Laurels are reliable, medium to fast growing, evergreen hedge plants for boundary hedges and screens. Laurel plants grow in sun or shade, have medium to large leaves, and often produce flowers and berries.
Common laurel or cherry laurel (prunus laurocerasus 'Rotundifolia') has large evergreen leaves, white flowers and black cherry-like fruit. It is fast growing and evergreen, making it an excellent hedge plant for a garden boundary or screen.
Portugal laurel (prunus lusitanica 'Angustifolia') is evergreen with smaller leaves than prunus laurocerasus. It has scented flowers in early summer, followed by red berries, which turn black in winter. Portugal laurel hedges are more compact than cherry laurel hedges. Portugal laurel is also used for large topiary balls and standards.
Laurustinus (viburnum tinus) is a medium sized evergreen shrub with medium sized leaves. It has cream/white heads of sweetly scented small flowers in winter, followed by black berries. Viburnum tinus hedges make a good evergreen garden boundary or small to medium sized screen, with a fine display of flowers and good scent when other plants are not flowering in winter. It can also be supplied as topiary balls, standards, cones etc. Viburnum tinus is also often grown as a specimen shrub or in a mixed shrub border.
Bay laurel (laurus nobilis) is the herb plant bay tree. It is used extensively for medium to large sized topiary standards, cones etc, often grown in containers. It can also be used to make a fine bay laurel hedge for a garden boundary or screen. Bay trees are only hardy in warm sheltered sites in the UK.
Spotted laurel (aucuba japonica) is a large leaved evergreen shade loving shrub, which will grow in most conditions. It is a good choice for a deep shady site, as it will grow well in these conditions and there are a number of variegated leaved varieties available, to show up in the shade.