Do You Cut The Top Or Sides Of Hedges First?

Should you trim the top or the sides of a hedge first? It depends on your preference and the type of hedge.

Trimming the top first can give you a guideline for the rest, but may lead to uneven sides. Alternatively, trimming the sides first can give you a precise outline, but could be difficult to keep an even height. It’s up to you!

Grab your pruning shears and start today. With practice, you’ll become a master of hedge trimming and take pride in your garden. So get creative and take that first snip!

Importance of proper hedge trimming

Hedge trimming is crucial for keeping your outdoor area healthy and beautiful. To ensure your hedges remain in top shape, follow the right methods.

People usually ask, “Should I cut the top or the sides first?” There’s no definite answer, but it’s best to begin with the sides. This way, you can figure out the size and shape of the hedge before doing the top.

Trimming the sides provides a structure for the overall design and gets rid of any unruly branches or growth. Afterwards, you can trim the top. Start from one end, moving along until it’s straight and even. Utilize sharp pruning shears or hedge trimmers to get a neat cut.

Regularly trimming your hedges helps them develop healthily. Neglecting it can lead to lack of sunlight and diseases.

An example is Mary. She was busy, so didn’t attend to her garden hedges for months. Soon, they became wild and blocked views, as well as inviting pests. Mary saw she had to act, so took the entire day to prune them. After cutting each one carefully, her garden regained its beauty.

Tools needed for hedge trimming

Trimming hedges? You’ll need the right tools! Here are some essentials:

  • Sharp Pruning Shears
  • Hedge Trimmers
  • Hedge Clippers
  • Loppers
  • Gloves
  • Safety Glasses

Remember to check the condition of tools before starting; dull blades can damage the hedge. Electric or gas-powered trimmers need regular maintenance too. Lubricate moving parts and clean regularly for longevity.

For best results:

  1. Step back and assess the shape you want to achieve.
  2. Cut in small sections, not the whole hedge at once.
  3. Use smooth, sweeping motions for cleaner cuts to reduce the risk of damaging the hedge.

Quality tools and care = excellent results every time!

Step-by-step guide on trimming hedges

Trimming hedges can be challenging. Here’s a helpful guide to get you started!

  1. Step 1: Sides first. Use sharp shears and cut straight lines along the edges. This will give your hedges a neat look. Work from one end to the other.
  2. Step 2: Next, the top. Use pruners or a trimmer, depending on your hedges’ size. Cut slowly and carefully across the entire length.
  3. Step 3: Shape it up. Stand back and check the shape of your hedges. Make small adjustments as needed.

Details often get overlooked. Clean and sharpen tools before each use. Oiling moving parts will keep your equipment in good shape.

History proves that humans have long appreciated nicely trimmed hedges. Ancient Roman gardens had intricate shearing techniques.

Follow this guide and your hedges will be the envy of the neighborhood! Grab those shears and start creating a work of art.

Tips for achieving a neat and symmetrical hedge

  1. Begin by trimming the sides of the hedge. Do this with steady, horizontal strokes. This will create a neat edge and help get the shape you want.
  2. Next, cut the top of the hedge with vertical cuts. This will make it even and uniform.
  3. Keep checking your progress and make changes as needed. This will make the hedge stay balanced and symmetrical.
  4. Finally, keep your trimmers or shears sharp for precise cutting and a professional finish.

Also, you can make your hedge look better by adding some small ornamental plants to the bottom. Pay attention to the details to get a neat and symmetrical look.

Pro Tip: To keep your hedge looking great, prune it regularly instead of waiting until it overgrows. This will make it easier to maintain and keep its look neat all year.

Common mistakes to avoid when trimming hedges

Taming hedges can be a challenge if not handled right. To get a neat and in-order hedge, dodge these typical blunders!

  • Not having the appropriate tools: Using blunt or unsuitable tools can cause inefficient trimming and unkempt results. Get quality hedge trimmers suited to your hedge type.
  • Trimming at the wrong time: Timing is essential for trimming hedges. Refrain from trimming in extreme weather or during periods of active growth, to avert harm to the plant.
  • Uneven cuts: Maintain a straight line while trimming for an alluring and tidy hedge. Unequal cuts will make it look disheveled and ugly.
  • Not taking proper safety measures: Always prioritize safety while trimming hedges. Put on protective gear like gloves, glasses, and strong shoes to dodge any accidents or injuries.

Moreover, remember to lightly prune more often rather than heavily prune less frequently for a healthier and easier to manage hedge.

A pro tip: Start by cutting the sides before tackling the top. This keeps a straight line throughout, resulting in a more symmetrical look.


When it comes to trimming hedges, many people ask: “Should I start with the top or sides?” It depends on many things. For example, the type and height of the hedge, as well as personal preference.

If the hedge is tall, it’s a good idea to trim the sides first. This reduces the width, making it easier to reach the top. You can create a shape before moving on to the top.

But, if you want a specific height, start with the top. Then shape the sides to fit the chosen height. This is great for symmetrical hedges or specific height requirements.

Remember: There’s no right or wrong way. It depends on your preferences and the situation. Tools like ladders and extension trimmers can help with taller hedges.


I've been a gardener for 8 years now, working in Dorchester and Weymouth after studying the craft at a local college. I'm extremely passionate about gardening and have run multiple successful gardening sites in my spare time, whilst conducting general garden maintenance, horticulture projects, landscaping jobs and much more!

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