Hedge Cutting

Gardening & Landscaping

Guide: Beginners Guide To Hedge Cutting

March 10th 2023

If you’re a homeowner looking to renovate your garden using modern garden ideas, you have come to the right place. 

Packed with all the inspiration and tips you need, this guide will teach you everything there is to know about hedge cutting. We’ll cover:

  • The types of hedges your garden might have
  • Step-by-step instructions on how to cut or trim your hedge
  • The tools that you’ll need for the task
  • Answers to some of the top hedge-cutting questions we get asked

At HSS Hire, we can provide you with the tools needed to get your hedge-cutting job done. From hedge cutters to leaf blowers, bring your modern garden ideas to life with our range of equipment for hire to finish your garden project with ease. 

Unsure of the equipment you need or have questions about our services? Chat with one of our friendly team members now – we are always happy to help and assist you with your enquiries. 

Hedge cutting: Everything you need to know

So, what is hedge cutting and how do you go about cutting hedges? 

If you are a complete beginner, hedge cutting (or hedge trimming) is the act of cutting hedges to keep them compact and to retain their desired shape and look. You may also hear others refer to this as ‘pruning’. 

How often should you do it? In general, maintenance trimming is usually carried out once to three times a year depending on the type of hedge. 

Let’s take a look at some of the different hedges you might find in your garden or land.

The different types of hedges

When it comes to hedges, they are a great way to define the perimeter of your private property, especially using them as a boundary hedge. As such, there are different types of hedges that you could plant for your garden. 

In particular, you will find that they are typically referred to as either formal hedges or informal hedges. It is important to research these different types of hedges to find out which one would work best for your garden.

Formal hedges are kept very neat and tightly clipped, meaning that you will most likely have to trim these hedges at least twice to three times a year. They are typically of the same type of hedge, planted to form a single green line. They can be straight-edged or curved depending on your preferences. 

Some examples of formal hedges include:

  • Buxus (box)
  • Griselinia
  • Taxus baccata (yew)
  • Hornbeam
  • Fagus sylvatica (beech)

Meanwhile, informal hedges are kept more natural, clipped only once to twice a year. Selective pruning ensures that these types of hedges are tidy, with only the removal of individual branches and slight trimming needed to control and maintain their size. They could be purely green or with vibrant flora. 

A few examples of informal hedges are:

  • Lavender 
  • Viburnum
  • Crataegus (hawthorn) 
  • Fuschia
  • Hydrangeas
Hedge cutting HSS

Tools you’ll need to neatly and quickly trim a hedge

Having the right tools is essential when it comes to hedge cutting, regardless of whether it is an informal or formal hedge. At HSS Hire, we offer flexible terms on our equipment hire, including our gardening and landscaping tools that are useful for revitalising your garden!

Particularly, our hedge-cutting equipment is exactly what you need in terms of trimming your hedges to your desired hedge level. HSS Hire is dedicated to providing you with excellent equipment for your garden project needs, so you can count on us for exceptional service and assistance. 

Now, what exactly are the tools that you’ll need for hedge cutting?

First of all, let’s establish the things that you’ll need that you may already have lying around:

  • Gloves
  • Goggles
  • Protective footwear

With trimming hedges, you have the option of using either manual trimmers or electric trimmers. At HSS Hire, we also offer petrol-powered hedge trimmers for your convenience. These are ideal for cordless hedge trimming, with the ability to cut twigs up to 18mm thick with its 700mm length blade. The only other thing that you’ll need for this is the petrol itself!

For those with tall hedges, our long-handled petrol-powered hedge trimmer is the perfect solution. No need for ladders and other equipment! The blade itself is adjustable, and capable of reaching hedges of up to 3m in height. 

How to cut the hedge in 5 simple steps

If you have got several modern garden ideas in mind regarding hedges, but are unsure how to get started on trimming and cutting your hedges, here are our simple instructions on how to do exactly this! 

  1. Safety is a priority - ensure that you are wearing appropriate clothing and accessories, especially if you are using electric or petrol-powered hedge trimmers
  2. Aim to trim at least 1 to 4 inches of growth from your hedges - large amounts may require a lopper 
  3. For formal hedges, place canes and a straight line of string across where you want the top of the hedge to be, outlining the amount that you can cut off
  4. Trim starting from the bottom and move upwards, keeping your trimmers horizontal
  5. If possible, compost your hedge clippings!


If you are ever in need of some inspiration for your DIY garden renovation, don’t forget to have a look at our HSS Blog for a wide variety of modern garden ideas that you can make happen! 

Let’s take a look at commonly asked questions about hedge cutting and the answers to them. 

When is the best time to trim a hedge?

Depending on the type of hedge, there may be different pruning times. It’s important that you research the specific type of hedge that you wish to plant or are pruning in order to know when the best time to prune them is, avoiding the wrong time. 

It’s recommended to avoid pruning during the season for nesting birds or nesting season which is considered to run between March to August. Never undertake work on hedges if you find nesting birds!

The best time of year is summer for plants which is why it’s suggested to carry out maintenance trimming during this period as well.

What’s the best way to clear the area?

With our garden clearance equipment, you can easily clear the area for planting new hedges –  or, simply remove hedges entirely. Cut the branches off using pruners or shears, digging a trench around the stump so that you’re able to remove the roots. 

How do you thicken a hedge?

There are multiple ways that you can thicken a regular hedge, but an easy way to do it is to simply take vertical branches and bend them down horizontally. Then, partially cut into it to help stimulate its growth upwards. You may have to tie it in place using another branch with string to help it keep its horizontal shape. 

Remember that overgrown hedges are a nuisance, and if the foliage is interfering with your neighbours’ gardens, your local council may be notified about your overgrown hedges.

Remove the hassle of manual hedge cutting and hire equipment from HSS

HSS Hire offers a wide range of equipment to hire for all your hedge-cutting needs. Our flexible hire terms mean that you’re able to rent our equipment for a day, a weekend, or a week. Don’t worry about needing it for another day, we’re absolutely flexible and can rent it to you for an extra day (or more)! 

Revamp your garden with our high-quality hedge-cutting tools at HSS Hire. Get in touch with our team if you have any questions about our services or our equipment.

About the Author

Irfan Rehman

Irfan is a member of our E-commerce team. He loves everything DIY and writes and posts about home and garden projects.

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