When you’re looking to add privacy, create a border, or add height to your landscaping, you need a hedge! These 8 best evergreen hedge plants for your yard are versatile and beautiful shrub options all year long.
One of my favorite features of my current backyard is that my neighbor has an evergreen hedge. Now technically they are a bit overgrown and a little worn from age, but the privacy and year round greenery of evergreen hedging plants just can’t be beat.
For homeowners wanting to create a privacy screen in their yards on early spring, an evergreen hedge is an affordable and environmentally sound solution. Unlike a deciduous hedge, an evergreen shrub keeps its leaves all year long. This helps provide a windbreak barrier as well as shelter for wildlife birds and helpful insects.
Having evergreen shrubs in the yard also makes it easy to use the clippings to make your own fresh boxwood wreath or a quick and easy evergreen swag for holiday Christmas decor.
In our turn-of-the-century neighborhood, homeowners use evergreen shrubs with low maintenance to define property lines and to create niches in the yard for family gatherings. These hedge shrubs require very little maintenance aside from a once-a-year pruning, grow in standard soil conditions, and provide habitat for birds and other small animals. For homes situated close to busy streets, an evergreen hedge makes an excellent sound buffer.
Some of my neighbors use English Laurel or English Yew to define their yards and provide privacy. While these fast growing evergreen shrubs can grow up to 10 feet in height and make an attractive, dense hedge, the leaves and bright red berries of both these plants are highly toxic. For families with young children and pets, these are varieties to avoid.
The following list of best evergreen hedge plants and bushes, however, are wonderful choices for natural fencing that will stay green all year long and are safe for children and pets.
- Common Boxwood
- American Arborvitae (Thuja)
- Oregon Grape
- Leyland Cypress
- Nellie Stevens Holly
- Coral Beauty (Cotoneaster)
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Common Boxwood Is An Excellent Choice
The Common Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens) is the classic hedge fast-growing shrub that can reach a height and width of 15 feet, though typically it is pruned much smaller for formal hedges. The dark green foliage can be pruned into a box shape and can be used to line walkways and formal gardens.
Boxwood shrubs have dark green leaves that are oval in shape; it grows in zones 3-6 but can not tolerate hot summers. Even though our community sees triple-digit summer temperatures, as long as the boxwood hedge sees afternoon shade or part shade, it seems to manage the hotter temperatures just fine. The versatility and classic plant shape make this one of the best evergreen hedge plants!
American Arborvitae Is One Of The Best Hedging Plants
The American Arborvitae or Thuja is another classic best evergreen hedge plants that can reach heights of 40 feet, with a mature spread of 15-20 feet. It really earns its “green giant” nickname! Arborvitae is a coniferous cypress cedar tree with a pyramidal shape, and not only provides dense screening for privacy but is a favorite habitat for wildlife such as birds and squirrels. Common varieties include Thuja occidentalis (white cedar) and Thuja plicata (western red cedar).
While the outside of the tree is covered with dense foliage, the inner part of the tree is strictly a network of branches. We discovered the hard way that once the tree is allowed to get out of control, there really isn’t any way to prune it back into a nice, neat hedge. This tree is hardy in zones 3-8 and drought tolerant once established.
Euonymus For An Evergreen Foliage
The Evergreen Euonymus (Euonymus japonicus) is a very dense, and one of the best evergreen hedge plants that reaches nearly 10 – 15 feet in height. While it’s not as attractive as its more colorful deciduous cousins, it grows quite well in the shady spot of other trees and doesn’t need full sun. Also called a spindle tree, the Euonymus shrub produces small fragrant white flowers and waxy green leaves that are 1″ to 3″ in length. It’s drought tolerant, making it ideal for low-water gardens. This species of Euonymus grows in zones 6-9. Other species include commonly named wintercreeper and burning bush, which has bright red foliage in the fall.
Oregon Grape Is A Good Option And Deer Resistant
The Oregon Grape (Mahonia aquifolium) is another drought-tolerant evergreen that is related to the barberry. It has lovely green holly-like leaves and takes its name from the purple berries it produces in the fall. Oregon grape is a marvelous crafting shrub and is often used for making wreaths or as filler in floral arrangements. The inner bark of the larger stems yields a natural yellow dye.
Oregon grape is one of the best evergreen hedge plants to have and it is a native plant on the North American west coast, is drought tolerant, and can grow between 3-10 feet in height. Oregon Grape is one of the few evergreen shrubs I know of that can grow beneath a pine tree. Oregon grape grows in zones 5-8.
Leyland Cypress Is The Perfect Choice For Warmer Climates
Leyland Cypress (Cupressocyparis leylandii) is a quick-growing alternative to the Hicks Yew, growing nearly three feet a year with little effort, with a mature height of 60 feet and a spread of 15-20 feet in ideal gardening conditions. Its fragrant and thick foliage makes the Leyland Cypress an ideal wind break as well as a dense coverage to make it one of the best evergreen hedge plants for privacy. The Leyland Cypress grows in zones 6-9.
You might also consider the cousin to the cypress family: junipers! Juniper trees typically need less sun and less water, so choose the evergreen best for your yard situation.
Nellie Stevens Holly For Year-Round Privacy And Fast-Growing Hedges
Several years ago, someone in my neighborhood planted Nellie Steven’s English Holly (Ilex ‘Nellie R. Stevens’) as an evergreen border. It was the first time I had seen this delightful tree which reminded me very much of the old-fashioned Christmas holly (Ilex Aquifolium). These small evergreen trees grow between 15 to 25 feet in height with a 10 to 20-foot spread. They can be pruned into trees or left wild to resemble more of a hedge. The Nellie Steven’s Holly is hearty and fast-growing and tolerates heat quite well, which earns it its spot on our list of best evergreen hedge plants. This hedge tree will grow in zones 5-8.
If you love holly shrubs but need different features, consider the smaller Japanese holly (Ilex Crenata).
Cleyera For Evergreen Hedging
The Cleyera shrub is part of the Theaceae family. The leaves are usually green, with hints of red or burgundy. The flowers on the Cleyera tree are white and bloom in the late spring. Cleyera is popular because they are relatively easy to care for. They tolerate short bouts of extreme weather well, including drought, heat, and humidity. In the United States, Cleyera thrives in hardiness zones 8 through 10.
To create ideal conditions for Cleyera, choose a fertilizer with a high phosphorous yield before planting. The phosphorous will promote the development of healthy roots and foliage. Shrubs should generally be fertilized yearly. Cleyera enjoy an environment with partial shade–the plant should have some protection from the sun during the warmest parts of the day. Cleyera requires regular watering.
The Coral Beauty Is The Perfect Option For Evergreen Plants
The Coral Beauty (Cotoneaster Coral Beauty) is part of the Rosacea family and is a fast-growing evergreen that reaches 2 to 3 feet in height and up to 6 feet across. In the spring, the shrub produces white flower blossoms, followed by red round fruits that last through the fall and winter, and are a lovely addition to any garden. This is the most colorful shrub on our list of best evergreen hedge plants. The leaves are dark, glossy green. The plant is easy to care for and tolerates drought and wind very well. The shrub requires some sun and well-drained soil. The Cotoneaster thrives in hardiness zones 5 through 8.
Order Evergreen Hedge Plants Online
Hardy evergreens are essential to any well-balanced garden and can provide a great deal of privacy to a home or backyard. Evergreens come in a lot of varieties and produce a wide range of flowers and fruits during the warmer months. Evergreens are popular because many of them require little care, and they thrive well in harsh and cold climates. Fast-growing shrubs are numerous, with exceptionally rapid growth happening within a single year.
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Cassity Kmetzsch started Remodelaholic after graduating from Utah State University with a degree in Interior Design. Remodelaholic is the place to share her love for knocking out walls, and building everything back up again to not only add function but beauty to her home. Together with her husband Justin, they have remodeled 6 homes and are working on a seventh. She is a mother of four amazing girls. Making a house a home is her favorite hobby.