The best low-maintenance hedge plants – 9 picks for backyard boundaries


When it comes to low-maintenance shrubs, this is a great all-rounder for any plot as it suits every site and situation. It is a bushy shrub with neat, evergreen leaves which tolerates exposed sites, coastal locations, a sunny or shady position and any kind of soil. It is also rabbit-resistant. Give it a light trim after it flowers, but other than that, it’s a fuss-free privacy hedge. We like Silver King Euonymus at Nature Hills for USDA zones 6-9

2. Choisya

Also known as Mexican Orange, this is another of the best low maintenance hedge which grows in most light and soil conditions. ‘Aztec Pearl’ and ‘Sundance’ to his clients. A drought-tolerant plant, choisya has narrow, glossy aromatic green leaves and sweet-smelling spring flowers, which return in the fall. It grows to between 5-6.5ft tall and is suitable for zones 7b to 10 in the US, preferring milder winter locations.

3. Thuja Smaragd

An evergreen conifer with upright, fan-like sprays of leaves. Some varieties of Thuja make very fast-growing hedges and are tall, which means they need careful watching and pruning, but Thuja smaragd takes 10-20 years to reach its ultimate height of about 8ft, yet it still offers a dense, attractive screen of bright green all year round. It is a popular choice for screening ideas in the US.

4. Cherry Laurel

Whether you use it as a windbreak, or plant it to mute the sound of noisy neighbors and improve your garden privacy, cherry laurel is a trooper of a hedging plant, and it’s attractive, too. Try Otto Luyken Cherry Laurel at Fast Growing Trees. Another evergreen, it has neat, glossy leaves which will form a dense screen, with white flowers in spring and bright red berries in winter. It grows in full sun or shade and just needs one annual cut back. So trim evergreen bushes in late winter or early spring.

5. Yew

One of the best low-maintenance hedge plants for creating a more formal, classic look, yew is a bushy, dense and evergreen tree with berries, with fine, needle-like dark green leaves. It will grow tall, up to around 49ft, so it is suitable for larger backyards, although it can be kept under control with hard pruning in spring or summer. It copes well with sun or shade.

6. Pyracantha

If you want a low maintenance hedge which will also deter intruders, this spiky plant is a great choice. Try ‘Mohave’ which has dense, small green leaves, white flowers in summer and thick clusters of red berries in the fall. It can be cut into shape in the spring and early summer (make sure you have a thick pair of gardening gloves to hand for the job) or just leave it alone for an informal wildlife-friendly hedge.

7. English Holly (Ilex Aquifolium)

A slow growing evergreen, with spiny leaves and delightful red berries in winter, holly makes a sturdy, thick and secure hedge which needs little more than a trim in the summer to keep it happy and healthy. There are many different types of holly, with both solid green and variegated leaves, but generally this plant has flexible needs, tolerating full sun and part shade and any kind of moist, well-drained soil. In rural areas, holly plants may require a rabbit guard around the trunk as they get established, particularly if you're already struggling with how to keep rabbits out of your yard.

8. Photinia

Just because a plant is evergreen does not mean that it stays the same boring color all year round, and this pretty option for the best low-maintenance hedge plants certainly rings the changes. Try Photinia X Fraseri ‘Louise’ which shifts through red to olive green to a dark gray green as the seasons turn. It is a spring flowering shrub where white flowers appear, followed by red berries. It will thrive in sun or partial shade, in moist, well-drained soil.

9. Osmanthus X Burkwoodii

An evergreen shrub with leathery, sharp leaves which have a similar shape to holly, Burkwood Osmanthus, as it’s also known, is a very hardy, easy going hedging plant, which will tolerate full sun or part shade. It is a well behaved slow-grower, and only needs pruning if it gets too big for the plot. This is best done in late spring, after the display of starry and superbly scented white flowers (the botanic name actually means ‘fragrant flower’). It’s a good choice for a small backyard and it grows well in USDA zones 7-10.

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