This may sound obvious but the first thing you need to do before you get going is understand the type of hedge that you are clipping. Different species grow at different rates and therefore need different care. It will also come down to how you want it to look in your garden. Once you understand what you are up against, the easier it will be to plan for it.
In terms of hedge finish there are two different options. Formal hedges are usually kept very neat and tightly clipped. These usually take more work, as they require clipping more often to keep the same shape. Formal hedges do add a smart geometric design element to a garden, however the end result may not justify the work going into it depending on how much time you have at your disposal.
Informal hedges, by contrast, aren’t clipped as tightly and are allowed a more natural shape. These do not require as much trimming but can look much more untidy than formal hedges. Informal hedges can soften the look of a garden.
The next thing to consider is the plant itself. Typically hedges can fall into one of two categories: Deciduous, or Evergreen hedges:
Evergreen hedges provide the benefits of having shelter or privacy throughout the year as they can grow thick coats of leaves. Evergreen hedges will most often need to be pruned roughly twice a year. If it gets neglected or overgrown you may not be able to restore it so it needs to be managed correctly.
Deciduous hedges won’t offer the same privacy or wind protection that an evergreen hedge would provide, however there are other benefits that come with this type of hedge. Species like beech hedges hold onto its brown leaves, which can look great as a contrasting colour in the garden. These hedges are much more forgiving if you miss a year of pruning, although it is recommended to prune in late the summer.