Posted: 22/08/2013 at 11:55
In my experience laurel is a thug and the more it's pruned to size the more it wants to grow outsize. It's also very dark and dull, especially on grey days.
Those box plants will provide a decent hedge in three years if you remove the grass and feed them as suggested above. Box is also easy to maintain and trim whereas laurel looks a mes sif done with power trimmers as its larger leave sget shredded and turn brown at the edge.
To encourage fatser growth, you can give them a good thick mulch of well rotted garden comost (or bought) this autumn and then feed them pelleted chicken manure or blood fish and bone next spring and give them a liquid tonic of seaweed too. trim the fornt and back sides of the box but not the tops or facing sides around Derby day to encorage vertical and lateral growth to fill up the hedge.
Photinia would be a good alternative if you're really impatient but you'll need to wait till autumn to plant new shrubs and will have to do a lot of work to improve the soil to give them a good start as a hedge is a long term investment in future growth. It will also cost a fair few quid to buy enough to replace all that box but, if you're clever, you could save the box by digging it all up carefully - in autumn and after a good watering - and potting them then selling them on E-bay or via a local gardening club.