Need a plan for a 130ft hedge!

GretchenTX(Cold to 7b Heat to 9)March 31, 2014

Hello all,

I've been lurking around for a while now and decided to jump in with a plea for help!!! I'm sort of a newb when it comes to landscape and plants in general so I need all the help I can get!!!

I would like to plant a privacy hedge along the back of my property. (Picture attached) It's 130 feet of chain link. I initially thought of going with one long row of the same thing. I thought about a row of TX Sage but even though they are supposed to be evergreen - I have one in my front flower bed that is for sure NOT green!!! Then thought maybe a row of Pampas Grass since it is supposedly so easy. A row of wax myrtle or holly seems fine - just kind of boring. However, the longer I look around here - the more a mixed hedge appeals to me... only I have no CLUE how to design it or make it look right!

I need low maintenance, drought resistant plants... that can also take the cold. We are just west of Fort Worth and this year's winter was a hard one! And I'm not the type to be out in the yard a lot tending to plants so they need to be very easy going and forgiving!

I don't care for red-tip photinas and that seems to be what everyone I talk to recommends!! I would love some flowering shrubs but don't feel confident in mixing and matching without a plan... afraid I might make it all look silly!

Plant size/width doesn't really matter because I think I have plenty of room to work with. It's at least 170 feet away from the house. The site gets full sun too... if that helps!

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Would you want to plant something tall enough to screen the house? ... about 12' ht.? Photinia is a completely different animal as an untrimmed blooming hedge than when it is trimmed. What is it about a mixed hedge that appeals?

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 5:12PM
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I found this article from Hill Country Natives that has good info about planning as well as suggestions for Texas friendly plants. I think it will look gorgeous to have a mixed hedge in your spot!

Here is a link that might be useful: Hedges in Texas

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 8:40PM
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I always vote for mixed shrub / tree border. It is more interesting, more natural, bird-friendly, and if a disease or freeze hits, often it will not take out the entire hedge. When you have trouble deciding on a plant, you will have a few choices. Don't do too many, but 3 or 4 plants repeating.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 10:09PM
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GretchenTX(Cold to 7b Heat to 9)

Thanks for the replies!

Louisianagal stated all the reasons I'm leaning towards a mixed hedge. I also like the idea of being to have different blooming things throughout the year... and interesting textures instead of the same thing all the way across.

BTW Louisianagal - I'm a Louisiana gal myself :-) grew up in Baton Rouge! If I still lived there I would probably just plant a huge row of azaleas and be done with it!!!

As for why I don't like Photinia -- I just don't care for the red leaves. I don't know why. I like red blooming things - just not leaves??? Plus I was thinking if I wanted to mix in softer colors like pinks it would clash?

So how do I make this all happen?

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 8:58AM
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GretchenTX(Cold to 7b Heat to 9)

As for height - I'm thinking taller things in front of that shed and pool - then lower things around it - and back to higher things in front of their playhouse? I know mixed hedges aren't supposed to look "perfect" so I'm thinking the varied heights and not being perfectly symmetrical will add interest? Or would it look stupid?

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 9:01AM
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Well, Gretchen, I hope you have adapted to the "north" better than I have. I am still having a very hard time not being on the coast (I'm in Tupelo MS), as far as missing the Gulf and hating the much colder temps. Not to mention missing the Cajun food and seafood!
To your dilemma, I just tried to google some sites for mixed shrub border in Texas, but I didn't find a great one. You might be more successful finding a library book or some good gardening book at your local bookstore of home improvement store. I love the Southern Living books. But I used the library a lot when I first moved here which was 2 zones away and I needed to learn the plantings here. I think one of the best things is to find a local nursery/garden center, run by a local family if you can. They can be a bit higher priced, but overall they will usually help you a lot with picking out what would work in your project. I try to give them my business when I can afford. Lots of time the quality of the plants is better. You would have to lay out the plants in a grouping and see how you like them. Allow for mature growth of course. You can even buy some from the private nursery and some from the big box stores, allowing for a realistic budget. Don't go crazy with 50 different plants, but 5 or 6 varieties, in groups of 3 maybe, and repeating as you go left to right. I like Little Gem magnolia, mine is staying pretty small though. I have a Carolina sapphire evergreen that is getting big fast, and I had to prune it which wasn't easy, but if in the very back of the yard could fill in very quickly on both sides. Hollies are great, Lorapetalum (there is a purplish with pink flowers, and a greenish with white flowers), I love roses, you can stick some in there, nandina are very easy plants but can sprout up in clumps which might not be a problem for a big area in back. I love cleyera too. I love abelia, mine are very low maintenance, different colors and variegations. It will be ok in the end it will look so much better than what you see now! You will have birds nesting, etc. Don't crowd the plants together, nor place them too close to the chain link. You might even leave 3 ft back there to walk behind, I do that in my back shrub border, and I mulch with shredded paper! No one sees it and I can go back there to prune or plant or whatever. Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 10:04AM
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I don't think you want so much a hedge as you want more of a flower bed with some depth and a mix of plants where the taller ones are in the back and evergreen along with shorter ones in the fronts and a mix of evergreen bushes and flowering ones as well as other flowers. I'd also mix in some taller non-evergreen smaller trees that will add interest as well. I like crepe myrtles because they generally look interesting even naked.

I'm thinking you could use all the ones you mentioned in your post in groupings and make sure you have them placed based on what you want to screen in that particular area.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 10:47AM
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So you do not intend to screen the house? ... just those other structures?

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 5:19PM
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babera(5a (Montana))

Have you considered adding a storage shed? They can be cute and dressed up. Not the boring tin, cheap looking ones from the past. I added one to the end of my yard to do the same thing. . . block the view. I'm so glad I did. When I was planning what to plant there I couldn't see a vision, all I could picture was a jungle looking eye sore. . . there is still a nice area of planted trees shrubs ever greens etc, but the building adds more interest. . .

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 9:45PM
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