Fences have always been a popular way to define the boundary of a property, providing both privacy and security. Apart from the need for the occasional application of paint or preserver, and replacing the odd panel after a bad storm, erecting a fence might seem low maintenance, and is often the default solution. But what if there was an alternative method? One that provides better security, wind protection, was more ecologically friendly, looked more attractive and cost less? Welcome to the world of the humble hedge!
What is a hedge?
A hedge is a boundary created by growing plants. They are usually planted to define property boundaries and provide privacy, or to give shelter from prevailing winds. It is thought the Romans planted the first hedges in Britain, however most ancient hedges date from Saxon times, making some of them over 1000 years old! It was the Anglo-Saxon word ‘haeg’ or gehaeg’, meaning enclosure, which gave us the modern word ‘hedge’.
Traditionally the most common plant found in hedges is the hawthorn, popular because of its tough thorny branches and thick growth. This made it ideal for protecting livestock, both from intruders and escape.
Why are hedges better than Fences?
Here are six reasons why hedges may offer a better boundary solution than fences:
We have all heard stories about fence panels blowing over in strong winds. The solid nature of their profile means they are subject to huge forces in a storm, often leading to damage or destruction. By contrast, the open structure of a hedge allows some of the air to pass through, naturally slowing it down as it does. Additionally, the flexibility of the living plants themselves, and the strength of their root system, means it is rare for a hedge to snap or be uprooted. Hedges fare far better in storms than fences.
You may think that a solid fence provides better security than a flexible hedge, but you would be wrong. Whilst it is easy to climb over a fence, or indeed remove or damage a panel, the thorns and spikes in a thick hedge of holly, berberis or hawthorn, provides a formidable deterrent! You can also train these plants to grow up conveniently placed drainpipes, or protect window ledges.
A study of six roadside locations in Guildford, UK, found that hedges were effective at reducing pollution exposure, cutting black carbon by up to 63 percent. Harmful ultrafine and sub-micron particles were also significantly reduced. Unlike a fence, a hedge also helps in the fight against climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide, and producing oxygen.
Hedges are thicker than fences, and leaves and branches muffle the exterior noise from things like traffic. Some parents report that the gentle rustling sound that a hedge can make, has helped their younger children and babies to sleep!
A haven for wildlife
As well as bees and butterflies being attracted to a living hedge, there are a huge variety of birds and animals who make their home in hedgerows, including (not surprisingly) the hedgehog! The berries on a hedge also provide a valuable source of food for birds during the winter months. In our opinion, birdsong is one of the great benefits of hedges over fences!
Last but not least, growing a hedge can be a lot cheaper than having a new fence erected. The smaller the plants you start with, the lower the cost. If you can start with cuttings, a new hedge can be yours for almost no capital outlay. The cost of maintaining a hedge is a lot cheaper than that of a fence too!
There is of course one downside to growing your own hedge, it takes time. But hedge growing can be fun! There are so many hedge plants to choose from, and planning the colours, textures, berries and aromas that you want to end up with, is just one more victory for the humble hedge!
Here at Dependable, we offer a wide range of property services, meaning your property will be well looked after for years to come. If you are looking for the best service, look no further. Whether it be residential or commercial property, you will be in safe hands.
Dependable Ltd is a one stop shop for lettings, management, and maintenance. We have a team of maintenance experts specialising in their own skills, from cleaning and gardening, to securing properties, electrical and gas works, and major refurbishments. And of course, keeping hedges trimmed and looking beautiful!
To find out more about how Dependable can help, please get in touch. We would love to hear from you.