A well-maintained hedge provides a good, smart boundary to a garden, but if left unchecked, a hedge can soon lose its shape and end up casting unwanted shade. With a good pruning schedule you can keep hedges under control without too much effort.

Most evergreen formal hedges like to be trimmed two or three times a year, while they're actively growing. Conifer hedges such as leylandii need regular pruning or these fast-growers will soon outgrow their location.

Pruning informal hedges depends on when they flower. Lavender, fuchsia, roses and other plants that flower on the current year's wood are best pruned in early to mid-spring, while those that flower on old wood, such as forsythia, deutzia and berberis, should be pruned when the blooms fade.