Which Evergreen Hedging and Screening Should I Choose?
A few suggestions:
• The Laurels are very tough, several varieties will grow in horrible soils and dry, shady sites, and can be hard pruned for lush re-growth.
• Yew is the best native evergreen, formal hedging plant there is for dark green backdrops, and unlike most evergreens with needle-shaped leaves, it grows back from old wood.
• Holly and pyracantha carry berries and prickles, making secure and decorative barriers.
• Leylandii is so vigorous and can grow so tall that the "High Hedges Act" (Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003: Part 8, to give it its proper name) was practically written for it. Despite its reputation, it is a superb hedge or tall screening plant as long as you maintain it.
• Box is native slow growing, clips beautifully, and is perfect for topiary.
• Privet is the most popular urban hedge for good reason: cheap, reliable, versatile, and immune to pollution.
• The big conifers like Scots pine and Douglas or Grand fir trees will make good screening down to ground level for many years until they develop into mature trees, but there are more compact, slow growing species like the Korean fir that suit most gardens.
Lavender deserves a special mention, as it is often grown in rows of edging, creating a low ornamental "flower hedge" with its tall stalks.
Why have my new Evergreen Plants dropped their leaves?
Newly transplanted evergreens sometimes drop their leaves in the year after planting. This is quite common and healthy for the plant's root establishment.
As long as the soil has remained at least a little moist (i.e. not seriously dried out, nor waterlogged for an extended period), there is nothing to do except wait patiently for them to leaf out again.