Yew plants make a dense, evergreen hedge with bright green new spring growth deepening to dark green when mature and red, fleshy cone fruits in autumn. They are relatively slow-growing with a pyramidal form, perfect for a tapered hedge which can be clipped tightly to give a formal appearance. Yew will thrive in the shade, making it particularly useful for hedging that runs through part of an area that is cast into shadow for most of the day. The fleshy red fruits will help attract wildlife into your garden, making a tasty treat for many small birds; although be mindful that they are poisonous to humans, pets and livestock.
Yews slow growth rate, dense habit and elegant appearance also makes it well-suited for use a topiary plant. Common Yew (Taxus Baccata), is commonly used for topiary balls and topiary pyramids, which can be used in conjunction with yew hedging to enforce the formal appearance. Fastigate forms (narrow with branches that are almost parallel to the main stem) are useful for adding height, structure and formality when grown single or in rows. Equally, varieties such as Taxus Summergold work well in the border, contrasting well with the deep purple foliage of Smoke Bush (Cotinus).