Hedges can serve many purposes in a garden, so some consideration is required before you begin, to achieve beautiful and successful results.
Wind or sound-break - Large, dense trees or shrubs, tolerant of strong winds may be needed here. Quick growing may also be an important feature.
Garden Rooms - The chosen plant species will probably have to respond well to being clipped, thus have a smaller leaf. Dense foliage from the base of the plant to the top is also preferable.
Screening or boundaries - Fast growing is the primary requirement of a plant for this. Determining whether the hedge is to create an impenetrable screen or a token wall, is important.
Suitability of location
It is a good idea to have a look for similar types of hedge in the neighbourhood to see what plants grow well in your locality. This is not just a question of soil type - rainfall, drainage and exposure to the elements are all significant factors. Remember that even if it’s a native species and not growing in your area, then there is probably a good reason!
Soil can always be improved and irrigation installed, however time available for maintaining the hedge, must be considered.
Formal - Is the hedge going to be formal and need to be clipped regularly? If so, an obsessive need for perfection is a great attribute to have and of course great pair of shears, string line and sometimes even a line level is essential.
Informal - Look for shrubs that naturally have a dense habit and won’t become leggy with little or no maintenance.
Size - Assuming that not all plants are going to be kept under control, determine the eventual size of the species, in case the time for maintenance changes!
Roots - Investigate the potential for the roots of the plants to become invasive, as that may interfere with pipe work. Figs are a known perpetrator.
Japanese Box – Buxus microphllya ‘Japonica’
This is a great plant for separating smaller areas as they only grow to 1m in height. They are also very slow-growing, taking up to ten years to achieve that height. The smaller leaf lends itself to creating an elegant, formal hedge. $18 - 200mm pot
Sweet Viburnum – Viburnum odoratissimum
This is an easily grown species that is successful in full sun to part shade, growing up to 5m if not maintained. It has lovely white flowers in spring. Plant 1m apart. $18 – 200mm pot
Lily Pily - Syzygium australe
This native is a large, dense, evergreen shrub with glossy green leaves and red to copper-brown new growth. It has profuse, cream flowers in summer – autumn, followed by clusters of edible, pink, purple to red coloured fruit. Plant this 1m apart. $18 – 200mm pot
Dwarf Lily Pily - Acmena smithii ‘Minor’
This native is perfect for screening/hedging plant due to its small dense foliage. Flowering and fruiting are simililar to the Syzygiums, however it is resistant to psyllids, an pest that damages the leaf, which is common in lily pilies. $18 – 200mm pot
Orange Jasmine - Murraya paniculata
This is a fast-growing, reliable hedge, growing to 1m in 2 years. It dark-green, glossy foliage is a beautiful contrast to the profuse clusters of white flowers in spring-summer. As the name suggests, it smells like Jasmine! $18 – 200mm pot