How to Plant a Hedge

Whether you want to install a border or a habitat to attract wildlife, planting a hedge is a DIY project well within your grasp if you have a couple of hours and the interest.

Berry Shrub Hedge

Berry Shrub Hedge

Photo by: DK - Garden Design © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Garden Design, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

A mixed hedge will attract wildlife all year. Don't clip too hard if you want summer flowers and fruit in the fall, and take care not to disturb nesting birds in spring.

From: DK Books - Garden Design

An informal mixed hedge of native species will provide a rich habitat for wildlife, as well as attractive flowers and fruits. The best time to plant a bare-root hedge is in the fall, when plants first become available.

A few weeks before planting, remove weeds and dig the area over, working in organic matter. At planting time, weed the area again, tread the ground until firm, and rake level (image 1).

Mark the planting line with pegs and string (image 2). If you have space, put in a double row of plants for extra screening, and to cover up gaps if plants die. Set the rows 16 inches apart.

Materials Needed:

  • spade
  • rake
  • tape measure
  • string and canes
  • pruning shears


Set the plants 32 inches apart. Spacing is critical for hedging, so use a tape measure rather than guessing. Dig holes large enough to accommodate the roots comfortably (image 1).

Plant the bare-root hedging plants at the same depth as they were growing in their containers; the dark soil stain on the stem will tell you how deep to plant them. Plant roses slightly deeper for stability. Firm plants in with your hands (image 2).

Stagger the plants on the second row to maximize coverage (image 3). Position the first plant 16 inches in from the edge of the front row. Keep bare-root plants wrapped until planted to prevent their roots from drying out.


Check that the soil around the plants is firmed in, and then water each plant thoroughly. Prune back the tips of any tall or leggy shrubs to encourage new, bushy growth from the base of the plant.

Check Firmness of Soil

Check Firmness of Soil

Photo by: DK - Garden Design © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Garden Design, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

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