A well-maintained evergreen hedge has various uses in the garden. It can serve as a boundary, it can help to block out noise and unwanted views and, of course, it makes an attractive feature in its own right.
Evergreen hedging also provides year-round shelter for garden wildlife, such as birds, which is especially important in winter months. Some evergreens also provide flowers and berries, serving as a food source for birds, pollinators and other wildlife.
More on growing hedges:
Discover some of the best evergreen hedging plants to grow.
More like this
If you're after an informal, flowering hedge, California lilac (Ceanothus) is a lovely choice. It's best planted in a sheltered, sunny position. Prune it lightly after flowering - as with any hedge pruning, you should wait until any nesting birds have departed before you cut.
Portuguese laurel, Prunus lusitanica, has lustrous green leaves that curve away from maroon-coloured stems. It's exceptionally easy to grow and can be cut back hard if needed. Otherwise, prune from late summer to autumn to produce a dense hedge.
A seldom used but lovely choice for a short, informal hedge, hedge germander (Teucrium x lucidrys) is an aromatic, Mediterranean plant that enjoys the same growing conditions as lavender – full sun with good drainage. Clip it back after flowering.
If you're after a brighter hedge, Griselinia littoralis is a good choice, with rounded, apple green foliage. Annual trimming in late summer will help to produce a dense, leafy hedge. Best suited to a sunny, sheltered spot. Griselinia is tolerant of salt winds, so ideally suited to a coastal spot.
Box, Buxus sempervirens, is undoubtedly the classic evergreen hedging plant, and for good reason. It has small, rich green leaves and can be clipped into crisp, elegant hedges. Be vigilant for signs of box blight and box tree caterpillar, though, as they can result in the death or defoliation of your box plants. If either of these are a problem in your garden, Ilex crenata and Lonicera nitida are good alternatives.
Lots of holly types can be used for hedging, and they're especially good if you're after a thorny, impenetrable barrier to would-be thieves. UK native Ilex aquifolium and its cultivars are classic choices, but you could also go for box-leaved holly, Ilex crenata or Ilex x koehneana. Pruning can be carried out in May and again in September.
Eventually growing to become a majestic evergreen tree, holm oak (Quercus ilex) can be also be grown as an attractive, wind-resistant hedge. Pruning in late summer will encourage fresh, silver-coloured leaves and keep it neat and dense.
This revered evergreen conifer makes a fantastic hedge plant. The finely divided foliage can be clipped to form the densest of hedges. It's relatively slow-growing too, so is ideal for a low-maintenance garden. Prune in late summer or early autumn.
Many pittosporums make lovely, evergreen hedges, whether it's Pittosporum tobira for its deliciously scented flowers, 'Tom Thumb' for its purple foliage or 'Irene Paterson' for its silvery leaves. Trim them into shape in late summer or autumn.