from Plants Daily Post
8/27/2008 Landscape Design Solutions
Strange Cut-Outs and Leafless Hedges
There was a time in Florida horticulture when hand-held hedge trimmers, edging tools and leaf rakes curtailed the wanton planting of shrubs requiring weekly sawing and planing, as well as the mysterious appearance of strange cut-out shapes in the lawn.
Chainsaws, line trimmers, and blowers, so-called maintenance devices, not only opened up the Pandora's Box of plant butchery, but in concert have destroyed the air of a peaceful neighborhood, contributing loads of debris whisked into the sewers and waterways, none of it doing any good there.
Property owners should be aware that the use of these implements of mass destruction can be avoided with the proper selection of plant material for the application.
For example, why plant Ficus benjamina , a 60'-90'H tree by nature, as a hedge under a window where it has to be maintained at 30"H? Because of its very genetics to become a tree, the plant requires a chainsaw to conform to the wrong space. Consider only plants which will mature at a height reaching the bottom of the window or lower, Further, consider a planting which will never need clipping.
In this case, planting a naturally round shrub maturing at 4', set out 4' from the bare wall space, with a lower grassy planting under the window connecting to the Ixora would give more depth and gracefulness to the foundation than a stiff straight hedge. If renovation and replanting is not in the budget, removing the Ficus and sodding the bare area to the wall would be visually more appealing, and makes more sense than continuing to waste labor maintaining an eyesore of gnarly sticks.