SALE: 20% Off Everything Now!
Discount applied automatically at checkout - no code needed

SALE: 20% Off Everything Now!
Automatic discount - no code needed!

Sales & Advice:
01257 263 873
Customer Service:
01257 447 522

Home  Hedging with Colourful Foliage Guide

Hedging with Colourful Foliage Guide

Hedging with Colourful Foliage Guide


A garden design based solely on flowers may create fantastic displays of colours, but is relatively short lived. The main benefit of utilising colourful foliage is that the wonderful shades, shapes and textures, are present for the majority of the year and, if evergreen, remain year round. So forget about the flowers and focus on the foliage by developing the types of plants that provide constant colour, whilst other plants come in and out of bloom. With a huge range of vivid colours, patterns and designs, here at Hedges Direct, we have the best hedging plants with colourful foliage for you.

Green Foliage

Green is the colour us gardeners are most familiar with, but when it comes to garden design, this attractive colour is often deemed less important than the brighter, more dazzling colours that can be obtained. This certainly shouldn't be the case. The shades of green ranging in colour from light to dark green, and even those that have tints of yellow and blue, can have just as much impact and attraction as any other foliage. Plus they work as a great foil for other foliage colour and flowers.

One of our most popular plants for green foliage is Cherry Laurel, also known as Prunus laurocerasus 'Rotundifolia'. This evergreen hedging plant is famous for its large, glossy green leaves that create a wonderful effect when they move simultaneously with the wind. Although it thrives in shaded locations, to highlight its attractive colour, plant Cherry Laurel in a sunny position as the smooth leaves reflect the sunlight, drawing more attention to its beauty. A more subtle, green foliage feature can be achieved with Griselinia littoralis. Its foliage is capable of creating a warm, pleasurable atmosphere within a garden, with its light, apple green colour.

For a smaller scaled, more compact leaf structure that boasts a dark shade of green, consider Privet. The small, oval leaves of this colourful tree not only display a pleasant shade of green, but its neat form allows you to cut into a formal looking hedge or into a stunning shape. Alternatively, the unique finger like foliage of the English conifer Yew, also known as Taxus Baccata, is great for creating topiary looking shapes. Its slow growth and soft leaves take well to trimming and can be crafted to from beautiful features that exhibit tones of dark green.

Although shrubs with green foliage can just as easily create impact as any other foliage, they are perfect for creating focal points and emphasising more extravagant colours by providing a beautiful back drop.

Yellow and Gold Foliage

Including colour within a garden is all about developing a certain ambience. Studies have shown that specific colours have a direct correlation with human emotions and for gardeners and designers, these emotions can therefore be targeted through the use of foliage. Gold/Yellow foliage plants have the tendency to mimic strong rays of sunlight when planted in groups. This sunny resemblance can metaphorically warm up a garden, creating a relaxing and blissful atmosphere.

Made obvious by its name, Choisya ternata Sundance, is the perfect yellow foliage shrub to bring that inviting atmosphere to your green space. This vibrant evergreen hedging plant is full of benefits as its bright yellow foliage not only creates a stunning visual effect, but also emits a pleasant fragrance that is known to have a similar scent to orange fruit. This fantastic plant also flaunts star shaped white flowers in May and will sometimes have a second flowering season in autumn.

The colour gold is associated with love and compassion, and that's exactly how we feel towards our plants after years spent caring and nurturing our own personal connection with nature. Why not express this affection and make your garden look like royalty with golden foliage hedging plants. Consider the gold alternative to the previously mentioned Privet, Ligustrum Ovalifolium 'Aureum', as this colourful hedging shrub shares the same functionalities as its green counterpart, but boasts exciting foliage of green leaves with an overwhelming outline of yellow. The distinctive colour combination creates a golden appearance, perfect for that specialist look.

We supply a variation of conifer hedging plants that fit this colour category as Golden Leylandii and Monterey cypress 'Goldcrest' display gorgeous, soft, golden foliage. Although Golden Leylandii offers dense green foliage, its colour consist of yellow sprays which gives it its golden shade. This colour can be enhanced by planting positions as the golden colour stands out when touched by sunlight. It also offers seasonal interest as its golden tints turn bronze in winter giving you sensational colours as the seasons change. Monterey cypress 'Goldcrest' has the lighter shaded foliage of the two colourful conifers. It offers interesting bright, lime-green, golden foliage that produces a heavenly citrus scent.

Red and Purple Foliage

For those wanting their colourful garden to make a bold statement, utilise the dramatic presence of red/purple foliage plants. Dark coloured foliage can be incorporated into a garden design in many different ways. Mixing dark coloured plants with light coloured plants is a great way to emphasise their appearance, whilst planting them amongst dark plants or on their own in certain areas, creates an effective focal point. You can even go one step further by designing an all dark foliage garden for a one of a kind, unique effect. Red/Purple foliage is better suited to sunny and lightly shaded positions, this is due to their colour being lost in fully shaded areas and therefore their presence may go unnoticed.

The intensely red leaves of Photinia Red Robin are enriched by the green leaves that makes up its two toned coloured foliage. Being more colourful than any red flowering bush, only a handful of plants with coloured leaves show reds similar to this hedging plant, but others are prone to falling in winter. The evergreen nature of Photinia x fraseri 'Red Robin' sees the flamboyant shades of red remain on its branches 365 days of the year, fading somewhat into the winter months, to a dark green. For red coloured foliage plants for low borders, consider the more compact Photinia 'Little Red Robin'. With a smaller, more dense leaf structure, Photinia x fraseri 'Little Red Robin' can be trimmed to shape and is perfect for hedges less than 1m in height.

If you're aiming to bring red colours to your garden but don't want to be limited to leaves and flowers, the stunning appearance of Dogwood - Vivid Red Stemmed, also known as Vivid Red Dogwood, is an ideal option. You'll see long, sturdy, vertical branches that burst from the soil, parading lavish shades of red. The inimitable structure and colour of Cornus alba 'Sibirica' looks outstanding as a single species hedge, but when combined with other Dogwood varieties such as Dogwood - Orange Stemmed and Dogwood - Yellow Stemmed, the complementing combination of colours creates a tremendous, multi-coloured feature.

Purple or Copper Beech is a great choice for those wanting seasonal interest with colourful foliage plants. The dark foliage on deeply veined, purple leaves turn crisp brown in winter. A great alternative to an evergreen, but not entirely deciduous as the copper coloured leaves suspend from its branches until new growth in spring, providing you with year round interest and colour. You can also achieve hedging plants with beautiful shades of purple with Berberis ottawensis and Berberis thunbergii atropurpurea. These deciduous shrubs present radiant shades of purple before transforming to reds in late autumn and falling in winter. They contain heaps of added interest as Berberis thunbergii atropurpurea displays yellow flowers in Summer and bright orange berries in Autumn and both species act as an effective intruder barrier as their branches are full of sharp needles.

Variegated Foliage

Variegated foliage plants offer limitless patterns that can be subtle or ferociously colourful. We stock an abundance of unique pattern varieties full of swirls, lines, outlines, speckles, and spots, perfect for bringing matchless interest to your garden. We have delightful colour combinations that see glossy green leaves, outlined with complimenting and contrasting colours.

Variegated leaf shrubs such as Euonymus japonicus 'Ovatus Aureus' and Oleaster 'Gilt Edge', display shiny green leaves that are surrounded by an outline of illuminating yellow. Griselinia 'Dixons Cream' similarly holds polished green leaves, but is outlined by a softer, cream coloured outline. All of which are low maintenance shrubs with a multitude of uses and adherence to poor soils and coastal conditions. For an alternative coloured outline, consider Oleaster 'Limelight', which sees light yellow pigments surrounded by a dark green tinted leaf.

Spotted Laurel, as you can guess by the name, consists of an arrangement of colourful leaf spots. Like many Laurels, Spotted Laurel has large, sleek leaves with lustrous shades of light green. The leaves are complemented by numerous golden spots and splashes of varying sizes. Burnished berries neatly sit within the variegated foliage, and their shiny red colours are enhanced by the colourful leaves.

When planting for a variety coloured foliage, it pays not to be cautious with your selection and choose a number of plants that will create eye catching features full of contrasting and complimenting leaf colours, shapes and textures. Artfully combining both deciduous and evergreen colourful foliage plants will bring a series of dynamic colours that offer interest in several different seasons. Whether it's to bring as much colour as possible to a garden, create certain focal points or help contribute towards atmosphere, we have the best selection of colourful foliage hedging plants to fulfil your gardening goals.

Sign up to our newsletter for the latest offers, discounts and news!