Hedges whether formal or informal are an important structural element within the garden, used to define boundaries and as with trees and built structures, add a sense of height to the garden. The more popular hedges are the formal, solid, clipped ones such as beech, holly, box, privet, yew, and laurel, planted to delineate boundaries, provide shelter and shade or to screen the garden. The informal hedges are more open and natural in form, often producing attractive flowers and fruit such as escallonia, berberis, lavander, cotoneaster and fuchsia.
As living barriers, hedges may take many years to establish, but if proprely maintained they are often preferable to fences because they provide texture, colour and shape. Most of the plants used for hedging are long-lived and if correctly maintained will provide effective and virtually impenetrable barriers to be enjoyed for many years.