With a good trimmer and a steady hand, even you can create even lines and a great contour. I have now owned my very own hedge for 3 years and each time I trim it down, I get a little bit better at making sure it doesn't look hideous. It acts as part of the border between my neighbors yard and mine, but definitely sits on my side (so my responsibility).
For all you newbie bush trimmers, I recommend going with the growth of the plant. For me, this means straight up and near the sides, slightly forward. This just makes it easy to take care of the branches that stick out. As for the top, I haven't got any good tips other than to go over it twice to make sure that you get all of it. I usually use a rake on it afterwords to get out any of the bits of plant in it.
Why am I writing about a shrubbery? I am really trying to not write about how my day is. Blogs tend to fall into such a rut of I ate cereal, I love so and so, I am just miserable, or some other diary associated thing. I will occasionally fall into that rut, but try not to.