Entries in hedges (3)



One of the most effective ways of defining space in a garden is with hedges. For centuries, especially in European gardens, hedges have been a common design element. Here in the states hedging has suffered from an undemocratic image as being unfriendly and perhaps boring. In fact, when I was in school our design professor who was a student of the influential teacher Ian McHarg, had no interest in promoting the use of a hedge. He favored a strict imitation of natural systems. Although the program was highly enlightening it was also stifling to design as if everything should be a replication of an ecosystem. To this day I use allot of natives in my designs but I have grown to appreciate all styles of garden design and frequently will use hedging in different ways. Think of the hedge as a living wall which depending on the plant used may be anywhere from fortress like to diminutive. Some hedges are purely decorative, while others serve a practical function. Hedge plants used decoratively are often trimmed to precise sizes and shapes and include evergreen and deciduous trees and shrubs. 


Piet Odoulf's informal planting with a Taxus and Beech hedge in the background.


 Miscanthus 'Morning Light'

 Mien Ruys Taxus

 Yew and Boxwood 

 Hydrangea 'Limelight'



Correct and incorrect pruning.





miller garden. landscape design by dan urban kiley

Designed in the mid 1950's, the Miller garden in Indiana, has profoundly influenced landscape design with it's inventive and formal use of space.The landscape amplifys the architecture of the home through the garden. Designed by Eero Saarinen, the home consists of four geometric units that surround a large central room. Similarly the gardens layout of hedging and trees surrounding the house, overlap and merge to create a complex series of spaces.







influential designers: jacques wirtz

Jacques Wirtz (b.1924) grew up in Antwerp, Belgium. You may wonder where the flowers are but Wirtz's gardens are lush and compelling without them. The hedge is his means of controlling space and classical music is his inspiration. Many of his gardens have wonderful cloud hedges composed of boxwood. Although he rejects the idea of any type of stylistic classification it is clear that his gardens are classically inspired. His internationally renowned firm operates as a design and build allowing control over the project from design to implementation. Wirtz’s love of Bach is present in his serene and spatially clear gardens.



 Boxwood cloud hedges.





Hornbeam and beech make great hedges. I prefer the beech for its slower growth rate and ability to retain it's fall colored, bleeched beige leaves through most of the winter.