Hedges can be used to add structure and formality to a garden, while also acting as a privacy screen against a busy street or nearby neighbors. For those who want to see their ideas quickly implemented, there are a number of different types of fast growing, dense hedge plants that that work well in the garden landscape.
A member of the honeysuckle family, sweet viburnum (Viburnum odoratissimum) is an evergreen shrub that may quickly reach heights of up to 20 feet if left to its own devices. The shrub sports dense, glossy green leaves accentuated by fuzzy spring blooming white flowers. The fragrant flowers give way to red fruits, which are devoured by songbirds. A native of Asia, sweet viburnum makes an excellent hedge plant when grown in full sun or light shade in USDA zones 8 to 10. Although not picky about soil, sweet viburnum should be watered on a regular basis. Frequent pruning will help keep the plant looking neat and compact.
Japanese laurel (Aucuba japonica) is a highly adaptable shrub that boasts long, shiny green leaves that are often spotted with contrasting flecks of yellow or golden. The dense evergreen shrub reaches an average height of between six to 10 feet, producing reddish purple flowers and attractive autumn fruits. The plant will grow in full, blasting sunlight to nearly complete shade, in a range of different soil types. Japanese laurel dislikes water logged soils, but will grow in most other conditions. A native of Japan, the laurel has adapted to coastal environments and will do well with moderate saline in the soil.
A member of the oleaster family, silverthorn (Elaeagnus pungens) is a evergreen shrub native to China and Japan. The fast growing plant can grow to be up to 15 feet tall. Silverthorn is characterized by its dull olive green oval leaves and small flowers, which are intensely fragrant in some species. The small tart fruits of the plant are edible, but not especially palatable and better left on the plant where they can attract birds. Silverthorn responds well to pruning and can be made into an impenetrable hedge. The hedge plant does best in partial or full sun in USDA zones 7 to 9. The drought tolerant plant can tolerate a range of soils, and should be watered occasionally when soil is dry.