Nathan keeps Queensland’s hedges looking sharp
- Nathan Sharp regularly trims some of the largest and trickiest-to-maintain hedges in Brisbane, Australia
- Hedge trimmers need a head for heights, good balance, and a strong foundation
- Nathan chooses Steel Blue work boots because they’re comfortable, grip well, and have a convenient zip.
When you’re the person who trims some of the biggest hedges in Queensland, you need both a good head for heights and an excellent sense of balance.
Fortunately for Nathan Sharp, the owner of Brisbane-based horticultural services business Sharp Hedges, his big passions in life are rock climbing and mountain climbing.
“So, I don’t have a problem with balancing or heights,” he said.
That’s been a huge advantage to Nathan in his business.
“I realized there was a lot of demand because a lot of maintenance guys would see these big hedges and they wouldn’t do it, either because they were scared, or they couldn’t, or they weren’t set up for it,” Nathan said. “And arborists didn’t want to do it either, because they don’t really want to get on ladders, they just want to climb trees. So, there was this little niche area where I thought, ‘I could make a go of it’. It still amazes me.”
Now, Nathan regularly finds himself balanced at the top of a very tall ladder, wedged between a five-meter-tall hedge and a swimming pool, with a long-pole trimmer in hand, making large sweeping cuts with the precision of a surgeon.
Finding his niche
Sharp Hedges was established in 2015. It marked an evolution from a more generalized property maintenance business Nathan had previously built and allowed him to focus on hedge trimming.
“It’s like any craft or trade: there’s a skill involved,” Nathan said. “The longer you do it, the better you get. As I got into it, I realized that you could be judged on how well you did a hedge and that was your trademark. You could be better than other guys by doing a good job.”
Nathan’s reputation quickly grew. Among the many spectacular, oversized and difficult to trim hedges around Brisbane that Nathan maintained for a 5-year tenure are those of the formal gardens at the historic Windemere homestead at Ascot, which were designed by famous landscape architect Paul Bangay. It’s the largest hedge in Brisbane and from start to finish takes four days to trim.
The skill and the craft
Nathan describes his enjoyment of hedge trimming as being similar to Tiger Woods discovering golf. It really just all came together.
“It takes hand-eye coordination,” he said. “You might not think it, but it’s really important. The big hedges that we do take a lot of balance. It’s a lot like yoga or rock climbing. You’ll be in an awkward position and have to hold something and know that you can’t deviate from the line. So, there’s a lot of strength and core strength and holding. But there’s also finesse. It takes all of those physical things, but it’s also quite mentally challenging.”
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Why Nathan chooses to wear Steel Blue boots
Nathan is on his feet all day, climbing up and down ladders, so he’s used to wearing work boots. He said his first pair of Steel Blue boots were a revelation.
“They’re a really great boot,” he said. “I’ve worn them every day now. I’ve had cheap boots that have only lasted three months, but these are easily holding up to be the best boots I’ve had.
“I like the colors and I like the zip on the side, which is important these days for compliance. If we go to a landscaping site now we need have to have the zip on the side. But, honestly, I never undo the laces.”