Do you get on well with your neighbours? Or maybe not so much? Whatever the case, sometimes it’s nice to have a little privacy in your yard.
Of course fences are great for this, however, I’d much prefer a ‘green wall’ to look at.
Hedges and screening plants come in all shapes and sizes and colours and can be a real feature in the garden. They can provide privacy, shade, interest and appeal in the garden and I’m going to look at a few of the best.
Okay, so maybe you like to do a bit of naked gardening on the weekends (yes it’s a thing!), or you just enjoy your privacy and want to block out anyone and everyone. Complete privacy using a thick hedge is a great way to go.
The best hedges for privacy – tall and thick growing – include; Cupressus Leightons green conifer; this fast growing conifer grows tall and dense. It can grow well over 10 metres (up to 20 metres) if left unpruned but can be kept as low as 2-3 metres when kept pruned.
It is frost and drought proof once established and grows really well here in the Barossa, although it enjoys a well drained soil (not waterlogged).
Another great large and dense hedging plant is Photinia robusta. Photinias will grow approximately 3-4 metres once established.
They have a dense habit, great for privacy, and also sport bright red new growth and white flowers in spring.
There are many great examples around the Barossa (Langmeil Winery in Tanunda boasts a beautiful example).
In my opinion, you can’t go past Lilly Pillys as the best native hedge.
With the right soil preparation, Lilly pillys are fast growing and provide a dense cover. There are so many sizes and varieties to pick from these days with many featuring stunning red or bronze new growth. Lilly Pillys are easy care and low maintenance once established.
Lilly Pillys can be a little bit frost tender while young, however once established, they will tolerate our winters with no issues. Spraying with Droughtshield or Envy before winter can help protect young plants from frosty conditions.
Another great native hedge or screening plant is grevilleas. In particular, I especially think Grevillea olivacea makes a great native hedge. The flowers are bird and bee attracting and like most natives they are tough and easy to care for.
Grevillea olivacea can grow 2-4 metres and responds well to regular trimming to keep it thick and bushy.
Often, when people think of olives they think of trees, but actually, olives make a great hedging plant.
Their stunning silver grey foliage makes a beautiful feature in the garden and their fruit has so many uses.
Olives are Very drought tolerant and hardy, which make them ideal for low water use gardens.
Another great fruiting hedge is the Feijoa, also known as pineapple guava. Highly fragrant fruit that tastes like pineapple and guava is an added bonus of this attractive plant.
This thick growing shrub grows up to 4 metres in height but can be kept smaller with regular trimming.
There are many lovely flowering hedging plants available, but the best one in my opinion that suits Barossa conditions (hot, dry summers and cold, frosty winters) is viburnum. In particular Viburnum tinus.
There are great examples all over the Valley because quite simply, it does really well here.
This bushy shrub gets clusters of pinkish-white flowers from winter through spring and beyond.
It grows up to 3 metres (can be kept smaller with pruning). Once established viburnums are seriously hardy and low maintenance. They look great in formal or cottage gardens. A real winner.
Indian hawthorns (Rhaphiolepis) are another great flowering hedge. They tolerate full sun or part shade, all soil types and are another hardy option for our conditions.
They aren’t quite as tall growing as some of the other hedges (1-2 metres) but are a great option for those wanting a shorter hedge.
There are pink and white flowering varieties available.
I couldn’t finish this piece without a shout out to one last plant. Oleanders, more often than not get a bad rap due to their toxicity.
Yes they are poisonous if ingested and may not be suitable for everyone (people with dogs or young children), however they can make a wonderful, informal screening plant in the right situation.
They are long flowering and come in a wide range of colours, they have dense, dark green foliage and provide great privacy.
Oleanders are very hardy & drought tolerant and will grow in full sun to part shade.
Maybe not for everyone, but oleanders will add a beautiful Mediterranean look to a garden and perform well in all seasons. Dwarf varieties are also available.
Hedges and screening plants provide privacy and cover for unsightly areas. They define boundaries and can be a huge feature in almost any garden.
There are so many great options out there to suit every style and situation, this list is just a small representation of some of my favourite hedging plants that suit the Barossa climate.
However, like with all plants, my best advice for a successful and fast growing hedge is to always do your ground work before planting. Plenty of compost into the soil and feed & water well over their first summer or two to get the plants established.
Do this and you will be surrounded by a dense hedge, enjoying your own private garden in no time.
If you have any questions you would like answered, feel free to leave a comment online on the Barossa Mag’s website.
In the meantime, happy gardening!