Urban landscape design comes with its own unique challenges—function and versatility in a design plan it typically prioritized, along with a desire for plants and design components to be multi-functional as well as beautiful. Installing hedges is a practical way to increase versatility of an urban space while rising to the challenge of creating attractive design in smaller, more confined green spaces.

Small gardens, patios and balconies, even the creation of courtyards and ‘green roofs’ are all enhanced with hedge use. With urban property owners confronted with smaller ‘natural’ spaces in densely packed areas, hedges can create diverse, multi-functional spaces in a variety of design plans—installing a boxwood hedge using low plantings is a simple way to create a courtyard within an existing space and a way to make distinct spaces in smaller gardens and plots.

Many hedge varietals thrive in planters and containers, making them excellent choices for patios and balconies—some hedge shrubs have root structures able to withstand shallower planters, while some varietals can even double as ground cover. Using hedge shrubs and trees in containers allows for easy care and maintenance, ideal for smaller spaces.

Potted hedges can soften the structurally rigid edges of corners found in built courtyards and patios, and placing hedges in containers allows the urban property owner greater planting versatility—with the container hedges as standalone features, the urban designer can increase the amount of shrubs, bushes and trees used.


Hedges can also be layered into planters and containers, allowing for a customizable density. Densely layered container-grown hedges can have a similar practical effect as traditionally grown hedges being used as noise buffers, privacy screens and wind/shade barriers.

Growing hedges in containers and planters is a practical way to make use of otherwise uniquely challenging spaces: everything from narrow parking strips to pet areas can benefit from hedge installation as either privacy screens or simply increasing the aesthetic impact of a ‘green’ space.

Urban spaces with existing structures (fences, walls, poles) can be enhanced with hedges planted against them, acting as an attractive visual screen for structures that can’t be otherwise removed or covered. Many hedge varietals can be eventually trained to cover entire walls, with careful pruning to reveal windows and doorways, and urban designers can choose from a wide variety of blossoming/floral or otherwise visually impactful foliage for coverage appropriate to the structure being covered.

Hedges are also easily installed on ‘living’ or ‘green’ roofs—a building’s roof which has been planted with shallow-rooted vegetation along with irrigation and drainage engineered into the design, which would benefit from the use of a hedge as a soil stabilization method.

Bullet additions for potential table:

  • Incorporate small-scale privacy screens in planters or containers
  • Hedges can cover permanent structures the property owner is unable to remove
  • The use of hedges in containers allows the designer to use more of a variety of hedge plants — creating a diverse aesthetic display.
  • Create a green space instantly on otherwise unsightly features, such as parking strips.
  • Hedges can be used to create screens and rooms in smaller spaces, making an otherwise space multi-functional.
  • Even small balconies can install an InstantHedge, allowing the property owner to create immediate privacy in a densely packed, urban setting.