The Urban Hedgerow

My home is located on a corner lot. To provide some privacy, I am creating an urban hedgerow that will be tightly planted with a variety of native and adaptive trees and shrubs that are wildlife friendly.
I started with a blank slate…a giant lawn of not-so-nice Bermuda grass punctuated with two Japanese maples that apparently fell out of the sky and landed in very odd places.
I declared war on the Bermuda grass last summer and began the removal process (chemical free) and building soil. In an earlier post, I described some ways to get rid of the grass from Hell, but I will tell you right here and now that the only step in this process with which I had success was tilling. I tilled three times; raking and digging up Bermuda grass pieces and roots thoroughly between each pass. It was a huge job!

I then set about building some good soil with inches and inches of mulch and in the fall I added inches and inches of leaves. The result? Wonderful soil full of earthworms!
I modified my original plan to give a shape to the lawn. Ultimately I would like to reduce the grass to zero, but until then giving the lawn a shape defined the hedgerow. Because my house is located on a corner lot and the lines of the driveway and sidewalks are irregular, I used the house position to shape the lawn. All the lines of the lawn are parallel or perpendicular to the house giving some order to the otherwise chaotic layout.
Here you can see the shape of the lawn.
I began to add trees and shrubs to the hedgerow last fall and continued this spring. It’s going to look a little strange at first, but as the plants mature and fill in, the hedgerow will become apparent.
An urban hedgerow, made up of a diverse group of plantings, acts as a wildlife refuge. It is a place in our urban landscapes that provide the necessities of life…food and shelter. It is one way to invite wildlife into your garden while adding beauty and privacy.

Details of the plantings can be found on the website along with additional information links.

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  • Carole Carole on Apr 08, 2015
    Yes, do please post more photos as it fills out. A common mistake is people expect an instant hedge for privacy and plant too close together. The key it seems is to have patience and allow each plant the space it needs to grow to its full potential. We just planted out a Photinia hedge and was told that pruning will help the plants to grow outwards as well as upwards to ensure the one metre gaps around each plant will fill and make a hedge rather than just a dozen upright separate plants. I am hoping I am pruning correctly and that it does indeed form a hedge!

  • I will definitely post pics as the growing commences! Thanks!