18 October 2012

Hedge saga cut short

If you've been reading Walt's blog and mine for a few years, you remember the big annual hedge-trimming job, I'm sure. This year we cut it short, ha ha ha. Not the hedge, but the job. We hired it done.

 This photo of Walt's shows how massive the bay laurel hedge really is...

This year the trim was just the start of the job. The rest, according to Monsieur Barat the landscape contractor, needs to be done in March. That means two sections of the bay laurel hedge that will be cut down to a more manageable height and width, with chainsaws. The hedge is about 100 meters long, all told. The tall bay leaf bush in the corner (a laurier-sauce, they call it, because they're the kind of bay leaves you put in sauces, stews, and soups) and a long row of hazelnut trees will also be cut back pretty severely.

Smoothing off the top meant cutting off a lot of leaves and branches. Wet weather
in April, May, June, and July made the hedge really grow in 2012.

A tall, wide privacy hedge seems like a good idea until you are faced with the job of maintaining it. Now I think I wall or a fence would be a better idea. I wonder how many years of hedge-trimming fees it would cost to have a wall built. The fee this year for the trimming of just a section of the hedge and hauling away the debris was 400 euros.

This man trimmed the hedge and his helpers did the cleanup.

Monsieur Barat sent two men out on Monday afternoon, and then a third man joined them on Tuesday morning to finish the job. And I have to say they did a great job. The top surface of the hedge is really flat and even, and there is hardly a stray leaf left on the ground anywhere. They even hauled away a pile of debris and trimmings that we had left sitting on the path out by the back gate for several months.

Instead of doing back-breaking work, we just sat back and enjoyed the sunset.

The crew didn't really have to work in the rain, but it was touch and go. Monday afternoon was basically dry. It rained overnight, and the rain was just ending Tuesday morning at eight when the men showed up again. They said they would finish even if it rained that morning. It didn't, and they did. Finish, I mean.

A job well done...

I know you'll miss all the days and even weeks of pictures of Walt up on a ladder with the electric hedge trimmer and me with a rake and wheelbarrow cleaning up the trimmings. On our side, we'll make do with looking back at old blog posts and pictures, dreaming of the good old days when we broke our backs doing the job in September and October.


  1. An excellent decision on your part I reckon. I'm getting the garden maintenance professionals in today to trim the orchard -- annual close mow and hedge control, plus some new compost bins. I'm spending slightly more than half of what you did, but we are having a bonfire. They said for them to take the stuff away would double the cost, so it looks like they charge about the same as your guys.

  2. I agree with Susan... and it looks magnifique, aussi! And of course... it "leaves" you the time to "branch" out into other things... like taking time as you say to "leaf" through old pictures... or, perhaps, you could research your respective family "trees"...

  3. Double the cost! You must be having a lot of stuff cut down, so there would be a lot of debris to haul away, Susan. Our guy's devis said the cost of the hedge trimming was 378€, plus 12€ (yes, twelve euros) to rake up and haul away the clippings = 390€ in all.

    I figure it was a 10-hour job, and there were three people involved (the crew + the boss). I calculate that 39€ per hour divided by 3 = 13€ per person hour.

    When we had the hedge pruned 7 or 8 years ago by another entrepreneur, he charged us 400€. This time, I got a second estimate from another landscaping contractor who said he wanted 575€. So I was happy with the 390€ bid.

    Tim... groan!

  4. The French word devis means bid or estimate.

    I forgot to mention another bid we got 5 or 6 years ago that was for 12€ per person/hour.

  5. Sometimes, you have to decide that just because you CAN do a job, doesn't mean that you SHOULD do the job... it makes sense to hire someone for a job this big, especially if it takes a physical toll on you.

    And.... what if you left it to grow, without trimming it?

  6. nicely done! but wow that is a lot of work! and Tim is very very punny... ha!

  7. I love the look of your hedge. I also like picket fences, but they have to be maintained also and painting is hard work, as you know- but not so dangerous as hedge trimming.

  8. Wonder if all the neighbors got
    together and got a "group bid"
    the price might come down per

    Looks beautiful.

  9. i think 12 or 13 E an hour is very reasonable.....it is hard work and they are trying to make a living.....its good you could find someone to do it....the hedge looks very neat

  10. Love that header, stunning.

    We have a long, 2 metre high laurel hedge which I have just cut. We keep it high as the only person in the hamlet who is a pain happens to have the property next door:-( If one leaf should as much as touch the fence he comes round and complains.

    Everyone here has the same problem with this miserable old bugger!! Diane

  11. Forgot to add that our hedge is about 100 meters, but only 30 is laurel the rest is fir. We are planting laurel slowly along inside it as the fir is not that happy! Diane

  12. The hedge looks nice. Walt and you also always had a well-cut hedge. The workers were fast, efficient and neat. Lucky you chose the right crew.

  13. Ken: yes, I guess I'm not comparing like with like. The amount of waste we've accumulated would have taken them all afternoon to dispose of -- partly because the tip isn't that close too.

  14. Hi Diane, do I understand that you have personally pruned that tall laurel hedge? If so, chapeau !

  15. Ken I have done it every year since we bought the place in 2005. It was only about half the height then, we have let it grow because of nosey parker next door. It has been 2 metres high since about 2008. I usually have to do the fence side 2 to 3 times a year because if, as I said, 1 leaf as much as touches the fence we get a visit!! Diane


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