A Focus on: Topiary

2 April 2021

The topiary feature

1. Perfect punctuation

Planting topiary standards or lollipops at intervals throughout a hedge is a great way to add height and structure to your borders. These topiary specimens can be formed using a variety of different plant species, including Photinia, which not only creates a sophisticated shape but also gives a burst of colour.

2. Decorating doorways and enhancing entrances

Topiary is fantastic used in pairs to decorate doorways and entrance ways and choosing shapes such as cones and spirals is a great way to make a bold statement.

3. Bold borders and pathways

You can add aesthetic appeal to both borders and pathways using small Box topiary balls. They work well even in gardens with limited space and are low maintenance, so you can have a striking feature year-round with minimal effort needed to keep it looking its best.

4. Statement features for balconies and picturesque patios

Container grown topiary trees can make a dramatic addition to your patio or balcony. A topiary spiral can spruce up an empty corner of your patio, or a potted topiary ball is the perfect way to finish off a contemporary balcony.

5. Cast an illusion

Using symmetrical rows of topiary planted either side of a garden can create the illusion of space, making a small garden appear larger. Using a similar design along a pathway is also a wonderful way to draw attention to parts of the garden that may otherwise go unnoticed.

Create your own 


There are different kinds of topiary you can attempt depending on the result you want. You can buy a plant and grow and simply shape it yourself freehand, or you can train a plant to grow through a specially-shaped frame, which is placed over the plant during its early growth. This is often easier if you’re a novice as you always have a handy guide for cutting.


Geometric shapes are the easiest to start with when you’re first trying topiary, like ballscones and cubes.

Type of Plants

The type of plant you choose is vital to topiary success. You must buy plants that are evergreen, and have thick, bushy growth. Best plants for topiary include BoxYew and Privet. If you want a simple geometric shape, choose a plant that already has the type of growth you need. So short, wide plants for cubes and tall, upright growth for cones.


Creating your own topiary takes time and patience. It can take many months for your plant to mature and the branches to knit tightly together to become the living sculpture you want to see. Make sure you know how to maintain your plant for healthy growth – if you’re unsure about plant care, contact our friendly experts for advice and help.


If you’re using a frame, you can start to cut as soon as the growth begins to protrude through the frame. If you’re cutting freehand, you can start to trim when your plant is tall, thick and bushy enough to cut. If you’re worried about making a mistake freehand, use templates to guide you. Taut string can be used to ensure you get a straight line. Don’t cut too much off when you trim as this could kill off that part of the plant and ruin the final effect.


You don’t need fancy equipment to try topiary. You just need a good pair of topiary trimmers. We’re giving away two sets and two £25 vouchers to spend on your dream topiary plant as part of our #toptopiary month. Visit the best4hedging Facebook page for more info.

Check out some of the unusual and inspiring topiary shapes found around the world...