Looking to create a private oasis along your property without isolating the neighbors? Adding in a hedge or a fence elevates both privacy and style.
But, which option is right for your new home? Multiple factors do play a role in which choice works best. Shrubs and fences require different maintenance and also hit various price points, depending on budget and lifestyle.
Costs, lot size, and location can all influence the decision. Lifestyle plays a major role, too. If your goal is to keep kids and pets in and people out, a fence is a safer, sturdier option. However, hedges and shrubbery add aesthetic appeal and greenery to the home’s entire lot.
Is a hedge or a fence the right choice for you and your home? Before making your decision, do your due diligence with the right tools and specs. You’ll want to determine how much of your yard’s boundary will require a fence or a shrub. From there, take note of your lifestyle and the realistic amount of time or resources you can devote to maintaining a hedge or a fence. For example, homeowners with busier lifestyles or frequent travel plans might not have the time required for pruning. Or, they’ll have to add in a semi-regular gardener fee to their budget.
Whether any homeowner moves forward with shrubbery or a fence, the goal is to achieve balance with privacy, style, and safety. Read our comprehensive guide below for the dish on shrubbery and fencing.
Shrubbery and Hedges: Consideration, Options, and Pricing
The beauty of shrubbery is unparalleled – plants provide lush texture and color to any yard. A mix of hedges, shrubbery, and even trees dramatically reduces noise and dust, and even purifies the air. Hedges will provide natural shade under a blazing sun, creating a cooler and tempered yard space.
Hedges can be a delightful, eco-friendly privacy addition. You will want to check if your town or city has height restrictions on privacy hedges; some guidelines state they must be no taller than six feet. The types of plants you choose will depend on the climate where you live. In the spring and summer, when the leaves on deciduous plants are in bloom, you will enjoy more privacy with less noise. While they provide shade and block out light, they aren’t as robust or leafy. Lush evergreen plants offer year-round privacy. They grow tighter and thicker, creating a fuller barrier between yards or roads.
Hedges can vary in cost. Shrubs can range from $25 to $45 for small individual plants, and hedges can cost $200+ per square foot. A landscaper will charge an hourly fee to install the plants, which can cost between $40 to $80 per hour.
The downside of hedges? Beauty requires space. A small shrub needs at least three feet to expand, while larger shrubs and hedges can grow outwards of eight or more feet. A landscaper may need 20 hours to plant your hedges.
Shrubs are a great asset to any home, but they aren’t in any hurry to mature and reach their full growth cycle. So, unlike fences, privacy is not instantaneous or even permanent. Hedges need ongoing care and trimming to stay healthy and nourished. Regular maintenance can be time consuming. And if a homeowner opts to hire a gardening service to maintain hedges and the lawn, it can be an added expense.
Fencing: Consideration, Options, and Pricing
Keeping your home tidy and safe seems like the ultimate no-brainer with a fence. This option installs fast and creates much more privacy and safety at a moment’s notice.
Fences allow pets and young children the freedom to safely go in and out. They are typically six feet tall and occupy between 10 and 12 inches on the ground. Fences can also come in various styles, heights, widths, and materials to mirror your home’s visual style. Materials are commonly wood, iron, chain-link, and vinyl. Fencing costs can start at $5 per square foot and go as high as $20 per square foot. The average installation cost is between $1,400 and $3,200.
Fences work best in any size lot space, especially in smaller and cozier yards. It can be hard to delineate space in small yards since the houses may be close together. Hedges can also grow quickly and encroach on the neighbor’s space. But fences are permanent dividers that require little maintenance in comparison to shrubs.
Does fencing have any restrictions or drawbacks? You will need to confirm with your town or city, as each may have its own restrictions. And it may depend on where your newly built home is located. Always check with community boards and associations for proper specs and permits, if needed.
Some folks might also consider fencing to have limitations, making the yard feel smaller because it’s enclosed. Fences can look more severe and aren’t as aesthetically pleasing because they obscure outdoor features like shrubs, plants, and gardens.
Still not sure which option is the best fit? Good news: you can install a mix of shrubbery alongside a fence to get the best balance between greenery and privacy for you.
Stephanie Valente is a Content Director and Editor in Brooklyn, NY. She’s previously held writing and social media positions at Barkbox, Men’s Journal, and currently works at a full-service advertising agency. She’s a self-confessed home and design enthusiast. Stephanie is an award-winning poet and fiction writer. When she’s offline, you can find her taking a yoga class, running, hanging out with her rescue dog Pepper. Find her on stephanievalente.com.