Plant an Informal Hedge

A mix of shrubs that provide cover and food for wildlife is easy to take care and provides decades of beauty.

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Mixed Species Hedge DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

If you prefer a relaxed, rustic style of garden, opt for a hedge that contains a mix of species. This style of hedge is good for wildlife, as it provides food and somewhere to live. It's also relatively easy to look after, needing just one trim per year in late summer.

When to Start: Fall
At Its Best: All year round
Time to Complete: 3 hours, or more for long hedges

Materials Needed:

  • hedging plants (blackthorn, dog rose, hawthorn, hazel, holly)
  • shovel
  • garden fork
  • string and pegs (or stakes)
  • well-composted organic matter

Prepare the Site

Hedges are permanent structures, and fare best in well-prepared soil. Dig over the area, removing all weeds, especially the roots of perennials. Fork in some organic matter deep into the soil to improve its structure.

Well Prepared Soil for HedgesEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Compress Soil

Use your weight to compress the soil, shuffling slowly over the entire area. Then repeat this at right angles. If planted immediately after it has been dug over, the soil will settle and plants will not be anchored properly.

Compressing SoilEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Mark Guide Lines

For a deep hedge, set out two lines of string, held taut by stakes or pegs, 14 to 16 inches apart. These form the planting guides for your two rows of plants. For a narrower hedge, you will need just one line of plants.

Use String to Guide Hedge GrowthEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited
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Excerpted from How to Grow Practically Everything

© 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

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