Top tips for tip top Topiary

Whether you’re growing your own topiary, trimming an old topiary tree back into shape or planting a ready-made topiary specimen, our top tips can help you make the most out of this long-standing art form in your garden.

  • For instant impact choose a ready-shaped topiary form, not only will you have an immediate garden feature but the only thing you’ll need to do is to give it a light trim once or twice a year to keep it neat.


  • If you have a lot of patience, there’s nothing more satisfying than creating your own topiary from small shrubs, and don’t worry if you make a mistake, it will always grow back.


  • When pruning your topiary, whether it’s a maintenance trim or you’re starting from scratch, always take your time. Turn the pot regularly and take a step back every once in a while to ensure the shape is even.


  • Place a sheet underneath your topiary when cutting, it will catch your trimmings and save time when clearing up.

trimming topiary

  • Yew topiary has a faster growth rate than most other topiary species so you may need to give it an extra prune during the summer months.


  • If you are struggling to trim your topiary into a rounded shape, use a circle of galvanised wire as a template to cut around.


  • In between trimming your topiary, always disinfect the blades of your tools to avoid any diseases spreading – this can easily be done using a household anti-bacterial spray. And if your sheers are feeling stiff, a little bit of oil will help to ease the pivot point.


  • Remove any damaged or diseased branches as soon as you spot them to prevent spreading.

pruning topiary

  • If you notice browning or coppery leaves on your container grown Box topiary, replenish the nutrients in the soil with an organic fertiliser and you should start to notice the foliage turning green again within a few weeks.


  • With container grown topiary, we recommend adding an organic fertiliser to the soil at least once a year as, unlike garden grown topiary, the nutrients and minerals in the soil cannot be naturally replenished in a pot.


  • If you are faced with a neglected or overgrown topiary specimen, it can handle a hard prune to return it to its top form, and followed with feeding and mulching, new growth will be stimulated.


  • If you want to try your hand at a more complicated shape than a ball, cone or spiral, this can be done easily enough with the help of some chicken wire. Firstly bend your wire into your desired shape – animals are often a popular choice – and then place your wire over your planted topiary shrub. Then, it does take a little bit of time, but allow your topiary to begin to outgrow its wire frame. Once there has been enough growth to warrant a trim, cut tight to the wire, once or twice in spring or summer. Eventually your topiary foliage will become so dense that you will no longer be able to see the wire frame and you will be left with your desired shape.

topiary wire shape

Visit our Facebook page to enter our #TopTopiary competition and be in with the chance of winning a pair of topiary trimmers and a £25 voucher to put towards the topiary tree of your choice.

If you have any questions about topiary, or anything else relating to your garden, please tweet me @best4hedging and I’ll be happy to help.

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