Laurel Hedge Pros And Cons


The pros and cons of laurel hedges are: they provide privacy and aesthetic appeal, but require regular maintenance. Laurel hedges create a natural privacy screen and add beauty to the landscape.

However, they need pruning, watering, and regular care to maintain their shape and health. Additionally, they can become overcrowded and attract pests if not properly maintained. Keep reading to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of laurel hedges.

Laurel Hedge Pros And Cons


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Common Varieties

English Laurel (Prunus Laurocerasus)

English laurel, also known by its scientific name prunus laurocerasus, is a popular choice among homeowners for creating lush hedges. This evergreen shrub originates from regions such as the black sea and the eastern mediterranean. Here are some key points to consider when it comes to english laurel:

  • Broad, glossy leaves: English laurel boasts beautiful, shiny, dark green foliage that adds a touch of elegance to any garden.
  • Fast-growing: If you’re looking to establish a dense hedge quickly, english laurel is an excellent option. Its rapid growth rate allows you to achieve privacy and beauty in a relatively short period.
  • Tolerates shade: English laurel can thrive in both full sun and partial shade, making it versatile for various garden settings.
  • Wildlife-friendly: The dense foliage of english laurel provides a safe haven for birds and other small wildlife.

Portuguese Laurel (Prunus Lusitanica)

Prunus lusitanica, commonly known as portuguese laurel, is another popular choice for hedging purposes. Native to portugal and spain, this evergreen shrub offers its unique set of characteristics:

  • Attractive flowers and fruits: Portuguese laurel produces clusters of fragrant white flowers, which eventually give way to small red fruits. These fruits not only add visual interest but also attract birds and wildlife to your garden.
  • Tolerates a range of soil conditions: Portuguese laurel can adapt to different soil types, including clay and chalk, making it suitable for a wide range of environments.
  • Disease and pest resistance: This variety of laurel is known for its resilience against common pests and diseases, which means less worry and maintenance for you.

Cherry Laurel (Prunus Laurocerasus ‘Schipkaensis’)

Cherry laurel, scientifically known as prunus laurocerasus ‘schipkaensis,’ is a compact and dense evergreen shrub perfect for hedge planting. Its notable features include:

  • Dense foliage: The dense, glossy green leaves of cherry laurel create a dense barrier, offering privacy and noise reduction.
  • Cold hardy: This variety is known for its ability to tolerate cold weather, making it an ideal option for regions with harsh winters.
  • Low maintenance: Cherry laurel requires minimal care once established. It is relatively drought-tolerant once its root system is established, reducing the need for constant watering.

Mountain Laurel (Kalmia Latifolia)

Mountain laurel, scientifically referred to as kalmia latifolia, is a broadleaf evergreen shrub native to the eastern united states. While it differs from the previous varieties mentioned, it offers unique advantages for hedge planting:

  • Striking flowers: Mountain laurel produces gorgeous clusters of flowers in various shades, including pink, white, and red. These blooms add a splash of color and attract pollinators to your garden.
  • Pest and disease resistance: Mountain laurel is relatively resistant to pests and diseases, making it a low-maintenance option.
  • Wildlife-friendly: The flowers of mountain laurel attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, creating a vibrant and lively ecosystem within your garden.

Whether you choose the english laurel, portuguese laurel, cherry laurel, or mountain laurel, each variety has its own set of advantages that can enhance your garden and provide privacy. Consider your specific needs and preferences to choose the laurel hedge that best suits your requirements.

Native Alternatives

Bayberry (Myrica Pensylvanica)

Bayberry is a native shrub that can be a great alternative to laurel hedges. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Diverse benefits: Bayberry not only provides privacy and an attractive appearance but also offers other advantages such as erosion control and wildlife habitat.
  • Low maintenance: This native alternative requires minimal pruning and is more resistant to pests and diseases compared to laurel hedges.
  • Fragrant foliage: Bayberry leaves emit a pleasant fragrance when rubbed, enhancing the sensory experience in your garden.
  • Soil stabilization: With its ability to thrive in poor or sandy soils, bayberry helps stabilize the ground and prevent erosion.
  • Wildlife attractor: The berries of this shrub serve as a valuable food source for birds and other wildlife, making your garden a haven for biodiversity.

Inkberry (Ilex Glabra)

Another excellent native alternative to laurel hedges is inkberry. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Evergreen appeal: Inkberry boasts glossy, dark green foliage that retains its color throughout the year, ensuring a visually appealing hedge.
  • Tolerant of various conditions: This native shrub can adapt to different soil types, moisture levels, and light conditions, making it versatile and resilient.
  • Attracts wildlife: Similar to bayberry, inkberry produces berries that birds love to feast on, contributing to a thriving ecosystem in your garden.
  • Compact growth: Inkberry grows in a compact and dense manner, allowing you to achieve a solid hedge with minimal effort.
  • Low maintenance: With its natural resistance to pests and diseases, inkberry requires less maintenance, saving you time and effort in the long run.

Wintergreen (Gaultheria Procumbens)

Wintergreen, a low-growing evergreen shrub, offers yet another appealing option as a laurel hedge alternative:

  • Groundcover versatility: Wintergreen can be used as a groundcover or a low hedge, adding texture and visual interest to your landscape.
  • Aromatic foliage: The leaves of wintergreen release a delightful fragrance when crushed, creating a pleasant sensory experience in your garden.
  • Cold hardy: This native plant can tolerate frigid temperatures, making it suitable for colder regions where laurel hedges might struggle.
  • Beautiful berries: Wintergreen produces bright red berries that persist through the winter, adding vibrant color to your garden during the colder months.
  • Medicinal uses: The leaves of wintergreen contain an essential oil that has been used for its analgesic properties, providing potential health benefits.

Consider these native alternatives to laurel hedges when planning your garden, as they offer unique benefits, contribute to ecosystem health, and require less maintenance than traditional options.


Privacy Screening

Thick, Dense Foliage Provides Excellent Privacy

One of the key advantages of using a laurel hedge as a privacy screen is its thick and dense foliage. It forms a lush green barrier that effectively shields your property from prying eyes. With its dense growth habit, the laurel hedge creates a visual barrier that ensures your privacy and seclusion.

It’s a natural alternative to fences or walls, giving you a sense of security while still maintaining an aesthetic appeal.

  • The foliage of a laurel hedge is dense and thick, providing a high level of privacy.
  • It creates a visual barrier that keeps your property hidden from view.
  • The thick growth prevents people from seeing inside your yard or home.
  • With its privacy-enhancing qualities, a laurel hedge can transform your outdoor spaces into private sanctuaries.

Acts As A Natural Barrier Against Noise And Wind

In addition to providing privacy, a laurel hedge also acts as an effective natural barrier against noise and wind. Its dense foliage absorbs sound, reducing the amount of noise that reaches your property. This is particularly beneficial if you live in a noisy neighborhood or near a busy road.

Furthermore, the hedge helps to block wind, creating a more sheltered and peaceful outdoor environment.

  • The dense foliage of a laurel hedge acts as a sound-absorbing barrier, reducing noise levels.
  • It minimizes the impact of external noises, creating a more tranquil atmosphere.
  • The hedge also serves as a windbreak, buffering your property against strong gusts.
  • By acting as a natural barrier, a laurel hedge helps to create a calm and peaceful outdoor space.

A laurel hedge offers more than just an attractive boundary for your property; it also serves as an effective privacy screen. With its thick foliage and ability to block noise and wind, it provides a sense of seclusion and tranquility.

Whether you want to shield your backyard from prying eyes or create a peaceful outdoor sanctuary, a laurel hedge is an excellent choice.

Visual Appeal

Laurel hedges not only provide privacy and security, but they also enhance the visual appeal of any landscape. The attractive evergreen leaves of laurel hedges create a stunning display of color and texture throughout the year. Additionally, these hedges offer the flexibility to be pruned into different shapes and sizes, allowing for customization to suit individual preferences.

Here’s a closer look at the visual appeal of laurel hedges:

Attractive Evergreen Leaves Provide Year-Round Color And Texture

  • The glossy, dark green leaves of laurel hedges stay vibrant and lush all year long, adding a touch of elegance to any outdoor space.
  • The robust foliage creates a dense barrier, ensuring privacy while offering an aesthetically pleasing backdrop for other plants or garden features.
  • Laurel hedges have a consistent and uniform appearance, guaranteeing a polished and well-maintained look throughout the seasons.

Pruning Options Allow For Different Shapes And Sizes

  • Laurel hedges can be pruned and shaped to fit various landscaping designs, including formal hedges, topiaries, or more natural-looking borders.
  • With proper pruning techniques, these hedges can be maintained at the desired height and width, allowing for versatile applications in different areas of the garden.
  • Depending on the preference, laurel hedges can be sculpted into geometric shapes, such as cubes or spheres, to add structure and visual interest to the landscape.
  • Pruning also helps promote healthy growth and prevents the hedge from becoming overgrown or unruly.

Laurel hedges offer an array of visual benefits that can enhance the overall appeal of any outdoor space. Their attractive evergreen leaves provide year-round color and texture, while the flexibility of pruning options allows for customization and creativity in shaping.

Whether you’re looking to create privacy, add structure, or simply elevate the aesthetic of your garden, laurel hedges are an excellent choice.

Versatility And Fast Growth

Laurel hedges are a popular choice for gardens due to their many advantages. In this section, we will discuss the versatility and fast growth of laurel hedges.

Suitable For Formal Or Informal Garden Designs

Laurel hedges are incredibly versatile and can complement various garden designs, whether you prefer a formal or informal style. Here are some reasons why laurel hedges are suitable for both:

  • Versatile aesthetics: Laurel hedges can be easily shaped and trimmed to maintain a formal appearance, with clean lines and neatly clipped edges. On the other hand, if you prefer a more relaxed and natural-looking garden, laurel hedges can also be left to grow more freely, adding a touch of informality and softness.
  • Seamless integration: Laurel hedges blend well with other plants and elements in the garden, making them suitable for both formal and informal designs. Whether you have a structured garden layout with rigid borders or a more whimsical arrangement, laurel hedges can adapt and enhance the overall design.

Quick Growth Rate Allows For Quicker Results Compared To Other Hedges

One of the standout advantages of laurel hedges is their fast growth rate. This rapid growth enables you to see results sooner, making laurel hedges an appealing choice for many gardeners. Here are some reasons why the quick growth rate of laurel hedges is beneficial:

  • Time-saving: If you’re looking to establish a hedge quickly, laurel hedges are an excellent option. With their fast growth rate, you can achieve a full and dense hedge in less time compared to other hedge varieties.
  • Privacy and screening: Laurel hedges are an ideal choice if you want to create a natural privacy screen in your garden. The fast growth rate ensures that your hedge will reach the desired height sooner, providing the necessary privacy and blocking undesirable views.
  • Lower maintenance: With their quick growth, laurel hedges require less time and effort to maintain. Once established, they can fill in gaps and cover any bare areas quickly, eliminating the need for constant pruning and trimming.

Laurel hedges boast exceptional versatility, allowing them to adapt to both formal and informal garden designs. Their fast growth rate ensures quicker results, making them a time-saving option for those looking to establish a lush hedge.

Maintenance Requirements

Laurel hedges are a popular choice for creating privacy and defining boundaries in outdoor spaces. They offer numerous benefits, but like any plant, they also have their maintenance requirements. Regular pruning is necessary to keep hedges looking tidy, and trimming can be time-consuming and labor-intensive.

Let’s take a closer look at the maintenance requirements of laurel hedges:

Regular Pruning Is Necessary To Keep Hedges Looking Tidy:

  • Pruning helps maintain the desired shape and size of the hedge.
  • It promotes healthy growth by removing dead or damaged branches.
  • Trim the hedge at least once or twice a year to encourage dense foliage.
  • Regular pruning prevents the hedge from becoming overgrown and unkempt.

Trimming Can Be Time-Consuming And Labor-Intensive:

  • Laurel hedges can grow quickly, requiring frequent maintenance.
  • Trimming the hedge can be an arduous task, especially for larger or taller hedges.
  • It requires the use of proper tools, such as hedge trimmers or shears, and a steady hand.
  • You may need to invest significant time and effort to ensure an even and well-maintained appearance.

Overall, while laurel hedges offer lush, green beauty and privacy to outdoor spaces, their maintenance requirements should be considered. Regular pruning is necessary to keep the hedges looking neat and well-kept, but it can be a time-consuming and physically demanding task.

However, the rewards of a beautifully maintained laurel hedge can greatly enhance the aesthetics of your outdoor space.

Invasive Potential

Some Laurel Hedge Varieties Can Become Invasive In Certain Regions

Laurel hedges are popular choices for landscaping due to their lush green foliage and ability to create natural privacy barriers. However, it is important to consider the invasive potential of certain laurel hedge varieties before incorporating them into your garden.

Here are some key points to understand about the invasive nature of these hedges:

  • Spread through seeds: Some laurel hedge varieties have a tendency to spread rapidly through seeds. This can result in the hedges establishing themselves in areas where they are not desired. The seeds can be dispersed by birds, wind, or even water, contributing to their invasive behavior.
  • Outcompete native plant species: Once established, invasive laurel hedges have the potential to outcompete native plant species in their vicinity. They often grow vigorously and can create dense thickets, shading out other plants and reducing biodiversity. This can disrupt the natural balance of an ecosystem and impact local wildlife.
  • Regional suitability: The invasive potential of laurel hedges varies across different regions. While they may be relatively well-behaved in one area, they can become highly invasive in another. Factors such as climate, soil conditions, and local biodiversity play a role in determining how aggressively laurel hedges can spread.
  • Management and containment: If you decide to plant a laurel hedge, it is essential to properly manage and contain its growth to prevent it from becoming invasive. Regular pruning, monitoring for seedlings, and ensuring that the hedge does not encroach on natural habitats can help minimize their impact on the surrounding environment.
  • Check local regulations: Before planting any laurel hedge variety, it is crucial to check local regulations and guidelines regarding invasive species. Some regions may have restrictions or recommendations on specific laurel hedge varieties that should be avoided or managed cautiously.
  • Consider alternatives: If you are concerned about the invasive potential of laurel hedges but still desire a similar aesthetic, there are alternative hedge plant options to consider. Research native plant species or non-invasive hedge varieties that can provide you with the privacy or green backdrop you desire without the risk of invasiveness.

By understanding the invasive potential of laurel hedge varieties and taking appropriate measures to prevent their spread, you can enjoy the beauty and functionality of these hedges while minimizing their impact on the environment. Always ensure responsible gardening practices to protect the local ecosystem and uphold the principles of sustainability.

Potential Allergies And Toxicity

Laurel Leaves And Berries Can Cause Allergic Reactions In Some Individuals

Many people enjoy the beauty and privacy that laurel hedges bring to their gardens. However, it’s important to be aware of the potential allergenic and toxic properties of laurel leaves and berries. While not everyone may experience adverse reactions, it’s essential to understand the potential risks for those who may be sensitive.

Here are some key points regarding potential allergies and toxicity associated with laurel hedges:

  • Allergic reactions:
  • Laurel leaves and berries have been known to cause allergic reactions in certain individuals.
  • Some common symptoms include skin irritation, itching, redness, or rash upon contact with the leaves or berries.
  • Allergy sufferers may also experience respiratory issues such as sneezing, coughing, or difficulty breathing when exposed to laurel hedge foliage.
  • It is advisable to wear gloves and protective clothing when handling laurel plants to minimize the risk of skin irritation or allergic reactions.
  • Toxicity:
  • Ingesting laurel berries can be toxic to humans and animals.
  • The berries contain certain compounds, such as cyanide-like substances and glycosides, that can be harmful if consumed in large quantities.
  • Symptoms of berry ingestion may include abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and in severe cases, difficulty breathing or even coma.
  • If accidental ingestion occurs, seek immediate medical attention and bring a sample of the plant or berries for identification.

While laurel hedges can be a beautiful addition to any garden, it’s vital to be aware of the potential allergies and toxicity associated with the plant. Taking necessary precautions and being mindful of the risks can help ensure a safe and enjoyable gardening experience for everyone involved.

Frequently Asked Questions Of Laurel Hedge Pros And Cons

What Are The Advantages Of Having A Laurel Hedge?

A laurel hedge offers privacy, noise reduction, and wind protection. It also creates an attractive visual barrier and can add value to your property.

Are Laurel Hedges Easy To Maintain?

Yes, laurel hedges are relatively low maintenance. They require regular pruning to maintain shape and density. Some watering and fertilization may be needed during dry periods.

Can A Laurel Hedge Attract Wildlife?

Yes, a laurel hedge can attract a variety of wildlife. Birds may nest in the dense branches, and insects may be drawn to the flowers and foliage. It can create a mini ecosystem in your garden.

How Fast Do Laurel Hedges Grow?

Laurel hedges are known for their fast growth rate. On average, they can grow about 1 to 2 feet per year, giving you a lush, dense hedge in a relatively short amount of time.

Are There Any Downsides To Having A Laurel Hedge?

Some potential downsides of laurel hedges include their invasive nature, as they can spread rapidly if not properly maintained. They also require regular pruning and can be susceptible to certain diseases.

Can Laurel Hedges Be Used For Topiary?

Yes, laurel hedges can be shaped into topiary forms with regular trimming and shaping. They have dense foliage and flexible branches, making them suitable for various topiary designs.


Laurel hedges offer numerous advantages and a few drawbacks for homeowners and garden enthusiasts. Their thick foliage provides privacy, sound insulation, and acts as a natural windbreak. Additionally, the hedge acts as a habitat for birds and insects, inviting biodiversity into your garden.

Laurel hedges also require low maintenance, tolerating a range of soil and weather conditions. However, it’s important to consider the potential downsides too. Laurel hedges can be invasive and require regular pruning to prevent them from becoming unruly. Their rapid growth can also overshadow surrounding plants, resulting in competition for sunlight and resources.

Furthermore, the toxicity of the leaves requires careful consideration if you have pets or young children. Ultimately, when choosing a hedge, it’s crucial to weigh the pros and cons of laurel hedges to ensure it aligns with your specific needs and preferences.


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