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.

  • A
  • A
  • A

E-mail This Page to Your Friends


All fields are required.

Separate multiple e-mail addresses with a comma; Maximum 20 email addresses.


Sending E-mail

Sending E-mail

Or Do Not E-mail


A link to %this page% was e-mailed

Assess Shape From Top

When you have nearly finished, look down at the central stem to check that the outline of the cone is straight and even. Assess the shape all the way around and trim accordingly.

Assess Shape of Topiary from the TopEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Routine Care

Established topiary should be pruned once or twice a year in midsummer and early autumn. Never clip on hot, sunny days to prevent the newly exposed foliage from being scorched.

Prune Established Topiaries Twice a YearEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Tool Choices

Creating topiary shapes is much easier if you have the right tools; always keep the blades sharp and clean. Although you can use garden shears to trim cones and simple shapes, long-handled shears are a better choice because they offer greater control. For more intricate designs, use topiary shears (Image 1).

Top Tip: Clean Cuts
Boxwood blight is a major disease of boxwood. Protect your specimens by cleaning your pruning shears between plants with a spray of household disinfectant (Image 2).

12Next »

Excerpted from How to Grow Practically Everything

© 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

We Recommend...

How to Create a Level Lawn

How to Create a Level Lawn

Create a level lawn and prevent future problems with this step-by-step landscaping guide to remove bumps and hollows.

Assessing a New Landscape

Assessing a New Landscape

When you're shopping for a new home, inspect the yard as thoroughly as the house. Here are some tips on what to look for.

Create a Beautiful Stream-Side

Create a Beautiful Stream-Side

Take advantage of permanently moist soil, or areas near streams, to grow some of the many beautiful plants that associate well...


HGTV Outdoors Newsletter

Find out how to make the most of patios, decks and all your outdoor areas, plus tips from master gardeners for beautiful flower beds and bountiful vegetable gardens.