A hedge doesn't have to be regimented and solid like you see in formal gardens and around traditional homes. Some plants can be used to create informal hedges that require little trimming. Just a look over once a year to remove shoots that are growing out of line.
If you prefer an informal hedge that is big and sprawling, try shrubs like lilac, forsythia, bridalwreath spirea, mock orange, or roses. If you have the space, informal hedges can make a spectacular and effective “fence'” especially if flowering shrubs are used. Because they grow in a natural unmanicured way, an informal hedge requires more room than a sheared type hedge, so be sure to take their “mature” size into account when planting.
A mix-and-match approach to a hedge will add functional beauty to your landscape by giving you a great way to have interesting colors, textures, flowers and fruits all year long. A mixed hedge of Itea, Fothergilla, and Holly, for example will look good all year and magnificent in the fall when the flame-colored foliage of the Itea contrasts with the metallic fall color of Fothergilla and the deep green and brilliant berries of the Holly.
Or for a flowering hedge a mix of quince, viburnum, lilacs, weigelas, and roses will offer you and ever changing and fragrant wall of flowers.
With flowering shrub hedges, prune shrubs early in the season after they bloom. Early spring is usually the best time to “shape” shrubs that flower in the last part of the summer. Evergreen hedges should be pruned in spring and again early summer – evergreens should be shaped in late spring. An informal hedge should need only a once or twice a year trimming. Pruning will encourage greater flowering.