Trimming a hedge requires some skill and the right tools, but if you wish to trim it into a special shape, you need more. Hedges tend to be unruly until they’ve been trimmed and trained into the shape you want, so be patient. It may take months to get what you want.
Here are some top tips for getting creative with your hedges.
Which Hedges Work Best?
Formal box hedges are the best option for squared-off shapes, but if you want something more elegant, other types of hedges are better. For example, hawthorn, conifers, and privet all work well for taller shapes, such as spirals. If you wish to create a smaller, stockier shape, you’ll want beech or hornbeam. Avoid hydrangeas and rhododendrons for shaped hedges, as they tend to do as they please.
Trim a Rounded Shape
If you are planning to cut your hedge into a rounded shape, you’ll want to use a regular hedge trimmer. It’s best to trim at an angle, in small movements to create a rounded look. Aim to cut around 3 inches away from the top of the hedge, then cut gently around the hedge to round it off.
It’s best to work slowly and remove small amounts of the hedge. If you make a mistake, there’s more leeway to remove greater amounts as needed.
Create a Spiral Hedge
Interested in creating spiral topiary? These beautiful designs require a bit of practice, but they’re a beautiful addition to your garden.
Start by trimming the hedge to a cone shape. Start at the top and carefully trim it down and away from the centre to create a simple cone shape. At this point, the hedge will likely be quite sparse and will need time to grow again. You should continue to trim it from time to time to keep the cone shape while allowing the foliage to return.
Once the hedge is lush again, you can begin to create the spiral. The simplest way to manage this is to use either string or wire wrapped around the cone shape. Adjust it until you’re pleased with the look and then begin to cut just under the string. You should cut at an angle to shape the hedge, moving from the top to the bottom. You should cut several shallow grooves if you are new to this, to gradually perfect the spiral.
Trimming Novelty Shapes
Have you ever wished you had a heart or swan-shaped hedge? It’s surprisingly difficult to prune a hedge to fit these types of shapes, but you can use a metal mesh that you manipulate into the desired shape and place it on the hedge. Snip around it to get exactly the shape you want.
Again, this will tend to cause the hedge to appear sparse, but with small trims over time, you will get the shape you desire with the proper foliage.
As with everything, start small and work your way up to the more complex designs. It’s also important to use the right tools for the job. At A Mcilrath & Son, we have a range of hedge trimmers that will help you create the perfect shape.