In a world of increased industrial activity and an overabundance of manufactured beauty, people are becoming more and more interested in the natural world. It is only natural then, that when considering how to divide their property from others; consumers are skipping past the chain link fencing and going directly to the garden center.
The idea of using trees and shrubs as enclosures or to mark off space is not a new one. Hedges were used in 16th century Italian gardens to make avenues for travel within the garden, and hedgerows, which are simply lines of bushes or trees of the same species planted close enough for their limbs to intertwine, have been in use in England for more than seven hundred years.
Hedges used as an alternative to fencing fulfill many more purposes than simply serving as a property line. They can keep wind and erosion to a minimum, cut out noise from traffic, and helps keep the neighborhood kids from running through your newly laid grass. Hedges also help to restore native plant life, which may have been dwindling because of construction and development. Also, as a natural habitat for all manner of insects, you will hear more songbirds early in the morning as they catch breakfast. Financially speaking, a hedge fence is usually less expensive than chain-link, will not rust and break, and rarely needs replacing.
If you have made the decision to use hedges as an alternative to traditional fencing, there are a few things to keep in mind before you go in search of shrubs to plant. First, confirm in your mind that you will have the time to work with the hedges after work or on the weekends. Newly planted flowers or shrubs of any kind need a lot of initial attention so that they can spread their roots and settle into their new homes. You may have to water them more often and perform a lot of routine maintenance, such as weeding out invading species and pruning those plants that are not growing well. Just remember that the time you put into your hedge fence initially will come back to you in the way of a healthy and attractive landscape down the road.
Once you are sure that you can provide the time and energy needed to establish your hedge fence, you will have to do a bit of research to determine what your native plants and shrubs are. You certainly do not want to plant any kind of shrub that will not survive the local climate. Native plants, those that are found growing wild in your area, are best to use as a foundation to your hedge fence because they have already proven themselves, they are sturdy and well-suited to the soil. Check with your local nursery to find an appropriate foundation species if you are unsure of the native plants in your area.
Finally, the time has come to plant your hedges for your fence. It is at this time that you will want to remember the advantages of the fencing you have chosen rather than the work you will have to do to put the fence together. A little bit of planning now can save a headache later. Consider the final, mature size of the shrub or hedge that you are planting, not how close you can get them right now, and plant extra shrubs or flowers along the front or in between the row of foundation hedges, not in place of them. Replacing a section of a hedge fence because of disease is one thing; having to buy a hedge to replace a plant that dooes not belong in the fence to begin with is quite another. More than likely you will never have to deal with replanting or replacing once the fence is established and growing well.
Hedges serve as a wonderful alternative to traditional metal or wood fencing, because they increase the aesthetic value of your home in addition to inviting natural beauty into your neighborhood. As the world begins to slow down and realize the importance of preserving nature, hedge fences will overrun all of those old, rusty remnants of the industrial age and reveal the gentle potential of the future.