5 hedges with a difference
This living fence uses willow rods for the structure, then in winter the bendy new growth can be woven in place. Foliage in summer gives the feel of a hedge, while in winter those bare stems appear more fence-like.
Go for bold summer colour with this mixed hibiscus hedge (available from Bakker and others). Hardy in most parts of the country, it does require freedraining soil and full sun. It’s deciduous, so best used as a divider within the garden.
For year-round structure without the rigid lines of traditional topiary, try cloud pruning – a Japanese method of trimming evergreens into loose, cloud-like shapes. The idea is to prune to mimic distant hills and trees, and to help connect your garden to its surroundings.
A combination of hedging plants creates a tapestry of greens, punctuated with shots of coloured foliage. Hedging specialists will supply a mix –hornbeam, purple beech, field maple and golden privet are particularly effective.
Pleaching creates trees with a straight, bare stem below a narrow framework of branches that are trained onto canes. The result works like a hedge on stilts, and can be a great way to screen out an ugly view. For advice on pleaching see rhs.org.uk.