Shrubs and hedges are some of the most versatile of all types of garden plants. They are effective as specimens, along foundations, as a component of windbreaks, or as a border or barrier hedge. When installing a border or barrier hedge, choose quick-growing hedge varieties. Some quick-growing varieties of hedges will reach their mature height in a single growing season.
A fast-growing shrub that can grow 25 feet in one year according to Clemson University Extension, Japanese privet (Ligustrum japonicum) is ideal for growing into a fast-maturing hedge. White flowers in late spring produce blue-black berries in early fall, often staying on the plants well into winter. Japanese privet grows in all types of soil except waterlogged soil and thrives in full sun to partial shade. Privet takes even a heavy pruning well and quickly puts out a flush of new growth.
Quickly growing to 8 feet high and 10 feet wide, forsythia (Forsythia x intermedia) grows well in either sun or partial shade. It is widely planted in urban areas because of its tolerance to adverse soil conditions, drought, pruning and pollution. Forsythia produces bright yellow flowers in early spring before the leaf buds open. The medium green leaves turn chartreuse in autumn. Forsythia makes an effective barrier hedge and works well as part of a mixed formal or informal hedgerow.
Quickly growing to a mature height and width of 6 to 10 feet, flowering quince (Chaenomeles speciosa) features showy white, pink or red flowers in spring. The foliage begins a reddish-bronze and turns dark green as summer progresses. Flowering quince is tolerant of dry sites but prefers moist sites with well-drained soil. Plant in full sun to partial shade in slightly acidic soil. The plant is even tolerant of windy sites, making it ideal as a hedge or part of a windbreak.