A garden of manicured hedges and shrubs. Photo by Michael on Unsplash

When it comes to landscaping, most people immediately think of manicured lawns and gardens full of flowers, but DIY enthusiasts know that’s not the full picture. Hedges are one of the most aesthetically pleasing — if not underrated — forms of property enhancement. Not only do they add a forest-like feel to your yard or outdoor area, but they can also add considerable value to your property if you ever choose to sell it. However, they can also require a considering amount of upkeep when it comes to trimming back leaves and branches.

In this guide from Restoration Landscape Co., we’ll review some of the basics that any green thumb or DIY landscaper should know before tackling the task of hedge trimming. For more information on lawn maintenance, weed control, leaf and limb cleanup, and other property management services in the Athens area, please contact our team of professional landscapers today!

Wrangle Up The Right Tools

Before you can get started with a hedge trim, you’ll need to make sure that you have the proper tools in your yard care arsenal. Just as there are different varieties of spades and shovels for soil working and gardening, there are several unique types of hedge trimmers that you may or may not need to have on hand. 

Gas-powered hedge trimmers are designed for more significant trimming endeavors, such as those you might encounter on a commercial lot or a plot of farmland. These hefty hackers can cut through the thickest of branches and shave hours of time off your outdoor labor efforts. However, their size and price point can dissuade many non-professionals from wanting or needing to use them.

Electric trimmers are more commonly employed on residential properties. Homeowners generally find that their local hardware store or home improvement depot will offer the choice between a wireless or corded variety. These models don’t usually have the same “oomph” as a gas-powered alternative, but if you’re hoping to manicure your hedges before you accidentally massacre them, these are a fantastic method for refining the foliage on your property. 

Whether you opt for a corded electric trimmer, a wireless whacker, or a gas-fueled unit will depend on the size of the area to which you’re attending, as well as the height and width of its individual hedges and shrubs.

Safety Never Takes A Holiday

Before we delve into the specifics on hedge trimming, we feel a moral obligation to mention the potential hazards and risks that accompany power-tool equipped property enhancement. When you begin trimming hedges, no matter how experienced you are in DIY yard care, you’ll want to wear protective gloves, goggles or durable sunglasses, and breathable clothing that covers any exposed areas on your arms and legs. 

Just a single flyaway branch or an unexpectedly felled hunk of hedge could cause some serious damage to surrounding structures — or severe harm to you! If you choose to perform DIY hedge trimming on your own rather than with the assistance of a qualified landscaping company near you, please adhere to all necessary safety precautions to the best of your ability.

How To Trim Hedges Like A Pro

The species or variety of hedge you’re planning to trim doesn’t matter much when it comes to the way you execute a cut, but you will want to make sure that your trimming tool (discussed in the first section of this guide) is ready to take on the job. When you’re positive that you have the right gas-powered or electric trimmer in tow, you’re ready to get started.

Begin at the base of the hedge, not in the middle or near the top. A trim is not the same as a haircut! From the bottom of the bush, slowly work your way up, allowing the blade of your trimmer to do the majority of the work. As long as you hold your tool steady and with intention, there shouldn’t be too much movement or physical effort on your end. 

As you progress from the lower parts of the hedge to the upper areas, try to maintain roughly the same amount of distance between yourself, your trimmer, and the plant. If you dig into a section of shrub at a different angle or insert the blade too deeply, you may hit an unseen branch, jam your trimmer, or — heaven forbid — make unwanted contact with a bird’s nest. 

If there’s one set of concepts you remember from this guide on DIY hedge trimming, it’s that safety and consistency go hand-in-hand, and failure to integrate one or the other will cause a much bigger hassle than your yard work presented to begin with.

When To Trim Hedges

Depending on the variety of hedge or shrubbery you have on your property, you should anticipate needing to trim back its leaves and branches anywhere from three to four times per year in order to maintain ideal growing conditions. 

The time you trim your hedges doesn’t only matter on a seasonal basis — the time of day you begin your work is critical too! The summer days in Georgia can get unbearably hot before the sun is even fully in the sky, so you’ll want to start your trimming task either early in the morning or when the sun is just about to complete its daily settling behind the horizon.

An outstretched hand clothed with a garden glove offers a supportive gesture. Photo by Vince Fleming on Unsplash.

Final Thoughts: Hire A Helping Hand With Your Hedge Trimming

DIY landscaping is an ambitious hobby for nearly anyone to take on, so there’s nothing wrong with asking for a bit of help with those extra tricky trimming areas. At Restoration Landscape Co., we have specialized in a wide array of landscaping and lawn care services for commercial and residential properties in the greater Athens area. Whether you’re looking for assistance in maintaining the shape and structure of your shrubs, or you need to hire out your cumbersome weekly lawn mowing chores, our team of competent and detail-oriented landscaping professionals are here to help you maximize the vitality of your yard or garden, all while keeping stress levels to a minimum. Contact us today to learn how we can enhance your outdoor living space!