Creating a Boxwood Topiary

Topiary adds real style to a patio or deck, and making your own is easy and rewarding.

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Striking Spiral Topiary DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited Topiary shapes, such as pyramids and spirals, are easy to make. Once you have mastered the basics, try developing your own designs.

When to Start: Early summer
At Its Best: All year round
Time to Complete: 3 hours

Materials Needed:

  • large boxwood (Buxus sempervirens)
  • topiary shears
  • clippers
  • wire
  • large container
  • soil-based potting mix

Clip Into Rough Outline

Plant your boxwood in a large container filled with soil-based potting mix. To create a spiral shape with a ball on top, start off by roughly trimming your plant into a cone. If you want to create a ball finial on top, leave the upper portion unclipped at this stage.

Boxwood Lends Itself to TopiaryEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Shape With Topiary Shears

You may be able to create the outline by eye, but if you want a guide, place a loose spiral of wire around the cone, and use shears to clip in between, cutting back to the central stem. Use clippers for woodier stems. Don't rush, and stand back regularly to check how the shape is developing.

Use Topiary Shears To Clip Boxwood StemsEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Round Off the Edges

Once you have a rough spiral, start creating the final shape. Use your shears to gradually round off the edges to give the appearance of a tube winding around the central stem. To keep the shape in proportion, and to make it look solid and stable, taper the spiral so that it is thinner at the top and thicker at the base. Regularly inspect your work as you go, tweaking as necessary.

Round and RoundEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited
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Excerpted from How to Grow Practically Everything

© 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

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