How To Plant A Privacy Hedge – 10 Steps

Tall hedges serve as a border backdrop to a sophisticated wooden view deck.

There’s no denying a privacy hedge is planted to form an attractive boundary.

It adds value and definitely highlights the beauty of your property. It comes in various species, but the type of hedgerow you plant will depend on what purpose you want it to serve.

Some property owners think that planting a hedge is a complicated process.

But planting the living barrier is pretty straightforward. It only takes a few easy steps to plant an attractive privacy hedge, whether you have a formal or informal garden.

In this guide, we will outline how to plant hedges with easy to follow procedures. So, read on and learn some necessary management practices to maintain your neat and gorgeous living fence.

10 Easy Steps On How To Plant A Privacy Hedge

Planting hedges will not only provide privacy, but it is also an excellent buffer to wind and pollution. Unlike other fences, a hedge landscape is permanent. Moreover, it promotes water conservation and supports ecological diversity.

1) Determine The Right Planting Site

Hedge seedling in three black plastic containers position in the ground with a few inches of spacing.
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When it comes to planting hedges, choosing the right location is one of the most important aspects to consider.

The living barrier established in the wrong location can suffer possible limb breakage. Besides, it is prone to constant movement for people and animals, resulting in stunted growth.

Expert landscapers encourage property owners to plant the living barrier at the edges or boundaries.

You can also choose a place where it doesn’t affect any movement or hinder you from carrying out other tasks. And these tasks include digging the planting holes, setting the plants, and trimming the fence.

2) Design The Layout Based On Your Purpose

Hedges structured in five linear tiers.

The layout of your hedgerow will depend on its desired functions. And you will often find the living barriers along property lines.

But some property owners use it to divide sections of property like play areas from garden areas, while others use the plant to manage water flow.

3) Determine The Height 

Front yard privacy hedge with a wide entrance.

When considering planting hedges for security or privacy purposes, a tree hedge about 60 inches tall is the best way to go.

Yet, tall hedges require sufficient efforts when trimming. And if you are not ready to put in the hard work into managing a tall fence, you should consider settling for short bushes which will still give you that fence like aspect.

4) Choose Plants That Best Suits Your Needs

Flowering hedge as border backdrop in the park.

Aside from considering the purpose it serves, choosing the right plants for your green fence is necessary. Same with the soil, climate, or whether you want flowering hedges or one with lush green foliage.

Evergreens are exceptional if you aim to reduce noise pollution, snow, and buffer strong winds all year long.

Deciduous trees, on the other hand, offer a broad range of landscaping elements. It is perfect if you want spring flowers or fall colors. However, it does not provide year-round screening.

Consider landscaping hedges with thorny shrubs such as Hawthorns, Blackthorns, Hollies, and Pyracanthas if you want to establish an impenetrable fence.

Besides, Jujube, Black and the honey locust, Rugosa Rose, and Prickly Ash, are all thorny plants species ideal for a thick and solid green fence.

But if you want a multi-functional fence, combining both tall and low growing plants like shrubs and trees will generate such results.

Therefore whatever purpose you have in mind, it is highly recommended to choose one that is pliable and easy to propagate. 

5) Determine The Appropriate Width

A hedge in a rectangular layout used to divide areas in the formal garden.

Now that you have figured out what type of plants you need and its desired height, next you need to consider how much space is available. It is necessary to determine and visualize the appropriate width for your hedge.

If you have a spacious property, you can layout a thicker width fitting about two or three rows of plants.

However, if you have limited space, you should consider growing trees instead of shrubs. Shrubs tend to grow bushier, thus occupying a larger amount of space.

6) Correct Spacing

Plant the bare-root with a string guide to maintain correct hedge spacing.
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Determining correct spacing between rows isn’t very hard. All you have to do is assess the crown width of your plants along with the amount of space you can provide on your property.

Spacing between rows is often based on crown width, but to avoid root crowding, try to set at least 12-24 inches apart from the center of the plant.

After all, the amount of space and how thick you want your screen will determine the necessary spacing and number of rows you have to plant. 

Not only that, but the spacing will also depend on whether you prefer to plant a shrub or a tree.

  • Evergreen trees like cedars and junipers grow best about 6-8 feet in-between spacing.
  • Pines and spruce require around 10-12 feet spacing between trees.
  • American Arborvitae generates attractive looks when planted as close as 3-feet.
  • The mid-sized evergreen shrubs grow best with 3 to 4 feet apart upon planting.
  • But for narrow shrubs like the Emerald Arborvitae or Korean Boxwood, these plants flourish well when planted with 24-inches of spacing.
  • Like low growing shrubs, North Privet can also grow healthy when you plant about 24-inches apart.
  • The rose of Sharon requires 2-3 feet between spacing.

Tip: Planting shrubs and trees in rows with tight spaces will generate a unified structure as if they were a single row.

7) Map Out The Hedge Planting Area

A hole in the ground in-between two wooden posts with string.
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Mapping out the planting area with string, marker, and wooden stakes will help you keep the correct spacing. This way, you’ll be able to come up with straight rows and uniform holes.

Pick the plant of your choice and start mapping out the planting location. Guided by the marks, you can now dig holes or trenches in straight rows with correct spacing.

8) Plant The Hedge

Landscaper trenching the ground with a red marker guide to plant a privacy hedge.
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Planting hedges might seem complicated but it really isn’t. You can either use seeds, seedlings, cuttings, or bare roots.

For plants grown in containers, digging individual holes works best. But whichever you prefer, know they all work fine.

However, planting and caring for a newly planted hedge is quite similar to planting other plants. A soil preparation beforehand can give your plants a jump start.

  • If you have conventional soil that is often waterlogged in winter, you may provide a permanent drainage system by creating a ridge alternatively. Build a heap of about 15-20 cm high and 50-70 cm across the plant.
  • When planting hedges on the boundary of your property, set it back a little way from the boundary line. This technique will avoid future hassles with overhanging on the pavement of your neighbor’s property.
  • When you opt for hedge seedlings which are available in most likely all garden centers near you, all you have to do is plant and let them thrive.
  • But first, remove damaged roots with a sharp pair of secateurs and gently tease the bottom part to loosen the soil before transplanting.
  • Next, set the root ball in the hole, making sure all roots were accommodated.
  • Back-fill the soil dug from the trenchmix with fertilizer, compost, and repeat this process for every plant down the line.
  • Finally, water the plants in the ground. Irrigating the shrubs with a soaker hose is an easy way to water the plants. It is particularly helpful if you have no available sprinkler system. Water your plants generously at first and supply sufficient water regularly based on your plant’s requirements.

9) Stakes & Support Newly Planted Hedges

Newly planted living willow hedges with metal bar stakes.
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Staking newly planted hedges will prevent possible movement of the roots due to any strong wind or rock. These movements can hurt young plants, aside from slowing down the root establishment.

Extremely young and newly planted shrubs and trees will take a couple of years to anchor their roots firmly in the soil.

For this reason, staking will help newly planted hedges grow upright. It is also one of the best ways to establish a uniform lush green fence.

However, there are different staking methods. But all stakes should penetrate the soil to ensure no unnecessary movements will occur.

Each stake should be at least 60 cm deep to avoid movements in the ground.

To stake newly planted hedges, you’ll need:

  • Wooden posts or a steel bar
  • String or wires 
  • Plant ties


  • Fix the posts firmly in the ground.
  • Tie a string or some wire on them to form a support structure.
  • Use plant ties to guide and fasten young hedges onto the string.
    • Plant ties should provide sufficient space between the plant and the string or stakes which will prevent them from rubbing against each other.
    • DIY plant ties or one readily available in the market should be easily adjusted, as the circumference of your tree may expand quite fast. Doing so will avoid problems of it becoming too tight or perhaps generating abrasion after any storms.
    • Check ties regularly to avoid rubbing and immediately adjust if necessary. Fast-growing trees need frequent check ups as constriction of the stem to the knots often occurs very quickly.

10) Trim Your Plant Barriers

 Frontyard shrub hedge trimmed by a professional landscaper.

Trimming your hedges is an excellent way to achieve desirable heights and weights. Plus, it encourages the plants to generate lateral branches resulting in a bushier, denser, and sturdier green fence.

But trimming or training should start right after young plants establish roots. You will know this when the hedges grow lush and robust. And to give you a heads up, it usually takes about 1-2 seasons after planting.

Using sharp pruners will make it easy for you to trim the plants. Cut back longer than necessary branches and shear the fence to form an attractive shape.

You can also induce inosculation to the plant’s branches while trimming. Inosculation is the process of braiding or joining two or more branches to grow as one.

Training a hedge whether it’s a tree or a shrub is a must. You should start by removing about one-half the length of the new shoot from the top and sides of the plant a few times per year.

Hedges made of trees should be allowed to grow naturally, yet you have to follow the correct pruning technique to achieve the desired shape.

Hedges shaped with a broader base than the top is ideal. It allows proper aeration and enough sunlight to penetrate the tree. Moreover, it reduces the possibility of pest infestation and diseases.

Final Thoughts On Planting A Hedge

As you can see, planting a hedge requires no complicated process. It is an easy job which you can do yourself. And the same principle applies whether you want to plant it from a pot container, bare-root, or root ball.

All it requires is a correct ground preparation, sufficient space for the roots, and plenty of water. Water the plants regularly until the roots fully establish and can resist pests, diseases, and harsh weather.

Establishing a gorgeous and robust hedge fence depends on the required purpose. Whether the goal you might have in mind is to improve the security and privacy of your property, boost the aesthetic curbs, or enhance the property’s monetary value, it still requires some planning.

If you have any questions on planting a privacy hedge, don’t be afraid to ask away in the comment section below.

About Benita Abucejo

Hi there! My name is Benita Abucejo. What can I say? I truly love spending my days in the outdoors, specifically in the garden. Gardening has always been a strong passion of mine since I was a little girl. It has brought me so much joy and happiness that it is definitely safe to say that I will be a gardener for life. For a period of time, I was able to work with people who are into home gardening and I found it to be quite beneficial to my physical health, as well as my mental well-being. Here at Seasonal Preferences, I am going to share with you my experience and ideas so that you can fulfill yourself with the same satisfaction and happiness. Of course, if you have ideas, I would love to hear those as well! Being creative in the garden can really be quite fascinating so let's share our experiences and be the best gardeners we can be. With that being said, thank you for dropping by and please leave me a comment on one of my posts if you would like to get in touch!

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