Create a Simple Topiary

Topiary lends structure and formality to any planting design and makes a useful focal point. All you need to bring an overgrown specimen back into shape, or to make a cone from scratch, are some basic tools, patience and a good eye.

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Topiary Adds Structure to Garden DesignEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

When to Start: Early summer
At Its Best: All year round
Time to Complete: 1 hour

Materials Needed:

  • 1 boxwood plant (Buxus sempervirens)
  • household disinfectant
  • sharp, long-handled shears

Select a Healthy Plant

When choosing a specimen to clip into topiary, look for one with dense, healthy growth, unblemished foliage and a strong leading stem in the center.

Select Healthy Plant for TopiaryEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Start to Trim by Eye

Looking down on the plant, locate the central stem, which will form the top of the cone. With shears, trim around the stem to create the outline.

Trimming a Topiary ConeEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Keep Moving Around the Plant

Don't trim the topiary in "sides" — you risk overclipping one area. Continually move around the plant, regularly taking a step back to look at the overall shape.

Plant Clipping AdviceEnlarge 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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