Properly maintained, shrubs and hedges can look great and be a wonderful addition to any front or back garden. They could even possibly be the most underrated landscaping plant and can even increase the value of your home if they are well maintained and neatly trimmed.

Keeping them cut to the right shape and length, however, can be a bit of work if you don’t have the right tools and knowhow.

Here are some great tips for looking after hedges and large bushes, while making hedge trimming as easy as possible!

Plan the outcome

This might sound obvious but there are various types of bushes and the work you do on it could vary from some creative styling, a quick trim or something else such as intertwining them to make a longer shape such as a hedge. The outcome you want also determines how frequently you need to trim.

Some shrubs and bushes can be grown into a living ‘fence’ to maintain privacy from neighbours or people passing by on the street. This can also act as a boundary for your home as well as a windbreak.

Alternatively, you may have a shrub or hedge which is styled to look good in a garden. How artistic you decide to be is up to you, but a simple rounded shape is popular and can look fantastic.

It’s easier to know what you want to do with more established shrubs and hedges. If you are already using a hedge as a boundary then it’s a simple case of trimming it twice a year to keep it looking great.

How to trim a hedge

Having the right tools for the job is important. Shaping a shrub requires a clipper with a good length blade but if you are trimming a boundary hedge then a shrub clipper is not ideal. Besides taking a long time, it risks having a hedge that has a ragged look at it loses its shape.

A great alternative to a manual clipper is an electric shearer or shrub trimmer such as these cordless shears Stihl HSA25 (available to buy online).


cordless shears to trim shrubs

Long-reach hedge trimming

If you are cutting long sections of a hedge then a hedge trimmer with a long blade helps to shape the hedge properly while allowing you to get the job done quickly.

Having a telescopic shaft to cut the top of hedges and other hard to reach areas also gives hedges a better all-round appearance and takes away the back pain from reaching the top of hedges. See our long-reach, cordless hedge trimmers

At John Miller Garden Machinery, we provide a range of hedge trimmers and accessories including telescopic shafts for grass cutters and shrub shear sets. View all our hedge trimming tools to buy online

Long arm hedge trimmers

9 Tips for using hedge trimmers

The following tips are useful for most varieties of shrubs and bushes, regardless of what type of trimmer you’re using but if you have any questions relating to using products we sell, we are happy to help and provide advice.

  1. Start cutting near the bottom of the hedge. Slowly work your way up to the top.
  2. Check for bird nests before trimming and avoid cutting hedges in spring when birds are more likely to nest in hedges.
  3. Move the cutters slowly to ensure the blades cut evenly and without missing any growth.
  4. Don’t cut too deeply on the first pass. You can always cut deeper on a second or third pass if you are worried about cutting the hedge too deeply.
  5. Keep a pair of secateurs handy for bits that the trimmer hasn’t cut but which you feel need to be trimmed.
  6. For longer hedges, use a piece of nylon or string, pulled tightly to create a line. This will help to ensure the height of the hedge is cut evenly.
  7. Trimming the sides at an angle so that the bottom is slightly wider and the top is narrower allows more sunlight to reach the lower branches.
  8. Take a step back to examine what you have done. This allows you to spot anything that has been missed and to check the overall appearance of the hedge.
  9. After trimming the hedge, gently move sections aside to look for diseased or dead parts and cut them out.


We hope you have found these tips useful. Remember to check out our full range of hedge trimmers to make sure you have the right tools for a great looking hedge!