How to Have Perfectly Trimmed Shrubs


Shrub trimming is essential to any well-landscaped yard, but achieving perfectly manicured hedges can be difficult. For the home gardener, using hand shears instead of power trimmers will give you a lot more control, and maintaining your equipment will ensure your shrubs and hedges look flawless. Planning ahead before you start trimming will also help give your project direction, and prevent accidental over-pruning. Most shrubs will only need to be thoroughly trimmed once per year, with smaller maintenance trimmings in between to maintain the immaculate look.

Step 1

Decide how you want your shrubs to look. Are you going for rounded shrubs, flat shrubs, or a more natural-looking shape? Do you want the shrubs to look perfectly molded, or neat but natural? Knowing your goals for the final product will help you when you begin to trim.

Step 2

Choose large gardening shears with very sharp blades. Sharper shears will mean cleaner cuts, and larger shears will make it easier to trim more area at once.

Step 3

Trim your shrubs in the summer, after new growth appears. Trim flowering shrubs within one month after blooming. Avoid trimming shrubs too late in the summer, as this can lead to a new growth spurt that does not have time to harden before winter.

Step 4

Visualize the finished appearance before you begin trimming. Trim slowly, cutting a few inches at a time. If you want your hedges to have flat sides, hold the shears level while you make each cut. Cut one section of hedge at a time, and step back every few minutes to see how the shrub looks from a distance.

Step 5

Perform smaller maintenance pruning later in the summer to keep up your desired appearance. Store your shears in a dry location between pruning to keep the blades sharp and protect the shears from rust and wear.

Things You'll Need

  • Shrubs
  • Gardening shears


  • Donnan: When to Trim Shrubs
  • This Old House: Shrub-Trimming Tools
Keywords: prune hedges, prune shrubs, hedge trimming

About this Author

After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a bachelor's degree in legal studies, Hanna Terhaar began working full-time as a freelance writer. In the nine months she has been working professionally, Terhaar's articles have been published on sites such as, DIY Chatroom and The Daily Puppy.