Landscaping with hedges challenges gardeners to select plants that include plenty of color or texture. The impact of foliage increases when landscapers use plants to define sections of a property. Selecting hedge shrubs requires analysis of the location for sunlight and soil conditions to make the best choice. Every hedge needs regular maintenance, but the best hedges add interest to the landscape even with a little bit of neglect.
The meserve holly is popular because of its excellent barrier protection and lustrous year-round foliage. The meserve holly's rounded form grows naturally to produce a thick screen. Meserve holly grows to a mature height of 6 to 8 feet high and wide, and its thorny leaves make a natural barrier. Female plants produce red berries in the fall, provided a male plant is nearby. Meserve holly thrives in USDA Hardiness Zones 5 to 8. Select a location that features well-drained, rich soil for the fullest foliage. Meserve holly tolerates regular pruning, although hedge clippers should be used to shape the plant.
Landscapers often use boxwoods as foundation plants around a home to hide the framework and concrete. Boxwoods come in many cultivars from compact to large hedge plants. This plant thrives in USDA zones 5 to 8 and produces evergreen foliage. Boxwoods feature dense oval leaves that tolerate shearing as well as topiary trimming. Select the boxwood for a variety of hedge uses to line walkways or as a living fence. Boxwood prefers well-drained soil with an alkaline or slightly acidic pH.
The rounded form of the Japanese barberry adds a pleasing shape and color to the landscape. Gardeners prize the barberry for its bright leaf colors, which range from medium green to reddish gold. This dense shrub transforms to a vivid red in the fall and produces red berries that last into winter. Barberry also produces thorns along every branch, making it an excellent barrier hedge shrub. Barberry grows in USDA zones 4 to 9. Barberry matures to a minimum 6 feet high and wide without regular pruning, although there are dwarf cultivars available. It is not particular about its soil, and it can withstand dry conditions.