Available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, topiaries are a great way to add a modern touch to your home or garden. A topiary piece can be pruned out of an existing shrub or constructed from your favorite vine or flower. Purchasing one of these focal points from a nursery or professional landscaper can be expensive, but with the right materials and techniques you can add one of these focal points to your yard or table yourself.
Here are a few tips on how to add professional style to your yard with a DIY topiary.
Pick Your Shape
The first step in creating your own topiary is deciding what shape you'd like to create. Topiary shapes range from a traditional ball design to leafy lawn furniture and animals. Whether you chose to train a vine or trim shapes with pruning shears, using a frame will help achieve eye-catching topiaries. Wrap chicken wire around an object with your desired shape like a teddy bear or basketball. Once the frame is molded, you can fill the center with moss and cover with vines or use the frame to cut existing shrubs. To shape the traditional ball-on-stem or spiral designs, choose a taller shrub with straight trunk. Use a more rounded shrub for globe-shaped pieces and wider shrubs for more complex designs for pruning.
The type of plant you use for your topiary depends on the type of topiary desired. For vine topiary, perennial vines like sweet pea or English ivy will train well around framing, while giving a full leafy look. Climbing jasmine or angel vine are great natural house plants for indoor centerpieces and wreaths. When pruning the perfect tree, boxwood and rosemary tend to grow wide enough for shaping. Your topiary tree should be placed in an area that receives lots of natural sunlight.
The first two weeks of care are the most vital to the growth of your topiary piece. Vine topiaries require regular and sufficient amounts of water so make sure to soak the moss twice a week. It is a good idea to spray your growing topiary with a water bottle every day to prevent the moss from drying out. After the first two weeks, add a 20-20-20 balanced fertilizer once a month to keep the vines thriving. Existing shrubs need less initial care and should be tended to with regular plant maintenance techniques. It is also important to prune your topiary as it grows to maintain its shape. Spiral designs should have excess branches and growth clipped twice a year, while other shapes should be trimmed once a month.