Use hedges as a fence, to define your lot line, edge your patio or as a privacy screen.
Dig a trench 12-18 inches wide, setting plants in a straight line or an offset zigzag pattern at the depth they grew in the nursery row, following the spacing chart below. (An offset pattern will give you a thicker, fuller hedge but may require 1/3 more plants.) To stimulate branching, pinch off the ends of each new shoot. When new growth reaches 10-12 inches, trim it back several inches.
Hedges should be trimmed several times a season. A weak or straggly hedge should be cut back to within inches of the ground, then fertilized to encourage new growth. If a hedge is doing well, only minor pruning is needed--particularly if you favor an informal appearance. Be sure to prune the top narrower than the bottom so that the bottom gets sun.
Prune flowering hedges after they have finished blooming, such as lilacs and spirea. Hydrangeas, on the other hand, should be pruned later in summer, removing only the stems that have already flowered.