Hedging Yourself In

Did you know that the word garden actually comes from the word yard, meaning to fence off or enclose a space?

There’s something about creating an enclosed area alongside your house that makes us feel safe and secure, even though we are unlikely to have a wild animal intruder!  What’s far more likely is you need protection from peering eyes, or you may need to screen an ugly building, or perhaps you just want to create a shrubby screen that will encourage wildlife INTO your garden!

So what are good plants to use?  How many plants do I need per metre and how often do I need to prune them?  Here are our top three tips to choosing you perfect living fence.

  1. Internodal distance: this is the space between each leaf node, in other words, how long is the stem between you leaves. Tighter, bunchier growth looks better when hedged as the plants tend to grow thicker and bushier.  g. Japanese box.
  2. Leaf size: smaller leafed plants can be easier to prune, and large leafed plants can look a bit torn and damaged if clipped with shears. This is why a plant like Murraya if often preferable to something like Viburnum, but both can look great as long as the lateris trimmed with secateurs to reduce damage.
  3. Spacing requirements: this depends on the speed of which you’re requiring your hedge, and the ultimate height of the plant. A good rule of thumb is 3:1. If you want a 3m tall hedge, plant 1m apart, for a 2m hedge plant 60cm apart and so on.   Of course, you can plant closer, but bear in mind you will be trimming more often.


Prepare for your planting ahead of time if possible.  Dig a trench about 20cm deep and fill it with water so that the sub soil is nice and hydrated.  Back fill the trench with a mixture of your garden soil and some rotted organic matter like compost or manure.  Add water crystals to the base of each plant as you firm them into their new spots, and mulch well when they are all watered in.


Some great hedges that we stock at Eden Gardens include:


Pittosporum ‘Golf Ball’

Murraya ‘Min-a-Min’



Westringia ‘Blue Gem’

Correa alba




2m – 3m

Radermachera ‘Summerscent’

Camellia sasanqua

Viburnum odoratissimum



Acmenasmithii ‘Minor’



5m and above

Pittosporum ‘James Stirling’


Syzygiumleuhmanii and australe

Waterhousia floribunda


Callistemon ‘Hannah Ray’