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Plants: Hedges and Screens

Plants: Hedges and Screens

Hedges and Screens are used in the landscape to create a formal attitude to the garden or landscape and often define lines and spaces. A hedge or hedgerow is a line of closely spaced shrubs and tree species, planted and trained in such a way as to form a barrier or to mark the boundary of an area.


Hedges used to separate a road from adjoining fields or from different properties, and of sufficient age to incorporate larger trees, such as European Hornbeam, are known as hedgerows. It is also a simple form of topiary since it is pruned and maintained at a certain height of desire. Also hedges which are lower than three feet are commonly referred to as borders.




A Screen is made in the landscape to deter sound, create privacy, or simply give you the border you require. A screen is often made up of plants which are evergreen or deciduous and will vary in size depending on the shrub or tree.


In Massachusetts, a common screen often consists of the evergreen called Arborvitae used to deter neighbors from viewing a patio or pool though not restricting to those types of areas.


Some screens can be used in a smaller application than a tall evergreen like Arborvitae which grows to typically twenty-five feet tall. A smaller application could be the use of privet as a screen which reaches to eight to twelve feet in height.


Both of these examples are screens because they can be easily sheared to maintain the height of your desire. A screen is anything you want of the border, but typically it is pruned less and not as “cookie cutter” as a hedge would be.


Hedges and screens both result in the same final product: a border for your landscape. It is important to remember how tall a plant grows to, whether you desire more than just foliage for the hedge or screen, growth conditions for the plant, and your reason to create a living wall. 


The following are varieties of trees and shrubs that can be used as either hedges or screens:

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