Hedges serve multiple purposes in the landscape. Taller hedges divide property lines and block unwanted views of traffic, equipment or the next door neighbor's messy yard. Low hedges serve an entirely different purpose. These smaller groups of plants direct traffic flow through a landscape and provide natural transition between different parts of the yard. Plants for low hedges include a variety of both evergreen and deciduous plants.
Blue Mountain Juniper
The pleasing blue-green hue of the blue mountain juniper (Juniperus virginiana 'Blue Mountain') adds both dimension and sophistication to the landscape. As a hedge plant, the juniper offers evergreen foliage for year-round landscape color. Foliage is needle-like with an open, spreading growth habit. Blue mountain juniper tolerates moderate shaping and matures to a 3-foot height. Mature width ranges between 5 to 8 feet. This juniper prefers a full sun location and tolerates drought and wind exposures. This shrub also offers good deer resistance. Foliage feels soft to the touch and responds well to minimal pruning. Use this plant in USDA Hardiness Zones 4 to 9. Provide well-drained soil, and space plants based on grower recommendations provided with each plant.
Buxus Green Gem (Boxwood)
The pleasing bright green leaves of a traditional boxwood hedge come to life in a small package called the Buxus 'Green Gem'. This smaller version of the common boxwood offers the easy hedging of the common boxwood paired with a small-stature cultivar. 'Green Gem' features densely packed rounded leaves for a consistent full hedge. It reaches a mature height and width of 4 feet. Plant in partial shade to full sun in USDA Zones 7 to 9. This plant grows to a rounded form that doesn't require regular pruning unless the gardener prefers to shape the plant. The compact growth of 'Green Gem' allows for easy mixing of this small shrub with perennials, annuals and flowering shrubs.
The consistent yellow flowers of the shrubby cinquefoil (Potentilla fruticosa) provide summer-long interest in the landscape. This plant reaches a mature height and width of 4 feet. Plant the cinquefoil in full sun in well-drained soil. An established plant tolerates alkaline soil in both wet and dry locations. Different cultivars produce red/orange flowers as well as white or pink blooms on the smaller cultivar 'Pink Beauty' or 'McKay's White'. Cinquefoil grows in a rounded form to provide a pleasing low hedge with or without grooming. This plant offers the beauty of a deciduous blooming shrub with the dense growth habit of a hedge. Plant in Zones 2 to 6 for best results.