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HOW TO...Create Art Using Your Hedges

Martin

Martin

Martin sprouted up from the North East of England and has been somewhat on the move ever since. After living in various countries and studying in Belgium, he now temporarily lives in Australia and works as a freelance writer. Although his environment may have changed frequently over the last few years, he has always kept a budding enthusiasm for all things outdoors and has a keen interest in garden renovations.

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You’ve seen it before! You’ve pressed your face up against the car window as you drive past a house with an astonishing garden. The lawn is immaculate, the colors are bright and the hedges have been cut into all types of creative geometric shapes, animals and everyday things. If you follow these magical sights up with the thought that you could never recreate that in your garden, you’d certainly be wrong!

The name for someone who creates art using their hedges is known as a topiarist. Topiary is certainly a skilled craft that not every gardener has tried their hand at – but there are some golden tips you can follow that will certainly get you started and help you improve. Just be warned, artistic hedges can take time to come to fruition. 

Top Tip 1: Analyse your Hedges

You may have an idea of what you want to create in your head. But, have you ever matched that idea up against the natural shape of your current hedges? 

It’s important to be realistic about what you want to achieve. Some hedges scream “make me into a pair of bunny ears”, while other hedges would never accommodate such a design.

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The first stage is to give your hedge a similar shape to the design you have in mind. Don’t go straight for the kill and try to make it an oil painting from day one. A general cut to a similar shape is a good start

Top Tip 2: Mark the Date

A painter can open up his easel at any time of the year, but your artwork is a little different. You should start your hedge trimming in spring or at the beginning of summer while the leaves are new and fresh.

Top Tip 3: Sketch the Outline

The first stage is to give your hedge a similar shape to the design you have in mind. Don’t go straight for the kill and try to make it an oil painting from day one. A general cut to a similar shape is a good start.

Top Tip 4: Mark Out Your Design

To make sure you stay on track as you work away at your hedge, you need to mark out the design. You can do this by using slender wooden poles. You can keep these in place using string and tying the design together.

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Just because your hedge is now a piece of art, it still needs to be maintained and cared for. Remember to water your hedge regularly and protect it against potential pests. Also, rid the base of the hedge of any weeds by remembering to mow!

Top Tip 5: Trimming and Freeing

Keep trimming your hedge as the year – or years – progress. This will allow you to define the shape gradually rather than being overambitious in the first weeks. Once the shape is beginning to form on its own and has become recognisable, you may want to remove the wooden poles that are tying the hedge in place.

Top Tip 6: Additional support

Sometimes things don’t go to plan and you lose shape, or your bunny ears start to have the neighbours talking for the wrong reasons. In these instances, it may be best to adopt the help of galvanised wire. You can fasten the wire securely to the ground and encourage the hedge to follow your design. This will also let you easily identify the areas that need more of a trim and other areas that need to be left alone.

Top Tip 7: Love Your Hedge

Just because your hedge is now a piece of art, it still needs to be maintained and cared for. Remember to water your hedge regularly and protect it against potential pests. Also, rid the base of the hedge of any weeds by remembering to mow. 

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