Growing a living hedge is a great alternative to a metal or wood fence. Not only are hedges a natural, environmentally friendly solution, they can also add beauty to the landscape, provide structure and shade, create privacy and muffle sound. Some shrubs, like dwarf burning bushes and purple leaf plum, are popular because they provide months of colorful foliage. Their showy flowers make hydrangeas a favorite for massing as a hedge. When selecting shrubs for hedges to buy, make sure they are suitable for your hardiness zone. Also, check how much direct daily sunlight they require. Other considerations are soil requirements, mature height and spread, foliage color and bloom time (if applicable).