Posted: 06/11/2015 at 10:13
I love common laurel. People bemoan it, because once it takes off, it's very fast growing, and cutting it will be akin to painting the forth bridge. I've a friend with a large plot, who surrounded his plot with young saplings, and it has served him well. But he does struggle to keep on top of it. The leaves are poisonous, so you need to have space to dump the clippings or take care them to the tip with all your windows open. Other than that he's got nothing but good words for it. No mention of wasps.
I personally find single species hedges can be a little boring. You can make a very interesting evergreen hedge with a mixture of shrubs. If you don't care so much about year round privacy, why not plant a traditional hedge row, with some roses?
Laurel alternatives could be Myrtle, Griselinia, Escallonia and/or Viburnums. And those mentioned above are good choices.
If you do hard prune, they look horrible for a short time. but they should bounce back. I've planted a few laurel because I have a fondness for them. Especially as specimens. But I could well regret planting them later.
Check some of the online hedging sites for inspiration, there are so many exciting alternatives that I'd find it hard to choose!
I've a lonicera nitida hedge. Poor man's box/yew. And I find that impressive, but I've tired of it. I'd rather a shrub mix. The brighter baggeson's gold version is nice.