Top 10 Trees for Beautifully Structured Hedges

Pleaching, an ancient technique of training trees into elegant and structured hedges, adds a touch of timeless beauty to any landscape. Whether you’re seeking privacy, defining boundaries, or creating an eye-catching focal point, pleached trees are a great solution. In this article, we explore the top 10 trees that excel in pleaching, specifically for the UK climate. From classic favorites to lesser-known gems. We will walk you through options that provide structure and formality. As well as enhance the natural charm of your outdoor space.

Pleached Trees in Garden Design - Shutterstock

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Hornbeam trees (Carpinus betulus) are a popular choice for pleaching. They provide a unique blend of adaptability, strength, and visual appeal. As an extremely hardy species, Hornbeam trees can thrive in a variety of soil conditions and climates.

Hornbeam trees form a lush screen, and their leaves often stay through winter, ensuring year-round privacy.

Their naturally symmetrical growth further enhances their suitability for geometric pleached designs. Their fast-growing nature allows them to quickly establish themselves which is great if you’re looking for privacy. Their smooth, gray bark provides an attractive contrast in the winter months. Hornbeam trees offer both practicality and beauty for your garden.

Pleached Hornbeam Trees - Harrod Outdoors Archive

Beech trees (Fagus) are an excellent choice for pleaching due to their unique combination of durability, aesthetics, and resilience. Beech trees are known for their lush, dense canopy of leaves and it’s year round appeal.  Beech trees are incredibly tolerant of heavy pruning, a vital characteristic for pleached specimens that need regular and significant shaping.

Moreover, these deciduous trees retain their dead leaves through much of the winter, providing year-round privacy and a distinctive golden brown winter appearance. Resistant to most diseases and pests, Beech trees ensure robust health with minimum maintenance. 

Pleached Beech Trees - Harrod Outdoors Archive

Portuguese Laurel trees (Prunus lusitanica) are an ideal choice for pleaching. They are a perfect blend of durability and aesthetics. This evergreen tree offers year-round privacy, with its glossy dark green leaves providing a vibrant contrast against the tree’s red stems.

Resilient against pollution and different weather conditions, Portuguese Laurel trees are perfectly suited for urban gardens. They’re tolerant to rigorous pruning and have modest water requirements. 

 If you’re seeking to maximize the aesthetic charm and privacy of your garden, Portuguese Laurel’s versatility makes it a top pick for pleaching.

Portuguese Laurel Tree - Shutterstock

Novita Laurel  (Prunus laurocerasus ‘Novita’) is a top choice for pleaching, combining elegance, durability, and adaptability. As an evergreen variety, Novita Laurel offers a dense, glossy foliage that ensures year-round privacy and makes it an ideal candidate for creating striking pleached screens or hedges. Resistant to both harsh weather conditions and pollution, Novita Laurel is particularly well-suited for urban and suburban gardens, offering robust growth in a range of soil types. Its tolerance to significant pruning is crucial for the careful shaping required in pleaching.

For readers searching for a stylish yet practical solution to enhance their garden’s privacy and aesthetic appeal, Novita Laurel’s unique blend of beauty and resilience will undoubtedly make their pleaching projects shine.

Pleached Novita Laurel Trees - Harro Outdoors Archive

Red Robin , or Photinia fraseri ‘Red Robin’, are a fantastic choice for pleaching, offering a unique fusion of vibrant aesthetics, resilience, and easy maintenance. Famous for their striking red young foliage in the spring, which matures into a lush, glossy green, Red Robin trees create a colorful and eye-catching pleached display.

They can withstand different environmental conditions and flourish in a variety of soil types, making them versatile for various garden settings. Red Robins are also hardy against pruning, an essential characteristic for the substantial shaping required in pleaching.

For anyone looking to introduce an element of year-round colour and dense foliage to their garden privacy, the Red Robin tree’s unique combination of visual appeal and robustness makes it an excellent candidate for pleaching.

Photinia Red Robin Pleached Trees - Harrod Outdoors Archive

Lime trees, also known as Tilia or Linden trees, are an excellent choice for pleaching, providing a distinctive blend of elegance, sturdiness, and versatility. Renowned for their dense, lush foliage and fragrant summer flowers, Lime bring a unique aesthetic touch to any garden, making pleached screens or hedges an attractive feature.

Their adaptability to various soil types and environmental conditions ensures they flourish in different garden settings. The trees’ inherent tolerance to rigorous pruning, a necessity for the structured shaping involved in pleaching, makes them a top choice for this gardening technique.

Lime Pleached Tree - Shutterstock

Plane trees, including the popular Platanus x acerifolia or London Plane, make a superb choice for pleaching due to their robust growth, adaptability, and distinctive aesthetic. Plane trees are known for their impressive stature and ability to withstand heavy pruning, crucial for the significant shaping required in pleaching.

For readers seeking a reliable, visually pleasing tree that excels in urban environments, the Plane tree is an ideal choice for pleaching that will boost both the privacy and aesthetic appeal of their gardens.

Trained London Plane Trees - Shutterstock

Sweet Chestnut trees (Castanea sativa) are an outstanding choice for pleaching, combining resilience, adaptability, and aesthetic appeal. Known for their large, glossy leaves, Sweet Chestnut trees create a dense canopy that offers a high degree of privacy, making them ideal for pleached screens or hedges.

They flourish in various soil types and conditions, demonstrating versatility for different garden settings. Crucially, Sweet Chestnut trees can tolerate substantial pruning, a key attribute for the meticulous shaping involved in pleaching.

For readers seeking a robust, functional, and beautiful tree for their pleaching projects, the Sweet Chestnut offers a unique blend of attributes that will enhance the privacy and aesthetic charm of their gardens.

Sweet Chestnut Tree - Shutterstock

Field Maple trees (Acer campestre) are an exceptional selection for pleaching, providing a harmonious blend of hardiness, visual appeal, and ecological benefits. Field Maples are notably tolerant of hard pruning, an essential aspect of pleaching’s systematic shaping process.

They are known for their vivid, yellow-green leaves that turn golden in the fall, creating a stunning display of seasonal color. Being native to many parts of Europe, Field Maples are adept at thriving in a variety of soil types and climatic conditions, ensuring robust growth in diverse garden settings.

By selecting Field Maple for pleaching, gardeners can enjoy not only enhanced privacy and seasonal beauty but also the satisfaction of contributing positively to local ecosystems.

Pleached Field Maple - Shutterstock

Holly trees (Ilex aquifolium) present a striking and unique choice for pleaching, marrying robustness, year-round beauty, and wildlife-friendly features. Holly’s dense growth habit and ability to withstand harsh pruning make it an excellent fit for the intricate shaping involved in pleaching.

Unlike many other choices, Holly is an evergreen, ensuring constant privacy with its thick, glossy leaves even during the colder months. 

If you are looking for a pleaching candidate that offers year-round privacy, striking visual interest, and ecological benefits, Holly trees could be the unique solution you’ve been seeking.

Pyramid Shaped Holly - Shutterstock

Pleaching allows you to create stunning and structured hedges in your outdoor space. From classic choices like Hornbeam and Beech to the evergreen beauty of Portuguese Laurel, Cherry Laurel, and Red Robin, each tree has specific soil and light requirements. By understanding their needs and following proper care practices, including regular pruning at the appropriate times, you can create enchanting pleached hedges that enhance the natural charm of your landscape, providing beauty, privacy, and a touch of elegance.