Green Walls and Hedges
Making hedges work starts with well thought out design.
I love hedges; they are the bones and the backdrop of many classic garden styles and I’m prepared to go out on a limb and say that hedges will never go out of fashion.
What is a bit old fashioned is the word hedge. I think we should spice it up and tell it how it is. A hedge is a Green Wall.
There is something special about a living green wall, it is not just the coolness and greenness but the way it can breath and move and change through the year.
Good green walls offer much more than masonry walls. Green walls are cooler, are much better at providing protection from the wind and have a softer texture. Hedges don’t have to be tall but if you need to and you don’t mind the clipping then a green wall can be trimmed much higher than you could ever afford to build a free standing man-made wall and without the requirement of planning or building permits.
With a well thought out orientation a Green Wall of 1.5 metres or taller can make a wonderful backdrop to other plants. With planning the shaded side of a living wall can be a deep dark green and that makes colourful plantings in the fore ground that catch the sun really stand out instead of being lost in a sea of sunshine which is the trademark of northern Victoria for nine months of the year.
Green walls can be divided into three distinct groups based around height and function.
Low miniature hedges (Green walls) are ground patterns. These can set the tone for the style of a garden, control visual movement by leading the eye and from a practical perspective stop mulch from spilling out of garden areas.
As the maintained height increases to above eye height the hedge becomes a division, something that controls views, creates shelter from the wind and heat and manipulates the light and shade.
As soon as the hedge is maintained above head height the Green Wall becomes a significant structure. This can be valuable to create a certain sense of scale and proportion, or to work with the architecture of a building or even hide one.
Making hedge work not hard work starts with well thought out design.
A key is to allow enough space around the hedge to trim easily.
Best advice is to trim regularly, plant closely together, choose a good plant and keep the hedge narrow to make the top easy to handle.
Good site specific design can keep maintenance at very achievable levels
We like to have our ground flat and level around taller hedges, this makes any work that needs steps quicker and safer. Using level changes from one side of a hedge compared to the other allows the top of a tall hedge to be clipped at standing height whilst appearing much taller from the low side.
Whatever style of garden you might be considering there may be a place for Green Walls.