Hedges are popular demarcations to protect your own garden from prying eyes or to set decorative aspects. They offer several advantages over fences and walls and can be made possible from a large number of different plant species. From arborvitae to yew trees to privet you are literally spoiled for choice. Effective hedge plant advice will help you choose the right hedge plant.

Hedge plant advice: find the right species

Over the centuries of garden design, many plant species from all over the world have established themselves as hedge plants. With these it is possible to delimit your own property and use it as wind and privacy protection. It is precisely this selection that gives many people a headache. Life trees and box trees are hedge classics, although they are not necessarily suitable for every garden. It is the same with yews. Apple rose or sea buckthorn hedges, on the other hand, have long been out of fashion, although their properties make them an interesting alternative. The selection will be made much easier as soon as you know what kind of hedge you want:

  • evergreen
  • opaque
  • deciduous
  • blooming
  • fast growing
  • as a climbing plant
  • unsuitable for children and pets

These properties offer you a clear selection of different hedge plants that can be perfectly integrated into your project. As a dog owner or parent, in particular, it is important to know which species are unsuitable so that there is no injury or even death from poisoning. For example, if you are looking for an evergreen hedge plant, please refer to the sections below for each candidate. This gives you a good overview of your suitable species, which is the aim of the hedge plant advice. Don’t be surprised: some species can be used for multiple purposes. Cherry laurel is an evergreen and at the same time opaque hedge plant.

Tip: A big advantage of all types of plants that you can use as a hedge in Germany is their tolerance to frost. Not all of them are completely winter hardy and therefore need winter protection, but they do not go into effect during the cold season and will therefore delight in the years to come.

Evergreen species

The evergreen hedge plants are the classic in the garden. Many of the species tolerate pruning, grow quite densely and can form an impenetrable wall within a few years. However, they are not always completely opaque, as demonstrated by rhododendrons, osmanthus and firethorn. These hedge plants are particularly suitable for gardens that should shine green all year round. Since they do not lose their leaves over the winter, they are a good wind protection and well suited for your own garden art. Box trees in particular have established themselves well for this. The following list gives you an overview of evergreen hedge plants:

  • Eiben (bot. Taxus)
  • Bamboo (bot. Bambusoideae)
  • Laurel cherry (bot. Prunus laurocerasus)
  • Common boxwood (bot.Buxus sempervirens)
  • European holly (bot. Ilex aquifolium)
  • Japanese holly (bot. Ilex crenata)
  • Creeping spindle (bot.Euonymus fortunei)
  • Honeysuckle (bot. Lonicera)
  • Feuerdorn (bot. Pyracantha)
  • Laurel viburnum (bot.Viburnum tinus)
  • Duftblüten (bot. Osmanthus)
  • Rhododendron (bot. Rhododendron)
  • Wintergrüne Ölweide (bot. Elaeagnus ebbingei)
  • Glanzmispel (bot. Photinia)
  • Berberitzen (bot. Berberis)
  • False cypress (bot. Chamaecyparis)

Hedges made of bamboo are becoming more and more popular, as they are not only easy to care for and grow extremely quickly, but also work particularly well in Asian garden concepts. In contrast to other hedge plants, evergreen taxa require a great deal of care and often have to be pruned several times a year. However, some species such as the false cypress only need pruning once a year. However, you need to be careful that the evergreens often include species that can grow over your head or on the neighbour’s property. Medlars reach heights of up to eight meters, firethorn can hardly be tamed in its width and bamboo can reproduce incessantly without a root barrier and become a real nuisance.

Opaque hedges

Opaque hedges are very well branched and for this reason the leaves are close together and easily overlap. Many of the most popular hedge plants in Germany belong to this type and you should choose these if you want complete privacy:

  • Cherry laurel
  • Occidental tree of life (bot. Thuja occidentalis)
  • Liguster (bot. Ligustrum)
  • Eiben

Box trees are also opaque, but in most cases only 120 to 140 cm high. The variant Buxus sempervirens ‘Handsworthiensis’ reaches heights of up to four meters, but is more suitable for garden art than for a hedge.

Tip: If you want to create a maze, you should use yew, privet, boxwood, hornbeam or field maple. These have been used before and have the ideal properties for such a complex system.

Deciduous hedges

In addition to the evergreen hedges, there are numerous hedge plants that lose their leaves over winter, but inspire with intense green in summer and with different colors in autumn. Not all of these species are easy to cut and require a lot of care, such as hydrangeas, or they are very undemanding, such as snowballs. However, they all have one thing in common: The different colors of the foliage inspire. Although the leaves are thrown off before winter, there are densely branched specimens such as privet, whose shoots still ensure that no strangers get into the garden. Below is an overview:

  • Buche (bot. Fagus)
  • Field maple (bot. Acer campestre)
  • Liguster
  • Berberitzen
  • Common hawthorn (bot. Crataegus monogyna)
  • Dogwood (bot. Cornus)
  • Fingerstrauch (bot. Potentilla fruticosa)
  • Spierstrauch (bot. Spiraea vanhouttei)
  • Butterflies (bot. Buddleja)
  • Weigelie (bot. Weigelia)
  • Climbing hydrangea (bot.Hydrangea petiolaris)
  • Snowberries (bot. Symphoricarpos)
  • Honeysuckle
  • Snowballs (bot. Viburnum)

These are also popular because they don’t always grow that tall. Even the beeches, which as trees reach heights of over 30 meters, line up as a hedge at a maximum of two meters. Compared to the evergreens, which often range between two to eight meters, a good alternative if your garden is smaller and the border distance to the neighbors is therefore quite small.

Blooming specimens

When it comes to flowering hedge plants, you don’t necessarily rely on opaqueness or a green aspect in winter, but rather on blossoms from spring to autumn. You should choose these taxa if you have a particular gardening concept, such as a Mediterranean or English garden. They are easy to demarcate and, when kept as a hedge, allow an attractive shape in combination with the flowers:

  • Pfeifenstrauch (bot. Philadelphus coronarius)
  • Blutjohannisbeere (bot. Ribes sanguineum)
  • White panicle (bot.Spiraea cinerea)
  • Maiblumenstrauch (bot Deutzia scabra)
  • Forsythie (bot. Forsythia)
  • Flieder (bot. Syringa vulgaris)
  • Glanzmispel
  • Liguster
  • Perlmuttstrauch (bot. Kolkwitzia amabilis)
  • Schlehe (bot. Prunus spinosa)
  • snowballs
  • Snowforsythia (bot.Aeliophyllum distichum)
  • Rote Fasanenspiere (bot. Physocarpus opulifolius)
  • Weigelie
  • Wildrosen (bot. Rosa)
  • Winterblüte (bot. Chimonanthus praecox)
  • Wintergeißblatt (bot. Lonicera purpusii)

Fast growing species

If you don’t want to wait or if you want to demarcate your property within a short period of time, you should definitely rely on fast-growing climbing plants. These increase in height between ten and 40 centimeters per year, less often up to 60 centimeters. Proper planning in terms of border distances, other plants and canopies is important with these taxa, as these grow really quickly. You don’t want to have to remove your freshly grown hedge again. Below is an overview:

  • Evergreen barberry ‘Telstar’ (bot. Berberis frikartii ‘Telstar’)
  • Hainbuchen (bot. Carpinus)
  • Rotbuchen (Fagus)
  • Field maple
  • Liguster
  • Trees of life
  • Upright cherry laurel (bot. Prunus laurocerasus ‘Herbergii’)
  • bamboo
  • Eiben

You have to be careful with bamboo species such as Phyllostachys. These reach heights of two to five meters within a few years and definitely need a rhizome barrier. If you want to be on the safe side, choose Fargesia species, as these usually do not form runners and average heights of two to three meters. The best: after a year you can hide behind the bamboo.

Climbing hedges

A great advantage of climbing plants for the hedge is that they are dependent on a climbing or climbing aid. As a result, you will never be taller or wider than desired, which makes checking the limit distance particularly easy. There are also evergreen and deciduous, flowering and fast-growing species:

  • Ivy (bot. Hedera helix)
  • Self-climbing virgin vine (bot.Parthenocissus quinquefolia)
  • Climbing hydrangea
  • Climbing rose
  • Waldreben (bot. Clematis )
  • Evergreen goat leaf (bot. Lonicera henryi)
  • Blauregen (bot. Wisteria)

Roses and wisteria in particular are popular climbing plants for a hedge.

Tip: A very popular plant, which can only be used as a perennial hedge in the warmest areas of Germany, is the star jasmine. This can only withstand temperatures down to freezing point and is therefore ideal for wine-growing regions or the Palatinate.

Wild hedges

Wild hedges are often forgotten when giving advice on hedge plants. These are not the typical hedge plants, but plants that were used earlier in the Middle Ages or other historical periods. Why is it not used so often today? They are difficult to control in terms of their width and height. Although the plants are compatible with pruning and often easy to care for, they basically retain their original habit. This means that you often have to use more space when planting so that the hedge plants do not spread to the neighbor or onto the sidewalk. The following plants add to this:

  • Sanddorn (bot. Hippophae ramnoides)
  • Eberesche (bot. Sorbus aucuparia)
  • Black elder (bot. Sambucus nigra)
  • Haselnuss (bot. Corylus avellana)
  • Kornelkirsche (bot. Cornus mas)
  • Willows (bot. Salix)
  • Schlehe
  • Wildrosen
  • Chokeberry (bot. Chokeberry)
  • Crabapple (bot. Malus)

A great advantage about them, however, is the fact that plants such as willows are insect pastures and elderberries offer protection to birds and other animals. If you have a naturally shaped and hopefully large garden and want to expand it, these types are clearly recommended. They grow very densely and can even be combined with each other, which provides variety in the garden. In addition, they reach average heights of around two meters. If you are a fan of roses, wild hedges made from apple, potato or dog roses are perfect.

Unsuitable for children and pets

Aside from the above-mentioned aspects when choosing a hedge plant, you should definitely pay attention to the toxicity and risk of injury. Especially if you have children or pets, it is important to know which species are poisonous or have thorns and thorns that could quickly lead to serious injuries, especially in dogs. Below is an overview of the hedge plants that pose a potential hazard:

  • Yew: needles and seeds poisonous, not the seed coat
  • Boxwood: poisonous in all parts of the plant
  • Arborvitae: poisonous in all parts of the plant
  • Privet: berries and leaves poisonous
  • Barberries: poisonous in all parts except for the berries
  • Ivy: berries and leaves poisonous
  • Virgin vine: poisonous in all parts of the plant
  • Sloe: dangerous thorns
  • Roses: numerous spines
  • Firethorn: strong thorns, berries slightly poisonous
  • Hawthorn: strong thorns
  • Cherry laurel: poisonous in all parts of the plant
  • Holly: understand with prickles

While the berries and poisonous parts of the plant pose a particular danger to children, cats and rodents, dogs often injure themselves on the thorns and thorns of the hedge plants while playing. The sloe and the firethorn in particular sometimes tear deep wounds because these thorns are over two centimeters long. So it’s best to avoid the above species if you are a parent or pet owner.

Tip: Rowan berries are not listed here, as the berries are not poisonous per se, but rather inedible when raw.

Important: height

The height of the individual species is not only decisive in the selection with regard to the space available on your property. Of course, if you’re struggling with a lack of space, don’t plant thuja or loquat hedges. But that’s not even the main idea behind the stature. An important part of the hedge plant advice is the reference to the legally required hedge height. In most cases, hedges serve to limit your own property and are therefore subject to certain regulations that are regulated in neighboring German law. The corresponding dimensions depend on two values:

  • Height
  • Limit distance

The boundary distance is of course the distance between the hedge and the property boundary. Since hedges can reach gigantic proportions depending on the type, such regulations are necessary so that the neighboring property or sidewalks are not occupied by them. You will find an overview of the respective federal states and the correspondingly approved height:

1. Baden-Württemberg : In the southwest, a maximum height of 180 cm with a limit distance of 50 cm must be observed. If this height is exceeded, the limit distance is calculated as follows:

  • Growth height in cm – 130 cm = border distance in cm

This means that with a 200 cm high hedge you subtract 130 cm and thus obtain a necessary limit distance of 70 cm.

2. Bavaria : In Bavaria it is a little easier to regulate. A limit distance of 50 cm up to a height of 200 cm is required here. From a height of 200 cm, the distance must also be 200 cm, which is not so well suited for small plots.

3. Berlin : In a Berlin garden, a 50 cm limit distance also applies to a height of 200 cm. If this is exceeded, you must maintain a limit distance of at least 100 cm.

4. Brandenburg : In Brandenburg the necessary border distance is a third of the height. This means that 60 cm must be planned for a 180 cm high hedge.

5. Bremen : If you live in Bremen, you do not have to keep a border distance.

6. Hamburg : There are also no legal regulations regarding a border distance in the Hanseatic city.

7. Hesse : In Hesse, on the other hand, there are three different limit distances to be observed:

  • up to 120 cm: 25 cm limit distance
  • up to 200 cm: 50 cm limit distance
  • over 200 cm: 75 cm limit distance

8. Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania : As in Hamburg and Bremen, you can plant your hedge as you wish in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

9. Lower Saxony : If you live in Lower Saxony and want to plant a hedge, you have to consider three different heights of growth:

  • up to 120 cm: 25 cm
  • up to 200 cm: 50 cm
  • up to 300 cm: 75 cm

Border distances for hedges that grow higher than 300 cm are not recorded. For this reason, you should be careful not to let the plant sprout too high, otherwise problems with the neighbors can arise.

10. North Rhine-Westphalia : The state with the Ruhr area requires a border distance of 50 cm for hedges up to 200 cm in height. On the other hand, specimens over two meters high must keep a distance of at least one meter in order not to cause any problems.

11. Rhineland-Palatinate : For a hedge in Rhineland-Palatinate, you must also observe three different limit distances:

  • up to 100 cm: 25 cm
  • up to 150 cm: 50 cm
  • up to 200 cm: 75 cm

Again, no further values ​​are available for hedges over two meters. That said, you should think twice about growing your specimen taller.
12. Saarland : If you are looking forward to a garden in Saarland and want to plant a hedge, the following limit distances must be observed:

  • up to 100 cm: 25 cm
  • up to 150 cm: 50 cm
  • over 150 cm: 75 cm

13. Saxony : The border distances in Saxony correspond to those in Bavaria, i.e. up to a height of 200 cm, a distance of 50 cm and a distance of at least 200 cm above 200 cm. So plan enough space.

14. Saxony-Anhalt : A hedge in Saxony-Anhalt must be at least 50 cm away from the property line up to a height of 150 cm. The limit distance up to a height of 300 cm, on the other hand, must be 100 cm. Again, there are no further values ​​if the hedge grows higher than three meters.

15. Schleswig-Holstein : If your hedge is no more than 120 cm high, you do not have to keep a boundary distance in this federal state. From a height of 120 cm, the limit distance is calculated using the following formula:

  • Height in cm: 3 = border distance in cm

16. Thuringia : The following guidelines must be observed for a hedge in Thuringia:

  • up to 100 cm: 25 cm
  • up to 150 cm: 50 cm
  • up to 200 cm: 75 cm

For a hedge that is higher than 200 cm, the following formula is used:

  • Height in cm – 125 cm = border distance in cm

If you adhere to the respective guidelines, you don’t have to worry about your hedge if your neighbor does not like it. If it is well cared for and does not grow into the other property, you can look forward to peace and quiet in your own green oasis. Only make sure that there is sufficient distance in the federal states without regulations. Although there are no regulations here, there can still be a dispute if you plant your hedge directly on the property line and it becomes too big. In addition, the maintenance of your hedge is made a lot easier as soon as you have enough space available and do not have to move to the neighboring property.

Tip: If you don’t want to mess with the individual regulations, you can’t go wrong with your hedge reaching a maximum height of two meters and keeping a distance of at least 50 centimeters from the neighboring property. But if you want to be on the safe side, opt for hedge plants that do not grow taller than two meters.

Regardless of which species you choose, thanks to the hedge plant advice it is easy to find suitable taxa. They are suitable for all projects, from the classic family oasis with lawn and harmless hedge to the Mediterranean garden in which even hedges are in bloom. Only the legal limit distances should be observed.

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