It is said, “Variety is the spice of life,” which rings true when it comes to the landscape. Hedges are a garden design that provides screening, wind protection, color, and dimension. Using different plants to achieve the effect can produce a vivid, textural concept. There are many plants suitable for a hedgerow mix, providing they all have the same site and cultural requirements. A mixed evergreen hedge has year round beauty, but a tumult of deciduous, flowering, or fruiting bushes will appeal at various times of the year. The seasonal color displays in the latter group may also be simply jaw dropping.
Garden design is fun, but requires a bit of planning. Planting something like a hedge will see the gardener considering and rejecting a variety of plants. Selecting plants that differ will give movement, color, and dimension, avoiding a boring visual aspect. A staggered mixed evergreen privacy screen, for instance, will combine bold hues of green, gold, blue, and other cool tones. Mixed hedge design is an exciting way to compliment the rest of the landscape while enlivening the traditional plant border.
Mixed Hedge Ideas
If you want to bring some excitement to the landscape, consider a hedgerow mix. Creating a staggered effect adds drama by layering plants of different sizes. With layering, typically, the tallest plants are located at the back of the hedge, while lower growing specimens flesh out the front. Plants may also be grouped and then inter-planted with a separate type of plant. As a general rule, grouped plants are set in odd numbers. In between the groups will be a different selection of plants for a consistent look that combines diversity. Another way to use mixed plants in hedges is by staggering. With this method, trees and shrubs are offset from each other. This will provide an informal screen. Once you have your planting plan in place, select plants. Evergreen species may be the sole denizens, or interspersed with deciduous plants. A mixture of flowering plants can achieve a screen that is in bloom from spring through summer. Fruiting plants will attract wildlife and provide end of season color.
Mixed Evergreen Hedge
Evergreens are the workhorses of the landscape. They provide vivid contrast in every season. Classic hedge plants, such as cypress, will make a blowsy barrier, while boxwoods may be sheared into regimental tidiness. Yews, junipers, and arborvitae produce beautiful, easy to grow screens. One common problem with plants like Arborvitae is die-off. This leaves a gap in a traditional hedge, but opens an opportunity to fill in with a hardier, more interesting plant. Some other plants to consider might be:
- Japanese Holly
- English Holly
- Mountain Laurel
- Box Honeysuckle
More Hedgerow Mix Ideas
A range of deciduous and evergreen plants will provide year round interest. Consider interspersing or layering deciduous plants to add spring and summer excitement. Using native plants is an excellent way to provide diversity of foliage combined with adaptability to the region. Natives will also provide habitat and food for wildlife. Plants like elderberry will produce sprays of tiny white flowers followed by deeply purple berries, useful for wine or preserves, and favored by certain species of birds. Some deciduous plants that will perk up the garden are:
Ornamental grasses are another group of plants that make wonderful hedges, filled with movement and foliage diversity. Large grasses, like pampas or maidenhair, provide statuesque screening. Interplant these with ornamental grasses with similar site and care needs in different sizes. Fescue, fountain, and feather reed grasses are excellent choices.