I thoroughly enjoy working on a wide range to topiary hedges and features, mainly Taxus and Buxus, but all in large private gardens of at least eight acres, where they may be viewed from different angles – either as focal points or main features, or stand – alone pieces of living sculpture within an area specially designed to set them off.
The only tool I use to maintain these features is my Bahco Professional set of shears. They are INCREDIBLY sharp, strong and very lightweight. They are not cheap at around £70.00 per pair, but the speed and dexterity one can apply makes them very worthwhile.
For hedges, including the intricate network of the parterre shown below, I always cut the top first, ensuring a good clean edge beyond the actual width of the hedge, then turning the shears over, with the bottom facing away from me, or the upper side facing towards my legs, I cut the furthest side only, using the point of the shears to trim a clean and sharp side to the hedge, working my way down the full height (up to around 60cm). I find this method offers a straight and neat finish.
Once I have completed one side, I then complete the other – pretty obvious really (!), but once you get used to the system, it is really very fast and accurate.
The parterre shown, and the series of pyramids/small hedges both take me one full day to cut and clear, working on my own. It is hard work, but the client (who is rarely at home) used to pay at least twice my fixed price of £400.00 for each job. Hard work but worth it! (especially as the shears make a much better job of the finish and maintaining square, level and upright/correctly shaped features and hedges.
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