Choosing a Hedge

A Guide to What Hedge is Best

To help our gardeners (and non-gardeners) decide on the type of hedging that is best suited for their landscape situation we have put together this descriptive list of the best and most popular plants for this purpose. Many other plants can be used as hedging, your imagination and experience can expand this guide! We grow and stock most on this list and during our sales events there are special pricing considerations on single and volume purchases of hedging plants. We invite your inquiries anytime you are planning a screening or barrier effect for your landscape job. For further advice look at our Planting Hedging page.

EVERGREEN HEDGING (needled conifers)

Leylandii Cypress

  • Foliage is a blue-green colour.
  • Very fast growing evergreens. These shrubs often grow 3 feet per year!
  • Good for where you need extra height and width to screen out other buildings or highway noise.
  • Plant 3 feet apart for hedge and 5 feet apart for natural effect.
  • Deer resistant once established.

Thuja Smaragd (Emerald Green Cedar)

  • This is probably the most popular hedging item for urban coastal B.C. because it is ideal for small gardens.
  • Low maintenance, nice bright green colour during all seasons. 
  • Plant 2 to 2 1/2  feet apart for hedge.  Use where ever you need a slender hedge from 5 feet to 12 feet in height. 
  • It’s very shallow root system must not be allowed to dry out during the dry summer months.

Thuja Pyramidalis (Pyramid Cedar)

  • One of the best hedges for seaside plantings.  It can stand salt spray and survive. 
  • The hedge turns to a bronze-green in winter and back to a vivid green for the Spring, Summer and Fall.
  • Plant 2 1/2 feet apart.  Good for hedging from 5 feet to 12 feet in height. 

Thuja Plicata (Western Red Cedar)

  • One of the fastest growing evergreens.
  • Plant 3 feet apart. Trim and maintain for hedges from 6 feet to 15 feet in height. 
  • Deer Resistant once established.

Juniperus scopulorum (Rocky Mountain Juniper)

  • Upright and dense after pruning.
  • Foliage can be dark green or blue-green.
  • Plant 2 1/2 feet apart for hedge. Makes good looking hedge from 5 feet to 12 feet in height.
  • Must have sun. Drought resistant once established
  • Deer resistant once established. 

Pseudotsuga Menziesii (Douglas Fir)

  • Often used on large properties where more natural screening is necessary.
  • Plant double staggered rows for best results, 5 feet apart and 2 feet the other way.  Once trimmed for 3 to 4 years, they make a dense barrier that deer will not penetrate. There is a fair amount of maintenance after a few years. (i.e. heavy pruning.
  • This hedge will make a height from 8 to 25 feet. 

Tsuga (Eastern Hemlock)

  • This is used where you want to keep the hedge a little less formal.  It has a nice graceful, weeping, soft effect.
  • Plant at 3 feet, 4 feet, or 5 feet spacing depending on how fast you want it to thicken together.
  • Full sun to part shade with ample moisture in the summer months is required.

Taxus (Yew)

  • Rich green or golden needles are flat and shiny with a fine feathery texture. 
  • Valued for long life, ability to be sheared and shaped, and tolerant of  dense shade to full sun.
  • More expensive, but worth it in the end for the classy appearance and low maintenance.
  • Slow rate of growth, compact habit. Easily maintains a nice, clean, boxy look.
  • Plant 2 feet apart for sheared hedge of 4 to 6 feet.
  • Poisonous leaves and berries. (Male plants must be present for females to produce berries)
  • Deer Resistant once established. (see above)


Prunus (English Laurel)

  • Bright, shiny, large, green leaves.
  • Makes a thick hedge from 6 feet to 12 feet high.  Plant 2 feet to 2 1/2 feet apart for best results.
  • Prune back early spring if any die back occurs.  English laurel recovers quickly from sever pruning.
  • Can be used in shade or sun.
  • Other laurels such as Portuguese laurel (colourful stems) and “Otto Luykens” (compact growth habit, smaller leaves) are also great hedging plants.
  • All are deer resistant once established.a

Photinia fraseri

  • Green, shiny foliage but the new growth is all bright red.  This happens four to five times in the growing season with two hard sheerings.
  • Plant 30 inches apart and shear side growth right away.  The height and spread can be maintained at 5 feet tall by 4 feet wide.
  • Tolerates sun or partial sun.
  • Prone to leaf spot during rainy springs—shear off damaged leaves and discard in garbage.  New growth is clear of spots when dry weather arrives.

Ceanothus “Victoria” (California Lilac)

  • Dainty, shiny, dark evergreen leaves with little balls of blue flowers in spring and summer.
  • Plant in semi-shade or full sun.  Drought tolerant once established.
  • Good for seaside plantings as it will tolerate salt spray.
  • Plant 2 feet to 2 1/2 feet apart.  Prune to maintain a height of 5 feet by 3 feet. 
  • This cultivar was discovered on the Malahat mountain on Vancouver Island. 
  • Deer resistant once established.

Escallonia “Pink Princess”

  • Excellent seaside hedge.  Lush, evergreen, shiny leaves with showy pink flowers all summer.
  • Plant 24 inches apart in sun or partial shade.  Fast growing hedge 4 to 6 feet in height.
  • May suffer some winter die-back in severe windy locations but recovers quickly.
  • Another Escallonia cultivar “Newport Dwarf” grows maximum 3 feet tall.

Buxus “Winter Gem” and “Green Beauty” (Boxwood)

  • Best dwarf hedge for edge of driveway or for formal edging of rose gardens. 
  • Plant 12 inches apart.  Growth is easily maintained at 12  to 24 inches in height. 
  • Does well in sunny to shady locations and is drought tolerant once established.
  • Deer resistant once established.  Add lime to the soil yearly for healthy green foliage.

Viburnum tinus

  • Evergreen leaves with reddish twigs have a rosy glow.  Long flowering season of pinkish white flowers followed by interesting metallic blue berries.
  • Plant 2 feet apart  for sheared or shaped hedge.
  • The dwarf cultivar “Spring Bouquet” is a more compact form.
  • Sun to part shade locations are best.