And, now that we have a blank slate to work with, we're ready to create a landscape that involves more than just grass. First on the priority list is a hedge row. While we truly adore our neighbors nextdoor, we both need a little privacy. So, we would like to plant a modest wall of planted shrubs along the fence line. Nothing crazy, but something dense and manicured, that will give us a nice green border, and them some charming privacy. It also had to be evergreen-- we don't want the hedges shedding their leaves every winter. Once the hedge is grown and manicured, we'd keep it about 8 to 10 feet tall.
When we started researching hedges, we immediately thought of boxwood.
Martha Stewart's endless boxwood driveway
perfectly manicured mature boxwood hedges
However, we quickly realized that this will NEVER be a feasible option for us. Boxwood grow only a couple of inches per year(!!!) and we hoped for a hedge wall that reached 8 feet someday soon. Also, the cost of one 4' boxwood runs in the hundreds of dollars. Since we need about thirty plants, the cost would have been astronomical. So, we quickly crossed it off the list.
From there, we went the other direction and looked into basic, cheap, fast-growing, dense shrubs. This involved researching the varieties of Arbortivae and Leyland cypress. Both are great trees for a hedge wall. But, we're not in love with the foliage (it's a lovely evergreen, but can get mangled and messy if not properly cared for). Also, they need a lot of maintenance if you want a create a manicured wall. These trees have the ability to grow up to 50 feet(!!!), so we would need to keep them in check. This would involve heavy pruning twice a year, and Dave on a ladder with a hedge trimmer. :)
Leyland Cypress hedge wall, perfectly manicured.
Just before we were ready to commit to the Leyland Cypress, we did a bit more research and came across the Nellie Stevens Holly. Let the heavens rejoice. This seems like the perfect plant for us. This evergreen hybrid grows about 2 feet per year, it's perfect for privacy screens, and it thrives on neglect. Also, from an aesthetics perpective, it produces the most beautiful dark green, tiny waxy leaves (I love!!) and during Christmastime, we'll have bright red berries. Yes, yes, and yes, please. Also, it's cheap. Sign us up.
Nellie Stevens Holly
Nellie Stevens Holly
We'll need to plant these babies in April. Until then, I would love to hear from some of you. Do you have experience with any of these plants? Have you ever planted something that ended up growing differently than you expected? Please share!