privacy. Once you find a good balance, plant your hedge plants in the ground and water them thoroughly until they become established.
Add Temporary Plant Fill-ins
If you desire privacy now, use temporary plants to fill in your hedge until it reaches maturity. Ornamental grasses are great for fillers and can easily be transferred once your hedge begins to grow thicker and fuller.
TIP: Susan says, "Planting a hedge row should be done in the early spring or fall."