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June 14, 2018 – Published in Design & Decor Summer 2018 issue

Hedges for instant curb-appeal

​​Words Victoria Galea

There is something very appealing about a smartly clipped stretch of green or a neat row of elegant trees. Reminiscent of sweeping gardens in stately homes, in many eyes one of the things that really smacks of formally landscaped gardens must surely be a neatly trimmed box-hedge or a row of tall elegant trees leading down a drive to a house. These highly desired features are usually the stuff of dreams for most. Yet, if one really put one’s mind to it, the lack of large expanses of garden space in Malta should not be a deterrent to an elegantly landscaped space. Whether it is a nice stretch of garden or a porch, courtyard or drive-in, it is really very easy to create the illusion of elegance and formality utilizing potted bushes or trees.

There are many reasons for desiring hedging of some sort – it may be the need for a boundary between one part or another of your space, or maybe the need for instant privacy or security without ruining the landscape. Tightly planted hedges are also handy in keeping pets and children within your determined boundaries. But maybe it is just because of the impact such an elegant green feature always has.

Potted trees and shrubs are becoming particularly popular especially when there is little or no outside space. Creating a feature with container-grown trees or bushes is a simple thing which provides some really interesting focal points without much effort.

Pot-grown bushes and trees are very convenient in this case. Even without too large an amount of space to spare, they can make an attractive feature of a simple terrace, path or drive-way.

Trees can be planted in regular, moveable containers as well as in large, permanent planters. Containers for landscape trees are available in numerous styles, shapes, and colours. Your choice should always complement the surroundings they are meant for, as well as the growth-rate of the trees that are placed in them. Therefore, the space to be utilised and the mature size of the tree or shrub should be considered in order to choose a container with adequate space to accommodate both the growing tree and its roots.

A hedge-like feature in an open terrace can be especially note-worthy and unique. Here not only is the weight of the container itself a factor, but so is the overall weight the soil, tree, and water will add to it, especially if the container is to be used in areas such as balconies or rooftops, where structural weight capacity may be an issue.

Clay pots are heavier than plastic, but are more stable in windy conditions, especially with larger trees. Lightweight plastic pots are ideal if plants require moving or if they are located on balconies. Larger, heavier containers or planters can be used for plants that will remain as permanent fixtures the year round.

There are many evergreen plants that are ideal for using as hedging. It is quite important to select the right plants for the job, depending on your needs, the local environment and the planting location.

Choosing a suitable shrub for a potted environment varies depending on its overall size, growing requirements and location. Obviously, if the mature size of a tree falls on the small side, it is better suited for container growing. Smaller species and dwarf varieties are usually good candidates for containers when your space is really limited. Lining identical shrubs in close proximity immediately gives your chosen space a graceful lift.

Evergreens and nearly any other dwarf conifer can be grown in containers. Apart, from the more traditional trees one may also consider flowering or fruit trees and bushes. Citrus trees are particularly attractive and useful while the false orange blossom or roses can offer a pretty and scented choice and flowering trees may also be an attractive alternative.

Coastal or urban, shady, sunny, windswept, sheltered or exposed wherever you plan it, a line of nicely kept, uniform greenery is a pleasantly impressive and low-maintenance way of adding a touch of freshness to any property giving it instant curb-appeal.

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