We have all seen it: the line of arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis and cvs., USDA Hardiness Zones 2–7) marching down the property line, stiff as can be, their heads lopped off because they have grown too tall. Or maybe it’s a boxwood hedge (Buxus spp. and cvs., Zones 6–9), overgrown and shaggy because nobody has the time to keep it trimmed. Plants are a fine alternative to walls and fences when it comes to creating privacy screening and defining boundaries, but the traditional line of conifers or a trimmed hedge can look uncomfortably stark and doesn’t offer much to look at for all the garden space it consumes.
Boundary plantings don’t have to be rigid or dull. Nor do they need to be high maintenance. Informal mixed plantings can define boundaries and create privacy as effectively as any formal hedge while offering a level of interest that a line of junipers…
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