Reasons to Plant Hedgerows at Home
In many successful landscape designs, a hedgerow takes the place of a fence or garden wall. Most of Knapp’s clients are hoping to block an unappealing view, “usually a view of a yard next door that is not taken care of. Typically, a lawn is a unifying element in the residential landscape, flowing from yard to yard. But if a neighbor’s ‘lawn’ is 2-foot-tall weeds and dead grass, then a hedgerow is a great solution.”
For other clients, Knapp uses hedgerows to add curb appeal by framing the street-side view of the house, using hedgerow plantings that “bookend” the property. She says hedgerows are also effective for directing travel, such as preventing pedestrians from taking a shortcut through a yard on a corner lot.
In the backyard, where so many homes have fences, Knapp often uses hedgerows to conceal or enhance an existing structure. “A hedgerow can serve as a privacy screen by adding height to a short fence, or it can hide the fence itself. A backyard fence that’s entirely visible leaves no room for exploration; there's no mystery, and the effect can leave you feeling boxed in. It's much nicer to soften the fence with some shrubs and trees. However, there’s no need to hide the fence entirely; there should be breaks in the plant material, creating windows of the fence or the view beyond. The goal is to have layers, with overlapping textures that create interest.”
On a strictly practical level, hedgerows are often used to shelter a house or outdoor seating areas from wind. Because of its natural texture and penetrability, a hedgerow absorbs some of the air current as it blocks it, making it a more effective windbreak than solid barriers, such as fences or masonry walls, which serve as little more than speed bumps in the wind’s path. Hedgerows planted heavily with stout evergreen specimens are best for protecting a house wall from cold winter winds.