Living fences

North Somerset declared a climate emergency at the beginning of 2019. Since then, we’ve been looking at ways to become carbon neutral.

An easy way to reduce your carbon footprint is to install a living fence. More and more people are swapping the traditional timber options for green durable landscaping, adding value onto homes in the process.

Living fences protect soil, are less expensive than timber fences, provide wildlife habitat, absorb carbon as it grows and offers privacy from neighbours and street traffic. As ecological conditions change, and conservation becomes a more pressing issue, landscaping techniques are evolving, and more and more people are starting to use living fences.

Benefits of living fences

A living fence is a permanent hedge tight enough and tough enough to serve almost any of the functions of a manufactured timber fence. Depending on the species you choose, living fences can also provide food and shelter for local wildlife.

Choosing a timber fence can often look harsh and sometimes ugly, breaking up the natural character of a street or a road. In addition, you need planning permission if your timber fence height, including trellis, exceeds two metres above ground level or one metre if you live next to a highway or footpath.

A living fence does not require planning permission.

Other benefits of planting a living fence include:

  • Provides privacy from street traffic and neighbours
  • Creates a sound barrier to reduce noise
  • Acts as a windbreak to protect against harsh winds
  • Helps the environment reducing CO2
  • Adds value onto your property

Types of hedges

There are many options to chose from when planning your living fence.

  • Beech – otherwise known as Fagus Sylvatica, are a popular hedging species with bright and fluttery leaves with wavy edges
  • Native mix – Hawthorn, Blackthorn, Hazel, Geulder Rose, Spindle and Holly will create a healthy ecosystem and provide a safe haven for birds, butterflies, moths and small mammals. Offering pretty flowers, evergreen foliage and autumn colour, a native mix offers something for the eye all year round.
  • Yew – with a dense evergreen foliage, Yew makes a great, lasting canvas with privacy screening and noise reduction. The low maintenance hedging plant can be kept in top shape by pruning just once a year.