Guide to Topiary


Topiary is the art of creating living sculptures by training and pruning shrubs and trees. The practice has been popular since Roman times, and was traditionally used to create geometric and architectural shapes, such as cones, obelisks, spheres and columns. It has now been developed to include more fanciful features, such as birds, animals or chess pieces. These designs may be created from trees (e.g. yew - Taxus spp.) or hedges (e.g. box - Buxus sempervirens) within a garden, or can also be created effectively by using a single container plant (for example, bay laurel - Laurus nobilis) either as a centrepiece, as a pair to frame a doorway or several to line a path.

In this section, you'll find advice and information on planning and creating a topiary project, from the types of plants you can use to clipping techniques and maintenance tips.

Planning a Topiary Project
Tips on how to plan the right design and position for your new topiary.
Suitable Plants
Find out about the range of different plants available for creating topiary designs.
Topiary Projects
Step-by-step guides to creating simple and complex topiary pieces.
Clipping Techniques
A look at when and how you should clip your topiary.
Find out how to protect your topiary over the winter, along with advice on repairing and renovating damaged pieces.