Hedge trimming costs £60-£120 per hour or £2-£5 per metre. This adds up to about £60-£360, depending on the size of the hedge. Please note that by “hedge trimming”, we mean “maintenance hedge trimming”, not “hedge pruning” or “hedge removal”.
These three are similar and often used interchangeably, especially in the cases of trimming and pruning. However, they are different, but equally important aspects of hedge cutting and maintenance.
So, in this article, we will discuss all hedge cutting prices, processes and benefits. We will also cover tips for hiring a gardener and choosing the best time of the year for hedge maintenance work.
How much does hedge trimming cost?
Hedge trimming prices
|Hedge trimming cost per hour (£/hour)
|Hedge trimming cost total (£)
|Medium-sized to large hedge
For hedge maintenance work, hire either a gardener, tree surgeon or local trades-person. This person or company will probably want to inspect the hedge before quoting a price. After getting hired, they will bring their tools and get to work.
The hedge cutting prices in Table 1 already cover both labour and equipment. But you may have to pay extra for specialist equipment, like harnesses or mechanical excavators. In such situations, hedge trimming costs could rise to about £100-£140 per hour.
We are using hourly rates, because that’s the most common billing method for hedge trimming. However, gardeners also bill based on hedge size (£2-£5 per metre) or per project. Some may also ask for a minimum fee.
If a gardener offers multiple billing options, try to choose the most cost-effective one. This will vary from project to project. For example, an hourly rate is cost-effective if the job doesn’t take too much time. Not so much, if it takes too long.
After the hedges have been trimmed, the waste (clippings) need to be disposed of. Once again, we have already accounted for this in the hedge cutting prices in Table 1. However, some gardening services don’t include waste removal in their primary quotes (for hedge trimming).
They may charge separately for it. They may also leave the responsibility up to you. In this case, you can hire a skip for £75-£200 per day. Another option is to use the clippings as mulch and manure.
What are the factors that determine hedge trimming costs?
It’s time to discuss the many factors that determine the total cost of a hedge trimming job. In one way or another, these factors affect all hedge cutting costs, including hedge pruning and removal.
By this, we mean the height, length, and width of the hedge. Compared to a small hedge, it takes more resources (time, equipment and number of tradespeople) to trim a large hedge. Therefore, hedge trimming costs will be higher.
For example, we mentioned that hourly rates could rise if gardeners need specialist equipment. This is more likely to happen when trimming a large hedge.
This affects hedge trimming costs through its influences on the growth rate and size of a hedge. Hedge plants, like the Leylandii hedge, are fast-growing. This means you will have to trim them more often. So trimming costs more.
A fast-growing hedge is also likely to be bigger, and as we already know, a large hedge is costlier to trim.
This determines how frequently and tightly you need to trim a hedge. A formal hedge needs to be trimmed tightly and frequently (about 2-3 times a year). An informal hedge only needs to be trimmed once a year. Plus, there is no need to trim it tightly.
So, between these two, a formal hedge will be more expensive to trim and manage.
Ease of access
Expect hedge cutting costs to rise if your gardener encounters accessibility issues while moving their equipment or trimming the hedge. These issues make the job more difficult and time-consuming. So, it is only natural for the gardener to charge higher rates.
One example of access issues is if the hedge doesn’t have enough clearance space around it. Another example is a boundary hedge beside a public road.
The condition of the hedge
How overgrown and unkempt does the hedge look? Obviously, it will take more resources to trim an overgrown hedge. In fact, the job could cost a lot more if the hedge is in even worse shape.
Take a diseased or damaged hedge as an example. You will probably want to bring that hedge back to good health. Trimming alone is not enough to achieve this. You will need to execute other tasks like pruning, fertilising, etc. All of these cost money. So be ready to spend more money when dealing with a hedge in poor shape.
This depends on the standard of living in your location and the distance between you and the gardener. Cities and the Southeast have a higher standard of living. So, expect hedge trimming to be more expensive in such locations. The price difference can reach up to 20%.
It is often harder to find professional gardening services in extremely rural areas. Therefore, you may have to hire a gardener from afar. Such a person will probably charge higher, or at least, bill you for transportation costs.
This is a great opportunity to execute the following garden jobs.
- General garden maintenance (£30-£800): This includes planting, weeding, fertilising, and watering.
- Garden clearance (£100-£300): This simply means clearing garden waste and other undesirables.
Why do I need to trim hedges?
Here are four reasons to trim your hedges.
It makes the hedge look good
No one likes an overgrown and unkept hedge. Hedge trimming keeps your hedges looking neat and aesthetically pleasing. It maintains the desired size and shape. Plus, you can spice things up by trimming hedges into interesting shapes and forms.
It encourages healthy growth
The primary benefit of hedge trimming is aesthetics. However, it also encourages healthy growth by removing old, compromised and damaged limbs. With regular trimming, your hedges grow healthier.
To avoid issues with your neighbours
Overgrown hedges can block views and sunlight from your neighbour’s garden. Its roots can steal nutrients from your neighbour’s garden or cause damages to patios, water pipes and other structures. In any of these situations, the neighbour can report to the authorities or take legal actions.
To avoid getting in trouble with the authorities
The local council can take actions if they believe you are not doing enough to maintain your hedges or if a neighbour lodges a complaint. They can impose a fine of about £5,000 or force you to trim or cut down high hedges.
When should I trim my hedge?
This depends on the hedge plant and type. However, the best time of year to trim hedges is October to February. Anytime in autumn and spring will do. The point is to avoid trimming hedges between March and Augusts. This is the bird nesting season.
During this period, wild birds might nest in your hedges. The 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act prohibits anything that can mess nestling birds. So you are not allowed to trim your hedge during the bird nestling season. However, you could get a derogation.
For hedges that require multiple trims yearly, make the first cut between January and March. This first cut is the harshest and most important. You can make the second cut around June. This falls within the nesting season. So trim lightly, and before you start trimming, ensure there aren’t any birds nesting in the hedge. Make the final trim in spring.
How often should I trim my hedge?
This depends on the hedge. Here are answers for some of the most popular hedges in the UK.
- Yew hedge: Trim it once a year between August and September.
- Leylandii hedge: trim it three times a year between April and Augusts. Try August, July and late April.
- Hawthorn hedge: Trim once a year, between June and October.
- Beech hedges: Trim it once yearly, in August.
- Holly hedge: Trim once a year, between August and September.
- Privet hedge: Trim twice yearly between May and August.
- Laurel hedge: Trim once a year, in July or August.
What about hedge pruning and removal?
Now it’s time to talk about the other two hedge maintenance practices.
The only difference between hedge trimming and hedge pruning is the primary purpose. The former is meant to improve aesthetics, while the latter is meant to improve health. Hedge pruning targets sick, diseased, damaged, old and dead branches. Therefore, it is also much more selective.
The best time to prune hedges is around winter and early spring, just before the growing season starts. However, you can follow the same calendar as hedge trimming. The average hedge pruning jobs cost pretty much the same as the average hedge trimming. So budget about £1o0-£360.
This means exactly what the name suggests. It is the process of removing a hedge, roots and all. You can do this through full excavation or stump grinding. There are several reasons to consider having a hedge removed. It could be health, budget, garden-design related etc.
Hedge removal costs about £100-£400. It is slightly more expensive than the other two. This is because it requires specialist equipment like a stump grinder or a mechanical excavator, among others. It also takes longer.
How can I find qualified and reliable hedge trimming services?
Here is a how to find good gardeners, tree surgeons, or anyone else for the job
- Ask friends, family members, colleagues and neighbours for recommendations.
- Check local listings
- Check the internet, but ensure you use reliable sources and check the reviews.
Here is how to review the candidates:
- Ask for pictures or videos of similar past projects
- Ask if they have professional licenses and certifications, like the Government Competent Person scheme
- Ask if they have public liability insurance
- Ask for reliable references
- Get quotes and compare prices from at least 3 candidates
Then get written quotes with a full cost-breakdown from your final candidate.
Can I cut hedge myself?
Yes, you can. But only if you have enough DIY experience and time. Hedge trimming is slightly more complicated than must people think. At the very least, it can be frustrating to amateurs. You need good technique to avoid mistakes like over-cutting or damaging the hedge.
Still, you can handle it. As long as you stick to small hedges, get the right tools (hedge trimmers), learn hedge cutting techniques, and know the rules of when and when not to cut an hedge. We still recommend hiring professionals for large hedges and big projects. But if you choose Diy hedge trimming, here are the tools you need. You can buy or hire as applicable.
- Hedge trimmer: A mechanised or electric hedge trimmer and manual hedge trimmers (pruning shears, ratchet shears, secateurs etc.)
- Safety equipment: Gloves, safety boots and goggles.
- Climbing tools (to reach hedges too tall): Safety harness, ladder, scaffolding, footstool.
- Waste removal: Spade, rake, shovel and skip
On average, hedge trimming cost about £60-£120 per hour. However, this will vary from one service to another. Companies will charge higher than individuals, and tree surgeons will charge higher than regular gardeners.
But even this is just a piece of the iceberg. There are several factors that determine the price of any hedge cutting project. The only way to get an accurate quotation is to talk to a professional hedge trimming service.
How can I save money on hedge trimming?
Here are 4 tips:
- Trim the hedge yourself: You just need some hedge cutters.
- Handle waste removal yourself: this can save about £50-£70.
- Keep your hedges well-maintained and in good health: This will reduce the amount of work that the gardener has to do.
- Hire a professional for the first trim, then handle the rest of yearly hedge maintenance work yourself.
What time of the year can I get in trouble for cutting hedges?
Don’t cut hedges during the bird nestling season, between March and August. You could be fined up to £5000 for doing this. If you must do any hedge maintenance work during this period, get a derogation and ensure there aren’t any birds nesting in the hedge.
Can I cut a neighbour’s hedge?
Yes, but it is better to talk to the property owner or the authorities before doing this. You are legally allowed to cut the branches of a tree or hedge that is encroaching on your property. You can also choose to report to the local council instead and let them take care of it.
Who is responsible for a boundary hedge?
The owner of the property on which the hedge is growing. The property deed will confirm this. If you are the owner, it is your responsibility to maintain both sides of the hedge. Even with that, you still need permission to work from that neighbour’s side of the hedge.
However, sometimes, the neighbour may also decide to maintain their side of the hedge.
Do I need planning permissions to trim hedges?
No. You might need planning permission for hedge removal, but rarely for trimming or pruning. However, there are exceptions. Like if you are in a conservation area.