THE BLOG
11/02/2015 10:15 GMT | Updated 13/04/2015 06:59 BST

How to Choose the Right Hedge for an Urban Garden

Hedges are an attractive addition to an urban garden, providing privacy, shelter and an environmentally-friendly home for local wildlife.

But what happens when a hedge outgrows its welcome? If a hedge reduces light into a garden, there is no automatic 'Right to Light' rule applied. The redress for hedging issues is through the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003, which has a specific clause covering high hedging - defined as a line of two or more evergreen or semi evergreen trees or bushes over 2m tall. But you're expected to have taken reasonable steps to resolve any issues before you involve the law and there are costs incurred if you do resort to the local Council to arbitrate plus there's always the risk that you don't succeed!

So to help prevent your bushy boundary from causing a problem, as part of Best4hedging's February #lovethyneighbour campaign, I reveal our top tips on choosing and planting the best hedging for modern urban gardens that will keep people happy on both sides of the fence.

Love Leylandii? Choose the best hedging not just for your space but your surroundings. Many common hedging disputes are simply caused because fast growing plants have been used, which although give quick results, quickly get out of hand. Choose slower growing or average growth hedging varieties that still give privacy such as Cherry Laurel, Portuguese Laurel, Western Red Cedar or Photinia.

A bushy burden: Don't be fooled into thinking that your new hedge can just be left to grow. All hedges need to be maintained, some more regularly than others if they're prolific growers. Leylandii is a common culprit of disputes because although it's an inexpensive choice and a fast grower, it needs frequent and heavy trimming to keep it under control. If you don't think you'll be able to prune your Privet as much as you'd need to, select your species with care.

Plant positioning: Plant well within your boundary lines. This way, as your hedge grows, it won't spread into your neighbouring gardens and means you can easily access it to maintain it. Plant your hedging plants close together, this will help to restrict the spread of your finished hedge.

Instant results: Why not choose an instant hedge? Carefully grown and pruned to shape, they are ready to plant and average-growth, giving your garden a head start and a feature that usually takes up to five years to achieve. With solid and established root systems, you'll have a people-pleasing show-standard garden in no time. Popular choices include Beech, Hornbeam and Yew.

Expert Advice: Don't just pick any hedge plant because the price is right. Always get expert advice. Ask about the characteristics of the plants - how high will they ultimately reach? What's the annual growth rate? How much maintenance is needed? By getting accurate advice, you can choose the perfect hedge that will cultivate your neighbourhood friendships instead of planting the seeds of a future dispute. If you need any advice, then the 'Help Me Choose' feature on Best4hedging should help.