Like so many gardeners before me, I ignored the advice of the wise. Back in about 1980 I planted a Leylandii hedge (I know, I know), and the wretched thing just continues to grow, and spread. I planted it to make the cottage invisible (which it does impeccably).
At this time every year, I trim the sides and cut back any top growth; this takes about two reasonably relaxing days (see top picture). The resulting detritus is then burned on an out-of-the-way, bonfire.
The only plus side to this annual operation is the beautiful aroma of the bonfire. Like the smell of freshly cut grass, it's one of the perks of the gardener's toil. And always being conscious of the anti-social side of bonfires, I only light 2 each year.
It may be JUST an annoying plume of smoke to many, but for me it's also a seasonal marker. Daffs, snowdrops, bonfire; spring must be on its way!