Problem: You've inherited a sloppily chopped shrub.
Do make selective cuts to neaten up a poorly pruned shrub by stimulating new growth where you want it and removing injured, less vigorous wood. Cuts heal more quickly when made in the right spot and at the correct angle with a sharp, clean tool. Find a branch with a bud facing the direction you want new growth to follow. Prune just above that bud at a 45-degree angle, with the lowest point of the cut farthest from the bud.
Don't leave more than ¼ inch of growth above the bud, as this can encourage rot. Cutting too low can cause the bud to dry out, and cutting at an angle greater than 45 degrees can create a large surface area that's slow to heal, inviting disease.