10 Steps to Install a Staggered Hedge Landscape Feature for Privacy

Learn how to shield your garden, enclose your patio or define an outdoor living space with a double hedgerow of evergreen, flowering or deciduous shrubs.

A staggered hedge is actually two rows of hedge plants located close together and meshing into a single hedgerow. A staggered hedgerow yields an extra thick hedge, which provides shelter for a highly exposed garden or privacy for your yard.

Trees, Flowers for Staggered Hedge Front Yard
Image by Nèg Foto

Staggered hedges are recommended for large hedge plants such as tall shrubs and trees. Choose hedge plants that naturally grow well in your area and do not require special treatment to make maintenance easier.

Planting a staggered hedge correctly helps the hedgerow get off to a good start and further simplifies hedge maintenance.

Here’s what you’ll need to plant your staggered hedgerow:

  • Garden spade
  • Compost or fertilizer
  • Garden fork
  • Knife
  • Mulch
Backyard Staggered Hedge Landscape

10 Steps to Install a Staggered Hedge Landscape Feature for Privacy

Step 1
Dig a V-shaped trench the length of your hedge and 18 inches wide. Make it deep enough to accommodate the roots or root ball of your hedge plants, usually the depth of the spade blade.

Dig a second V-shaped trench parallel to the first whose center is at least 18 inches from the center of the first trench. Now you should have two parallel trenches with a mound of dirt between them.

Step 2
Remove all weeds and plant remnants from the soil of the trenches. With a garden fork, work in compost or a commercial tree and shrub planting fertilizer mixed according to the label directions.

Fork in an all-purpose fertilizer according to directions as well. Spread the fortified soil evenly in the trenches.

Step 3
Research the width of the mature plant. Mark the first trench half this measurement from the end with a small stick or with a mark from the spade.

This will be where you plant the first hedge plant. Mark the rest of the trench at intervals that equal the whole width of the mature plant.

Make the marks slightly closer if you want the growing plants to intertwine a little. Make the marks with even less space between them if you want the plants to intertwine closely when mature.

Step 4
Mark the second trench at intervals exactly between the marks in the first trench.

Step 5
Trim damaged roots off one hedge plant with a sharp knife if it was sold with bare roots.

For a container plant, remove it from the container, keeping the root ball intact.

Step 6
Set the hedge plant at the first mark in the first trench, centering the main stem on the mark.

For bare root plants, spread out the roots and insert it into the soil to the depth it was planted in the nursery. You can see the soil mark on the stem. Pack the soil firmly between and around the roots so that the plant is well supported.

For a container plant, move the trench soil away and set the entire root ball in the hole. Fill in around the root ball and pack firmly.

Step 7
Trim deciduous hedge plants to about 6 or 8 inches tall after planting them. Trim evergreen hedge plants slightly to shape them.

Step 8
Set a hedge plant at each mark in both trenches, following the directions in Step 6.

Step 9
Water the newly planted hedge plants well.

Step 10
Spread 3 inches of mulch under both rows of plants to keep moisture in the soil, discourage weeds and add an extra touch of grooming to your landscape.

Tend the new hedge plants according to their needs. If you choose hedge plants that grow naturally to the size you want the mature hedge to be, long-term maintenance will be easier for you.