Before the Plant Decision, Consider the Following

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Know Your Aspect:

  • Grab a compass (or download one to your Smart phone)
  • Stand in the centre of your proposed hedge and figure out whether it’s MORE on the northern or southern side of tall objects, such as houses, fences and tree and plant foliage.
  • A crude calculation is to multiply the height of any object by 1.5. This will give an approximate shadow length in the middle of winter (this will, of course, differ depending on location).
  • Tip: Aspect is generally more important for hedges grown against fences or houses rather than front boundary hedges which will normally have a greater setback from solid objects.


  • Check your local Council’s DCP for any height or species restrictions.
  • Keep it neighbourly – talk to them first rather than face problems later.
  • Exactly where is your property’s boundary? Sounds obvious huh? It’s more of an issue on strange shaped blocks. This is, however, one grey area where hedges have a little “wiggle room” compared to solid structures like fences.
  • DIAL BEFORE YOU DIG: find out what’s beneath your proposed hedge location at or dial 1100.

Know Your Soil:

  • Dig a hole on your hedge line that is approximately 30cm deep by 60cm wide, trying to ensure the hole is as “cube-shaped” as possible. It’s preferable to do this after a dry week.
  • Fill it with water¬† (right to the brim) and see how long it takes to drain completely.
  • If it drains completely in 1-10 minutes, it’s too dry/sandy and needs help; 10-30 minutes, drainage is good; 30 minutes out to 4 hours, drainage is good to slow and could use help; over 4 hours is a serious clay problem requiring more of an over-haul.
  • Good News: any problem soil can be improved. Even good draining soil could do with some improvement before planting.