Bamboo is a grass—an oversized, rapacious, hearty, fast growing, and long-living grass. We tend to think of bamboo as a predominately Asian product but of the 145o species worldwide (or 1600 or 1000 depending on whom you believe), a third of those is native to the Americas.
Of those, three are native to North America, most significantly the type known as River Cane (Arundinaria gigantea). Until the 19th century bamboo had covered 5 million acres of the Southeastern U.S. But, like the country's other native populations, North American bamboo was undone by imported settlers.
As a hedge, bamboo can go clump or long, dense screen.
Its sharp, soft texture is a departure from the Western round leafed conceptions of a hedge. Visually, its slightly less static.
Assimilated: Roadside in the Netherlands and along a stone path in Italianate garden.
Containing can be a good idea as bamboo can be a rambuntious spreader, running underground and spreading under fences and through surface barriers.
Bamboo can function as visual low cover, middle ground, or high screen, it can be thinned or solid, sparse or dense.
An accent in the upper atmosphere in its wispy and lacier incarnation:
Most versions of bamboo available stateside can grow to heights of 15 - 40 feet though its more feral Asian cousins can grow to a 100. Because of the plant's construction its height is more readily scalable than, say, cutting a back a trunked mature tree.
Different species can produce stalks in a variety of colors such as green, gold, and jet black.
Here, only the wood is used to create a more formal barrier as well as contrast the plant its bounding.
Shunan, the real forest:
And the abstract recreation by the Starn Twins: