The Best Skinny Hedges For Small Spaces
With more new houses being built right up to boundary lines, it gets harder and harder to plant a garden.

We want privacy hedges to screen us from the neighbours, and to provide cooling shade - but which hedge plants will fit into these tight spaces?

We've selected some of our favourite narrow-profile hedging plants to squeeze into your garden.
They make great solutions for driveways and path edgings too!


Slim Hedges


Slim bottlebrush

Most hedges are wide and bushy, and that's part of their appeal - especially if you're a bird looking for shelter from the cold or wind.

Not every gardener has space for a broad bushy hedge, especially in urban gardens where space is limited.

Yet in urban gardens, privacy screens and hedges are even more important - to block out the neighbours and hide roads from view.

To solve this problem, there are a few excellent new hedging plant cultivars that have been specially bred by Australian plant breeders Ozbreed to grow upright and narrow, designed for street planting, screening, and squeezing into small suburban back yards.


Thin Red photinia

Living up to its name, Callistemon Slim™ is a tall and slender bottlebrush with abundant red flowers that lure in the native wildlife.

At less than a metre and a half wide, and twice as tall, Slim™ is a privacy screen that provides beauty and interest, while blocking out the neighbours.


Also well-named, scarlet-leaved Photinia Thin Red™ gives you year-round foliage colour, and a super-slender profile.

As tall as Callistemon Slim, and a third as wide, it slips into the very smallest of spaces.

Thin Red™ is perfect if you love the popular Photinia Red Robin hedging with its bright leaf colour, but don't fancy the fortnightly pruning to keep it skinny enough for a small space.



If you need a slender hedge to squeeze into a small space, but you don't need a high privacy screen, then euonymus (say it you-onny-muss)are a tailor-made choice.

Neat evergreen leaves, dense upright habit, slim profile, and bright colour make these knee-high shrubs ideal for stepover hedges.


Also neat, petite, and evergreen, Ilex Sky Pencil is an unusual holly with smooth rounded leaves - no prickles! - in deep forest green, and a very skinny silhouette.

For something brighter, Berberis Helmond Pillar gives you tall and slender hedging, with the bonus of rich wine-purple leaves all year round.

Both are fairly slow growing, but that means you won't have to prune so much!



Skinny Syzygium


Straight and Narrow

Syzygium - our native lilly pilly - is one of Australia's most popular hedging plants, for its dense evergreen foliage, fluffy white flowers, and bright bird-friendly berries.

Most lilly pilly hedges are broad and bushy - ideal if you DO want to block the neighbours out!

Ozbreed have developed one that is straight and narrow, that they have named... Straight and Narrow.

It grows naturally upright, and has bright attractive new leaf colour in shades of rust and copper.

Forest Flame

Straight and Narrow will grow up to 8m tall in optimal conditions, providing you with masses of privacy.

It will only grow to around a metre or so wide - as you can see demonstrated in the photo!


Almost as skinny-jeans-slim are the Acmena lilly pillys : Forest Flame, Cherry Surprise, and Firescreen.

Bushy all the way down, with pops of maroon new leaf colour, they'll give you great coverage in tight spaces.

Our young nursery plants in the photo are already showing their slim outlines and rich colour.



Slender Conifers


Juniper Skyrocket

Conifers often grow tall and slender, with a natural elongated teardrop silhouette.

They need very little maintenance and almost no pruning which makes them a wise choice for busy gardeners, and in areas of the garden where access is problematic.

Most conifers are also reliably cold-hardy, happy in southern states where frost and snow are common.

Juniper Skyrocket is well-named, as its branches will make straight for the sky, creating a dense six-metre column of blue-green foliage that will only spread a metre or so wide. It won't need pruning, and you can topiarise it into fun shapes if you are feeling creative.

Its relative, Juniper Spartan, is darker, almost bottle green, and a little shorter and wider.

Both kinds of juniper are very cold hardy, and they make dense privacy screens, excellent noise mufflers alongside busy roads, and handsome feature plants.


Daintree pine

Slipping into slender spaces comes the beautiful blue-leaved leyland cypress Naylor's Blue.
Very fast-growing, tall and thin, it's tough as against salt, pollution, frost and sun.


Native conifers also grow tall and slender, like the fine-leaved Daintree pine shown here.

This native has a lovely natural teardrop outline; at only two metres wide it takes up little space.
Bright apple-green feathery foliage is soft-to-touch if you have to brush past.

It's a rainforest tree from northern Queensland, so it's not totally cold-hardy; protect this one from hard frost or plant it in a container and enjoy it as an alternative Christmas-in-July tree!


Castlewellan Gold

A standout for its bright leaf colour all year round is Castlewellan Gold.
It shoots up to 7m tall, but only fills out to around two and a half metres full grown.

A fresh vibrant lime gold all year round, this will screen out eyesores and not encroach too much on your garden borders or driveway.

A pint-size version, even more lime-yellow in colour, is Cupressus Lemon Scent ; this variety tops out at only 3 metres tall, and an enviably slim metre and a half wide.

It also has a zesty lemon fragrance if you do brush up against it in a tight spot.

If you want a 'matching' hedge in two heights, these two conifers are a very complementary pairing when planted together, tall and short.


pencil pine

The classic slender conifer has to be the iconic Mediterranean pencil pine - there's nothing quite so glamorous for lining the driveway to your home!

There's better choices if you're after a thick block-the-neighbours-out screen, but if you want to delineate a boundary line or mark a garden border in style, it's an elegant choice.

And at a potential 30m tall yet only a metre or so wide, this has to be the winner of our skinny-hedge competition!