A hedge is a dense row of shrubs, trees or perennials that are planted and trained to form a green fence or living wall. Hedges are beautiful as well as functional in the landscape.

Hedges like fences serve a number of purposes in the landscape:

  • as a divider
  • privacy
  • screens (block unsightly views)
  • background
  • windbreaks
  • protection from trespassers
  • noise barrier
  • living fence or wall
  • decorative

When choosing hedging materials there are a number of factors to consider.

  1. What is the main purpose for the hedge - privacy, decorative, windbreak
  2. What is the exposure - full sun, full shade, partial sun or shade
  3. What kind of elements are going to play into the survival of the hedge - wet/dry soils, wind, salt spray, animal grazing
  4. Available space - how high and wide can the plants grow
  5. What style of hedge - formal (sheared) or informal (natural)
  6. What is the budget - evergreens are more expensive then deciduous shrubs
  7. Availability of plant material.  Depending on the type and variety of plant material there may not be a huge selection to choose from

The most important factor when choosing hedging material is hardiness.  Pick plants that will survive the winter.

Types of Hedging

In Calgary, Cotoneaster is the most popular hedging plant for a number of reasons:

  • It’s affordable
  • It’s very hardy
  • It’s quick growing
  • It has a dense habit
  • It can be sheared
  • It has brilliant fall colour

Other plants that work well as hedges are: 





Hardy Roses

Highbush Cranberry


Junipers (slow growing)

Karl Foerster Reed Grass


Nanking Cherry

Pine (slow growing)



Spruce (slow growing)


Cedars are not a good choice for hedging in Calgary, as they require a sheltered site that is protected from wind and winter sun.