Topiaries are focal points in every garden. They are conversation pieces. But are the difficult to create and/or maintain? What are the design and build do’s and don’t’s? Design Tip: Since topiaries are usually outside, they visually relate to their surrounding outside landscape. Landscape scale is large, if not vast which in turn requires large structures to be placed within. Otherwise structures, be it bushes, planters and/or topiary will simply get visually lost. Here is how you know:
Have you ever bought outdoor planters or bushes and thought to yourself “…boy these are large ones and by the time the material is in your garden it all looks small?”
Topiaries work the same way. Bottom line: Lean on the side of oversizing them!
Sufficiently large topiary frames are not easily found. The Canadian company Rittenhouse Garden Tools, sells some. They are expensive. In his appearance on the upcoming Cablevision program “Homes & Estates – Today & Tomorrow” Phillip Watson, one of the leading horticulturists in the US recommended the following: Find a local metal worker/welder and have him weld a rough frame. Then use wire mesh to create the shape of the desired form. The mesh serves as a clipping guide not as a support structure – by frequently clipping the boxwoods they will internally grow the necessary structure for you.
For plantings in the US Mr. Watson suggests boxwood, which should be sheered regularly to form sufficient cross-linking branches for strength.
Topiaries prove landscaping design can be groomed / formal and be fun at the same time. Let your imagination run free. The owner(s) of the lions depicted in the photo got a few things right: the lions have a unique shape and perfect scale. Bravo! Have fun creating topiary in your garden!
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