How to Make a Topiary Form

By Faith McGee

Topiaries are considered by many as landscaping artwork. Used for centuries for the higher classes, topiary forms can be created by home gardeners when pruning or training a plant. Typically, topiaries are shaped by a wire frame that is filled with moss. A climbing plant grows on top of the form, producing that shape. However, you can make your own topiary forms from dense shrubbery.

Topiary plant
credit: Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images

Step 1

Pick a simple shape for your topiary. Often, first-time topiary gardeners will pick a geometrical shape like a square or circle. Winter is the best time to create a topiary form, because the plant has slowed its growing and will suffer less from pruning shock.

Step 2

Bring a picture of the form your want your shrubbery to take on with you when pruning. Having a picture on hand will help guide your cuts.

Step 3

Make downward 45 degree angled cuts into the shrubbery when creating the form. Cut to half an inch from a healthy outward growing bud with either bypass or lopping shears. Stand back several times to get an overall view.

Step 4

Remove one-third of the plant at at time if you are pruning an intricate form. Cut off any unhealthy branches or any branches that rub against each other.

Step 5

Repeat the process of pruning the topiary in a month after the topiary has recovered. Continue taking off little by little each month until the form has reached its desired shape.