Fence Vs Hedges - What Is Best For Privacy And Aesthetics?
When it comes to selecting an edging for your field or garden, hedge vs fence is the ultimate question. Whilst either one is perfectly adequate at providing the privacy you need to enjoy your outdoor space, which is the better option?
The decision you make may depend on a number of factors, from the rules set by your local authorities to the opinions of your neighbours on the matter. There are pros and cons to either side, which we will weigh up here to help you make your decision.
Pros of Hedges
- Aesthetics – Hedges can make a beautiful and green addition to your garden. They create a varied and textured look, as opposed to the plain look of fencing. The aesthetics of a hedge can even add value to your home when the time comes to sell!
- Natural – By using a living material, a hedge acts as a natural extension of your garden, which encourages nature to blossom. Hedges with berries can draw birds and pollinators such as bees to your garden, which enhances the natural habitat.
- Variation – Depending on your tastes, there are many different hedge types to choose from. You may opt or an evergreen to create a thick green and uniform shape, or a blooming plant such as lilac for a floral border in Spring and Summer. By choosing a wilder plant-type for your hedgerow, you can create a natural countryside look which requires less maintenance than a formal, manicured hedge. Opting for an evergreen holly can give you thick greenery year-round, that requires less precise maintenance than a solid, sculpted hedge.
- Noise Reduction – Hedges have a unique ability to buffer sound, making them a great option for those living alongside a busy road or noisy neighbours.
- Wind Buffer - Hedges are able to withstand the wind, allowing them to act as a great buffer. This helps to prevent any damage to your property that may be caused by strong gusts.
- Cleaner Air – In their growth process, plants of all kinds have the ability to absorb CO2 and release oxygen, with hedges being no exception. This means that a hedge can help the environment and generate cleaner air in your neighbourhood.
- Create Shade – The thickness of hedges can be used to create shaded areas, which are not only pleasant for sitting in but can also reduce the sun’s heating effect on your house. This can serve to significantly reduce the costs of cooling your home.
- Low Initial Cost – If you start your hedge from scratch by installing small plants and watching them grow, then the initial set up costs can be very low.
- Adaptable – A hedge can be very adaptable to grow over land which is uneven, rocky or bumpy, or in areas with organic curved borders.
Cons of Hedges
- Risky – When planting a hedge, there is no guarantee that it will take to the land or survive in the particular soil it is in. You therefore run the risk of investing time and money into something that ultimately might fail. In addition, it is difficult to determine precisely how wide a hedge will grow. By getting this wrong, you may be lumbered with additional upkeep costs to ensure that it remains within your property line.
- Difficult to Install – Although it can be done by yourself, installing a hedge is no easy task. Soil preparation is essential to give it the best chance of growing to be healthy, and lots of digging is required to complete the initial plating process.
- Requires Patience - In addition, hedges do not provide an instant solution as you will need to wait for them to grow and develop before you can reap the benefits.
- High Maintenance – The key drawback of opting for a hedge in your garden is maintenance. As a living, growing thing, a hedge will need constant care. From watering, to trimming, to fertilising, hedges are comparatively very high maintenance, especially if you want to retain a uniform shape and healthy outlook. Hedges will require at least a yearly trimming, or more if you go for a structured look.
- Ongoing Costs – With hedges, there are ongoing costs relating to the time, labour, tools and products needed for their upkeep.
- May Affect Other Plants – If hedges are planted close to other plants in your garden, then they have the potential to draw essential moisture and nutrients away, causing your flower beds to suffer.
- Can Become Unkempt – The need for constant care means that some hedges can begin to look unsightly if they are left too long. Unless you are able to keep pace with their constant growth, then you may end up with an unkempt look.
Pros of Fences
- Low Maintenance – Once a fence is installed, it will require little to no maintenance. A wooden fence offers a permanent solution, which when treated properly can last anywhere up to twenty years. This means you can save valuable time by opting for a fence over a hedge.
- Up Front Cost – As fences only require the initial installation and very little upkeep, you can be clear from the outset how much it will cost you.
- Quick Installation – A fence can be installed in a matter of days, meaning that you can be up and running quickly and efficiently.
- Saves Space – As fences are very narrow in width, they do not encroach into your garden space, or your neighbour’s. This makes them ideal for smaller spaces, or for blocking off narrow pathways.
- Neat and Trim – A fence will always remain a neat and trim addition to your garden, regardless of maintenance.
Cons of Fences
- Aesthetics – In general, a fence is not especially aesthetically pleasing as they look flat and dull. If you want to opt for a classic white picket fence, then it may look more appealing but will invariably result in more upkeep in terms of repainting it each year.
- High Initial Cost – Decent fencing which has been treated to an adequate standard in order to ensure longevity can be very expensive.
- Tricky to Install – To install a fence properly takes some level of skill, especially in areas which are sloped or rocky. This means that most people opt to have it done professionally, adding further to the cost.
- Rigidity – Whilst fences are great for straight lines and sharp corners, they are too rigid to be adapted to curved lines, which means you may lose out on land by installing a fence in such areas.
- Regulations – In some areas, a building permit may need to be obtained in order to install a fence and the height and materials may be restricted according to regulations.
Although a hedge may be a lovely idea in theory, you have to be prepared for a whole lot of upkeep in order to keep it looking beautiful, healthy and orderly. Unless you are a keen gardener with spare time on your hands, or have the money to pay someone to do the upkeep for you, you may live to regret installing a hedge.
Though fences may not look as pretty, they still do the job and you will appreciate the lack of maintenance necessary. However, by doing your research and opting for a low-maintenance hedging option that works well with a more natural and unkempt look, you may be able to reap the benefits of both worlds.