Leylandii: Are you still allowed to plant it?

Leylandii Hedge

Leylandii, also called Leyland Cypress, is still one of our most popular hedging plants. Many people are surprised when we tell them this. It is still planted widely across the UK. Leylandii has a lot of benefits, some of which other hedges do not offer. So the answer is yes, you can still plant Leylandii.

You don’t normally need permission to plant a hedge in your garden. However, there is legislation in place in England, Scotland & Wales to deal with high hedges, so if the hedge is near a neighbour’s house, you may be restricted on how tall you are allowed to grow an evergreen hedge. There is not one rule that determines the height you can grow your hedge to but in general you can grow it to at least 2 metres tall and taller if it is not cutting out light from a neighbour’s house.

Here are the reasons why it is still popular:

Speed of growth – Leylandii is the fastest-growing, evergreen hedging plant. When you want a quick fix for privacy or shelter, a Leylandii hedge will usually do the job faster.

Low price – Leylandii trees are affordable and generally cheaper than all other hedging plants at equivalent sizes (especially larger sizes). This is because they are fast-growing, so they are they reach the desired height at a younger age than other hedging plants. This means that growers don’t have to keep them on the nursery for so long. They don’t have to be potted up as many times as say, a Laurel, to get them to a saleable height. In essence, they don’t cost as much to grow to 6ft (2m) tall or taller as other hedging plants. Most other hedging plants are slower growing and take another year or two on the nursery to grow to 6ft (2m) tall.  The more affordable cost also makes them a convenient alternative to building a fence or a wall.

Evergreen – They keep their foliage (leaves) all year round, looking green and fresh and providing shelter in the winter months, unlike deciduous hedges which either drop their leaves or turn brown. This means that they create a screen for 12 months of the year.

Easy to look after – They can grow in any soil except waterlogged soil and are suitable in sunny or shady sites. While newly planted, Leylandii need to be watered regularly in their first year. Like any tree, they settle in quickly and after a year they can look after themselves. They only need to be trimmed once or twice a year, and if consistently managed like this, they can be kept to whatever size you want.  We recommend keeping them to a size that you can reach without too much trouble as this makes trimming them easier.

Provides excellent shelter – A Leylandii hedge is very hardy and wind tolerant and will make a much more effective windbreak than a fence. The dense foliage also makes them excellent at reducing noise in your garden and house.

Can be taller than a fence – Most fences are only 6ft tall, so if you want a screen that is 8ft tall, then Leylandii may be the better option. If you keep them to a manageable height, it is easy to trim them back to your desired height. If you want the hedge taller than 8ft, you will probably need ladders or to get people in to trim them.

Keeps pollution out – The dense feathery foliage makes them the best option for filtering out particulate air pollution from nearby traffic, preserving the air quality in your garden. This makes Leylandii the best option if you live near a busy road.

Wildlife friendly – Although they don’t flower, a Leylandii hedge is still beneficial for wildlife, being especially popular for birds to nest in.

Different colours – As well as the common green version, there are golden-coloured types of Leylandii such as ‘Castlewellan Gold’ and ‘Excalibur Gold’ if you want something a bit different. They have all the same benefits as green Leylandii, they are just more colourful with shades of golden-yellow.

If you think, Leylandii is the correct option for you. Please see our Leylandii prices and availability here.

Alternatives to Leylandii

If you would prefer not to plant them, here are what we consider to be the best alternatives to Leylandii:

Western Red Cedar (also called Thuja plicata) – This is very similar in look to Leylandii and is recommended by the Royal Horticultural Society. It grows almost as quickly as Leylandii and has many of the benefits of Leylandii, being evergreen and good at filtering out air pollution.

Laurel (also called Cherry Laurel, Common Laurel or Prunus laurocerasus) – if you don’t want a conifer, then Laurel is the next quickest and most affordable option. It is evergreen, so screens all year round with its large glossy leaves.

Portugal Laurel (also called Portuguese Laurel or Prunus lusitanica) – still fast-growing, although not quite as quick as Laurel, Leylandii or Western Red Cedar.  Click here for more information.

Griselinia littoralis – Fast-growing, evergreen hedging plant especially good by the sea but can be grown inland as well. Griselinia grows about the same speed as Portugal Laurel so will form a screen quickly. Click here for more information.

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