Inside the World of High-End Hedge Design

An organic solution to a question of privacy

Very high hedge
There's probably a pun to be made here about hedging one's bets.
Viola Lopes/picture alliance via Getty Images

When it comes to high-end estates, plenty of homeowners opt for fences or gates — or some combination of the two. But there’s also an argument to be made for a more low-tech barrier that’s both stylish and heightens privacy. That would be the hedge – a design feature that has thousands of years’ worth of history behind it and still looks fantastic, provided it’s properly maintained.

A recent New York Times article explored the ways various celebrities and CEOs have refined the hedge into a rarefied craft, by hiring specialists whose services generally start at $1 million. As Debra Kamin reports, among the well-known names hiring experts in all things landscape-related are Cher, Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne and Ewan McGregor.

Kamin’s article also gets at some of the complex logistics that come with high-end hedges — including figuring out when to plant certain trees and bushes when privacy is a concern.

Los Angeles isn’t the only place where affluent homeowners have sought expansive (and expensive) hedges. Architectural Digest, to cite one example, has offered memorable looks into some of the most eye-catching hedges that can be seen in and around the Hamptons.

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That said, questions of privacy aren’t the only reasons to set up hedges. In 2020, an office building in Düsseldorf was home to a host of hedges, creating an organic facade for the structure and putting a familiar sight in a very different context. Whether in an urban downtown or an exclusive neighborhood, memorable hedge design is a reminder of what can be achieved through acute knowledge of plant life and an eye for design.

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