Glorious Hedges

Garden design is pushing the boundaries of the hedge and its role in the modern-day garden. 

London hedges
Photo by: Marianne Majerus/MMGI

St. John's Wood, London, by del Buono Gazerwitz

One of the classic instruments of garden design, hedges are, unfortunately, often overlooked in contemporary landscapes. Yes, Europeans have used living fences for centuries to enclose great estates, define and divide small plots, and block unsightly views. And Americans have long planted hedges to impose order — first on the wilderness, later on the suburban tract. But it is only in recent years that landscape designers on both sides of the Atlantic have begun to experiment again with this versatile tool.

Above: A petite urban oasis in St. John’s Wood, London, designed by del Buono Gazerwitz, uses a green fence to ensure privacy while creating the illusion of space. The layering of heights, colors, and textures—hornbeam hedge overlaid with Amelanchier ‘Robin Hill’ trees and clipped box topiaries—adds visual interest while providing a clever way to get around fence height restrictions.