Thoughts on an informal hedge

ritmatt(GA 7b)March 15, 2013

A previous owner planted 8 Green Giant Arborvitaes between my house and the one next door, apparently in an attempt to create a very dense screen. I like the idea of a dense screen, but I couldn't live with the idea that we'd someday have a 30-60' tall wall of Arborvitaes on the South side of our house. They would be way too big, in my opinion. So, yesterday, I had them removed and they will live happily on in my friend's 3 acre yard down the street.

Now, I'd like to figure out what to put in next. I'd prefer a dense hedge of 8-15' tall shrubs/trees, but there's room to grow taller if necessary. I think I'd like something rather informal looking (translation: I'd like a variety of species, not just a wall of a single species). The area is about 80' wide and 10' deep with part sun in the summer. Well drained.

I have a couple of Nellie R Stevens Hollies that are already in place. I was thinking of mixing in some tea olives, a couple Little Gem Magnolias, and perhaps a few more Nellie R's. Maybe even a dwarf conifer or two. There are mature maples, oaks, and pines, plus a number of dogwoods, Brackens Brown magnolias, deodar cedars, yoshino cryptomerias, and lots more Nellie R hollies already growing in the yard.

Any thoughts on how my mixed hedge might look? I can't find any pictures of hedges with this mix of trees and shrubs. Will my selections look good together? Think I'll achieve a dense screen that way? I'm open to suggestions.

I'll post a photo of the area when it gets light enough outside to take a picture.

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"Will my selections look good together?" To each his own, but in my opinion, it will look disheveled. I could see a couple of species if you're doing a hedge that has "bookends" ... or changing species as you correlate to what's around the hedge. Other than that, the idea does not sound near as good as what I think other, more conventional schemes would be. You might prove me wrong, but I doubt it. You don't say anything about how the hedge would be maintained, but I presume you'd let it grow untrimmed.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 8:15AM
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ritmatt(GA 7b)

Here are a couple pictures of the area to be planted, extending from the left/East end of the fence down to a spot 10 or 20 feet behind my neighbor's truck (the truck is one of the things I'm trying to hide - he usually parks it immediately on the other side of the fence, near where the big rock is temporarily resting).

This is the view from my garage door.

Thanks for looking.


    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 8:38AM
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carol6ma_7ari(zones 6 & 7a)

I love the idea of an informal hedge-y screen! Between my neighbor and me there are now 1 Nellie Stevens holly, 1 juniper, an acer rubrum (red maple) with about 6 mophead and lacecap hydrangeas under it, and 1 or 2 other evergreen large bushes about 10 ft. tall. It works very well as a screen because there's some overlap visually. Sometimes the even regularity of a line of the same bush is too stiff, too formal and rather unfriendly in the countryside. If you have enough depth along that strip, my opinion is to mix the shrubs.


    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 9:25AM
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Here's a scheme that uses 3 species ... most of it solid screening, and the raised canopies more open ..."filtered."

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 10:00AM
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ritmatt(GA 7b)

What a wonderful way to visualize it, Yardvaark. Thank you!

Carol, I have given a little bit of thought to the layered approach, also. I'm not sure if I have enough depth to do it well, but it's a good idea. I may play round with my paint program a bit to see what it looks like, now that Yardvaark has shown an easy way to do it.

Still open to more suggestions. Keep the ideas coming!

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 10:09AM
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I would put some rhododendron shrubs along there. They are pretty all year round and are spectacular when in bloom. Stick some taller colorful fall trees in between. A honeysuckle tree is a hummingbird magnet :)

This post was edited by sasafras on Fri, Mar 15, 13 at 22:57

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 10:54PM
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cyn427(z7aN. VA)

Rhododendron may not be happy in Georgia. A substitute might be Camellias. I like the idea of an informal hedge, too, and you can give the illusion of depth by staggering your plantings with some more forward toward the drive and others closer to the fence rather than in a straight row. Of course, I am not a pro, so take my thoughts with a grain of salt.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 6:53PM
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rosiew(8 GA)

C. japonica would give winter interest. And my very favorite is wax myrtle, a GA native plant. Fast grower. Don't know where you are. I got mine at Woody's in Norcross, GA. Put in a smallish area, staggered planting of four, to provide privacy when SR20 is widened near me.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 7:26PM
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fyi regarding rhody. In GA the Rhododendron canescens is a native :)

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 10:02PM
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I'm lucky no one castigated me about the backwards arrangement of my Nellies. I fixed the drawing but forgot to commit the fix to "save" before uploading. It should have looked like this instead.

Rhody's and Camellias are very happy in many places in Georgia.

The "layered" approach is not a good idea. If we're talking about the same thing, it's an inferior result to any other plausible solution. (If that causes anyone to squeal in pain and claim otherwise, I hope they will show a good example of layering to bolster their argument.)

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 11:04PM
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ritmatt(GA 7b)

Thank you everyone for your ideas and input. I'm going to let this simmer a bit while I think it through.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 9:59PM
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Edibles are always nice. If you could live with 8-10 feet rabbiteye blueberrries is a posibility.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 12:55PM
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