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Once a year I'm trimming the hedges around my yard - a European hornbeam - to make sure they grow dense, evenly and are in a good shape. I'm using an electric hedge trimmer to do the majority of the trimming and will do finer details and leftovers with smaller, manual shears.

Whenever I'm done trimming and take a view on the results, I'm bugged about uneven cuts here and there, despite my best efforts. The top ends up "wavy" and the front isn't completely straight across the whole span of the hedge either. I find it hard to keep a good eye on straight lines and shapes when standing right in front of my hedges and waving around with a rather heavy electric trimmer. And there are only so many corrections you can do before you're trimming too much.

Are there any good practices I can follow or supporting tools I can use to make my trims more even?

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Cutting a long and large hedge evenly isn't an easy and quick task, especially only doing one cut a year, its quite time consuming to try to get it even and straight. You can use the string and pole method - that means setting up poles or sticks, then tying a string between, making sure the string is even and straight, with just enough space for you to get the hedge trimmer in between the string and hedge. Even so, when doing the sides, it's best to trim up from the bottom, with frequent pauses to stand back and look before you carry on cutting, to make sure you're not going wrong. Same thing with the top - pause, stand back and look (I know if you're up a ladder that's a pain; you may be able to tell from the top of the ladder to a degree). The other thing is not to over reach - just cut the part you can reach easily in each spot holding the trimmer firmly and level; it's usually when we just do a few inches extra from where were are positioned that the unevenness occurs because we have less control over the position of the blades. There are a few Youtube videos on how to cut hedges straight, but there is advice in this link here too https://www.which.co.uk/news/2015/08/five-tips-on-how-to-cut-the-perfect-hedge-411099/

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When cutting the top there is a technique I use when the hedge is between waist and shoulder height. Brace the elbow of one arm on the hip, holding the angle of the elbow constant while you move along the hedge. I find that gives a more consistently level top.

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