Topiary Trees: A Field Guide For Sterling Landscapes

Topiary trees are delightful landscape decor. If you want to include topiary landscaping in your front yard, we’ll show you how to do it. With topiary trees, you can make a statement while adding curb appeal to your home.

What Are Topiary Trees?

Before you begin your topiary garden, you’ll need to figure out which USDA hardiness zone you live in. According to their official website, the USDA Hardiness Zone Map divides North America into 11 planting zones; each growing zone is 10 degrees Fahrenheit warmer or colder during average winters than the adjacent zone.

Topiary trees are real plants. Unlike trees, it doesn’t take many years to grow and design the greenery. 

What Are Topiary Trees?

What Are Topiary Trees?

Topiary is the art or practice of cutting trees or shrubs into images. The best part about tree trimming art is how it provides an opportunity to express yourself. 

Pruning Your Stunning Topiary Trees

Topiary landscaping can make your outdoor area look spectacular. You’ll want to maintain its captivating style and look.

Pruning is the most important part of topiary care. To prune your topiary shrubs, you’ll need the right tools.

When To Prune Topiary Trees?

Topiary bushes do not require a lot of work to maintain their wonderful appearances. Prune outdoor topiary annually at the beginning or end of summer. During both periods, your trees and plants recover fast.

Topiary Pruning Tools

When pruning your outdoor green treasures, use bypass hand pruners or handheld clipping shears. The small tools offer precision and can reach those hard-to-get spots.

Do not use hedge trimmers with long blades or hedge shears. Topiary trees need to be trimmed at different angles. Make sure you start at the top and work down.

Artificial Topiary Trees Vs Real Topiary Trees

Artificial Topiary Trees Vs. Real Topiary Trees

When shopping for topiary trees, you’ll find two types of topiaries. Real topiary trees and faux topiary trees. Each style has unique benefits.

Here, we’ll look at the pros and cons of each so you can decide which one is right for your home.

Artificial Topiary Trees


  • Looks perfect
  • Highly customizable 
  • Can be found in any style
  • No cleanup or maintenance 


  • Can look fake
  • Doesn’t have the smell

Real Topiary Trees 


  • Smells amazing
  • Looks authentic 
  • Adds freshness 
  • Good for environment 


  • High maintenance 

Best Topiary Plants To Grow

What Are Topiary Trees?

These trees are easy to trim and shape without harming them. Perhaps one of them can suit your needs for a topiary plant. 


A rosemary topiary plant is a rosemary plant that has been shaped. Rosemary is a hearty plant that isn’t easy to kill when clipping so it’s a good option. It smells wonderful and it appears delicate, unlike most topiaries.

With the rosemary plant, it’s important not to overwater it or it can get root rot. Even when not used as a topiary, you’ll need to prune it. This is why it makes such a great topiary. 


Figs also make decent topiaries for those with green thumbs. They aren’t a popular topiary, but if you already have a fig tree you can trim it. Fig trees have large beautiful leaves.

Shaping the fig tree doesn’t work out as well as those with smaller leaves but they can be trimmed. However, you won’t be able to make crazy shapes like you can with a bush. 


Lavender is another plant you won’t need to turn into a lion or Michaelangelo statue. However, it is a good way to practice your topiary trimming skills. If you trim too much, lavender will grow back even if you trim too much.

Not to mention, having a lavender plant is beneficial. Lavender smells wonderful and offers aromatherapy benefits, which is why it is an essential oil. 



Boxwood is a beloved plant among topiarists. The shrub is good for hedges and you can shape them however you prefer. They are a superb choice for beginner gardeners and experts.

As a fulfilling plant to shape, it begins solid, so you have a lot to work with, so it’s like you are truly sculpting a work of art that is gorgeous and alive.

Gold Child

Gold Child is a type of ivy that has golden trim around each leaf. Again, since the leaves are quite large, it doesn’t make the best precisely-shaped topiary. However, it can be trimmed to look even more beautiful.

You can trim certain leaves to simply make the ivy look cleaner, or control how it grows by trimming it in a certain direction. This can be a fun beginner topiary plant, but it won’t suffice for those interested in topiary long-term. 

Yew Bush

Yew Bush

Yew is a popular topiary tree. It comes ready-shaped and enjoys a long life span. Ideal for beginners and experts, it’s a smart addition to your landscape.

Pruning maintenance is required, and you’ll need to monitor the soil. In soggy conditions, the yew is susceptible to fungal infections. 

Arborvitae Shrub

Arborvitae Shrub

The arborvitae shrub isn’t the most popular tree for shaping, but it is low-maintenance. It’s a good topiary to practice on and also low maintenance.  

At the start of each winter season, you’ll need to keep an eye on it. You can design this tree to look however you want. It’s recommended that you plant them in rows. 


Holly trees are ideal for trimming. You should shape them a few times each year for the best results. This can be taken care of by not over-watering them as rainwater won’t hurt. Other than water, holly trees are easy and gorgeous. 


Laurel topiary

This is a Laurel nobilis. The tree has large leaves, making trimming it more about cleaning it up than shaping it. You should water it weekly and fertilize it when necessary. Remember to let it dry in-between waterings. 

DIY Topiary Trees

If you’re looking for real topiary tree projects or fake topiary trees, you’ll find inspiration in the following examples.

Christmas Topiary

Christmas Topiary 

This Christmas topiary is made from a tomato cage. Use a tomato cage stand the pointy part up and wrap it with artificial garland. It will then look like a trimmed tree. Decorate it with glittered pinecones, Christmas lights, and whatever else suits you. In this example, the tree was placed in a metal bucket which turned out right.

Heart-Shaped Topiary

Heart-Shaped Topiary

This topiary created by Craftberry Bush is stunning. She took Valentine’s wreaths and made them into pretty little heart-shaped topiaries. 

If you can find heart-shaped artificial ones, you’ll be happy. Feel free to work with what you have and make a heart however you want. Use smaller, thinner ones or take your chances and shape something thick.

Round Wire Topiary

What Are Topiary Trees?

This example from Hearth and Vine is a superb topiary idea. You can use a variety of plants to create a wire topiary. Vines work out best as they can be wrapped easily.

While Hearth and Vine used a round wire, you can shape the wire any way that you like. Then use any type of pot to create your ideal look. It will look great no matter what you choose. 

Lemon Topiary 

Round Wire Topiary

Have you ever considered creating a fake lemon tree? Well, Bird’s Party has the most gorgeous lemon trees. When paired with lemon farmhouse decor and how could you not fall in love?

Lemon trees are a good tree to start growing indoors before moving them outside. However, if you like, you can buy or build a fake one from faux lemons and use artificial leaves to create your perfect tree.

Olive Tree Topiary

Olive Tree Topiary

Are olive trees one of your favorite trees? This olive tree by Beauty for Ashes is stunning. All you need to create this in the way the original creator did is tie two olive branches together and plant them.

If you want it to last forever, you’ll need fake branches. If you’re okay with fresh decoration for a limited time then go with real branches if you can find them. Olive trees are amazing.

Pumpkin Topiary

What Are Topiary Trees?

In this example, pumpkin topiaries from The Latin Next Door make for ideal patio decor. It works well during all seasons, but autumn is best. To create them, stack your faux pumpkins up, paint them, and add the greenery in between.

From there, the details are all up to you. Don’t forget to use chalk paint as it works best for this project. 

Textured Potted Topiaries 

Textured Potted Topiaries 

Delicious and DIY will be our last stop here and we really don’t need anything else to inspire us. Their gorgeous potted topiaries will suit any space, especially if you paint the plant to suit your decor.

You can buy texture paint for this project. If you do, you will have to use them one at a time in any design style that you choose.  

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

What Are The Best Landscape Topiary Plants?

The best landscape topiary plants are shrubs, herbs, hedges, vines, sphagnum moss, and brush cherry.

What Are Some Gorgeous Front Yard Topiary Ideas?

Topiary is all about appearance and curb appeal. Small evergreen trees will look spectacular in our front yard. and are wonderful for topiary styles. The trees grow throughout the year. You can make them the focus of your outdoor green paradise. They even look great when during the winters when it snows.

What Are Some Amazing Backyard Topiary Ideas?

You should position your topiaries in the corners of your backyard. If you have a patio, put them on either side of the entry. 

Which tree is prohibited in Vastu Shastra?

It is believed the Peepal tree is inhabited by the Gods, so it’s not appropriate according to Vastu Shastra. Because of this, the Peepal tree should not be grown in your home.

Topiary Trees Conclusion

Topiary landscaping is an art. The great thing about it is that you don’t have to be skilled at it if you want to try it. If you make a trimming mistake, the shrub will grow back and you can try again. 

With topiary trees and bushes, you can create a wonderful outdoor landscape. If you have a green thumb and you like working outside in your yard, topiary landscaping is the ideal activity.