home + garden

How to Remove a Hedge and Grow Food Instead

Grow strawberries not hedges Go Gingham

Remember when I shared with you 5 spots to start a garden? One of the spots was a hedge we removed. It was small and manageable and the results were so great, guess what? I talked my husband (read: nubbed him into it) into digging out 30-feet of hedges!

It has taken me years to get him to agree to remove the hedges to grow food rather than hedges but we had help. Help from Craig.

Removing hedges Go Gingham

As in Craig’s List! I listed the hedges on Craig’s List and said, “Free hedges. You dig, you haul.” In no time, someone was in our yard doing the digging work and hauling away those scraggly old bushes. OK, before high-fiving and butt-bumping can take place – this guy only took about half of those hedges. Then his truck was full and he left.

before hedge removal Go Gingham
Our hedges and our neighbor’s house – ready to be trimmed or dug out – thankfully, they got dug out.

We were back to digging the hedges out ourselves. Well, one of us dug hedges and the other one was cheering, taking pictures, and chatting with the neighbors. Guess which one was me?

Hedges getting dug out Go Gingham

After we my husband dug up the remaining hedges, we listed them again on Craig’s List. “Free hedges. All dug up and ready to plant in your yard.” By the next day, all of them were gone.

Growing space Go Gingham

My husband was a good sport about all of this. I did remind him that our hedge trimmer was heading off to college and the job of trimming them was his again. Just like that, he was back to digging.

Hedges to giveaway Go Gingham

With the hedges gone, we have more space for growing vegetables and fruit. I am thrilled with the space!

South side hedges gone Go Gingham

He won’t let me dig up the front lawn. It’s actually pretty small so I’ll not bother him about it right now. It’s barely recognizable as grass since we don’t water it and it’s crispy brown after our hot summer.

Growing food not hedges Go Gingham

Even though there’s not much space between the houses, the hedge space is on the south side of our house. It gets full sun all day, every day. It’s such a great space for fruits and veggies to grow!

Side yard garden Go Gingham

I’m happy to report that my husband is very pleased with the result of growing food rather than hedges. He told me he can’t believe how I turned our side yard into a productive garden. Well, I couldn’t have done it without his help. And Craig’s.

I’ll not say it was easy – it was work – but it was worth it. We planted so many edibles but my favorite are the columnar apple trees. Our first – and only – apple is ready for harvest.

Columnar apple tree Go Gingham Next up for garden projects: a fence and gate that need replacing. They collapsed this past winter. Top three reasons that needs doing soon – the latest addition to the urban homestead – baby chickens who have turned into full-grown laying hens this month.

Chickens Go Gingham

Not the easiest project and this took several months of removing hedges, amending soil, sowing seeds, planting fruit, and watering. It has been completely worth it – and so wonderful now that we’re enjoying the harvest! Growing food is so much more satisfying than hedges. But, do get some help from my buddy Craig if you can.

Do you have hedges or grass you’d like to remove? What’s stopping you?

Go Gingham related links:

Composting tips – add richness to your soil with scraps from the kitchen
How to invite bees to your garden – we really need bees
5 spots to start a garden – even in small yards like mine
How to use egg shells in the garden – you can do this today!

8 thoughts on “How to Remove a Hedge and Grow Food Instead

  1. You and your husband are absolute inspirations, Sara, and I don’t say that lightly!

    When we moved into this house 4 and 1/2 years ago, we thought we were buying a treed yard — nothing pretty or planned, but at least we had mature trees. We found out, our first spring, that 20/23 trees were ash, and were dead. Not a happy day for us! The removal of the trees pretty much wrecked most of the yard, so we’ve been re-landscaping ever since. In doing this, I’ve often wondered what was best — to plant trees/shrubs/perennials or to maximize space for vegetables and fruits. Trees/shrubs/perennials would certainly be better, environmentally, than grass, I would assume, because they take in carbon dioxide and make oxygen on a larger scale than lawn would … but is it even better to grow food? I never found out the answer to that question, unfortunately, and although we did make room for a large vegetable garden, there were other areas where we could have added more raised beds but chose to go with shrubs and trees instead, decisions I hemmed and hawed over, and still wonder about! We have one area left to plant, and I think I’m going to push for a columnar apple tree (or three, based on space) even though we’ve been back and forth through the whole “what a lot of work fruit trees are!” discussion …


    1. Oh, Marian, that’s too bad! The good news is – you can always change things around. I’m a big fan of columnar apple tree. They grow up like a shrub and not out like a tree. Plus, they’re very easy – just add water 🙂
      Good luck with your yard. I vote for growing more food!
      Thanks for writing in and sharing ~


  2. My hubby would happily plow up both our front and back yard (not enough room on the east side, and the west side houses the all-important fishing boat!) to plant gardens. I keep telling him the kids need room to play!!!!!!!!!! Your side garden looks wonderful and it’s always fun to see what’s going on in your household. BTW, how IS your hedge trimmer enjoying college???


    1. Do not mess with the fishing boat! 😉
      It’s amazing how quickly the kids are done playing outside – don’t rush it. They’re off to college in a blink.
      Yes, the hedge trimmer MUST be enjoying college because we’ve hardly heard from him. I think that’s a good sign…if things weren’t going well or he was homesick I think we’d hear from him more.
      Thanks for writing in, Kris ~


  3. You are the smartest, Sara. Not just because you figured out a great way to get rid of shrubs, but that you planted all that food in the space you had. You are truly inspiring!


  4. This is great! We are moving into a new home (new to us, not new construction) in about two months and we want to pull the plants out that surround the front porch so we can plant an edible ornamental garden. I love the idea of offering the plants for free on craigslist. We don’t want to destroy the current plants, we just don’t want them in our yard. 🙂


    1. Shannon – a new to you house sounds exciting! Good luck with the move, too.
      I have gotten rid of several plants (two huge rhododendron plants one time!) in addition to these hedges over the years. I think Craig’s List is the best way because other folks do the digging and hauling. Plus, then nothing is destroyed and all can be reused.
      All the best in your new home ~ Thanks for writing in! 🙂


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