With the very fast pace of modern life, when moving into a property a lot of homeowners look to plant a hedge of reasonable height that is fast growing in order to give as much cover as quickly as possible. The point they fail to appreciate is that if it is fast growing then it will need careful maintenance to keep it as a well-trimmed structure without it getting out of hand as it will keep growing even when it has reached the desired height.
The classic plant in this category of course is Leylandii, growing at a rate of 60-75cm per year. If kept trimmed regularly then it can make a magnificent hedge, however if left to grow without pruning it will become less dense with little growth at the bottom and it is impossible to prune back to a hedge. More amenable is Thuja plicata atrovirens which has almost the same speed of growth but if grown too large can be cut hard back and will regenerate from the wood. The beauty of these plants that if on a restricted budget then smaller plants can be purchased initially and the speed of growth means that the end result may be achieved as quickly as buying larger more expensive plants but with a slower growth habit. These two evergreen plants are from a long list of fast growing plants, not all evergreen, which may suit some situations.
Alders are a fast-growing species for windbreaks and screening whilst plants in Native Hedgerow Mixes such as Blackthorn, Quickthorn and Dogwood grow between 30-60cm per year providing flowers and berries for wildlife as well and there are the leaf retaining plants such as Beech and Hornbeam which grow at a similar speed. It must be remembered however that these plants may require different gardening conditions to achieve the best results.