What is Evergreen Topiary?

Evergreen topiary is a form of art that involves shaping and sculpting living plants, typically evergreen trees or shrubs, into various decorative shapes. It is a centuries-old horticultural practice that originated in ancient Rome and has since gained popularity worldwide. The art of topiary involves carefully pruning and training plants to create geometric or whimsical designs, adding a touch of elegance and beauty to gardens, landscapes, and even indoor spaces.

The History of Evergreen Topiary

Evergreen topiary has a rich history that dates back to ancient times. The practice of shaping plants into decorative forms can be traced back to the Roman Empire, where it was commonly used to adorn gardens and public spaces. The Romans were known for their love of nature and their skill in horticulture, and topiary became a popular art form during this period.

During the Renaissance, topiary gained even more prominence as a symbol of wealth and status. Elaborate topiary gardens were created in grand estates and palaces, showcasing the skills of the gardeners and the wealth of the owners. These gardens often featured intricate designs, such as animals, geometric shapes, and even human figures.

The Process of Creating Evergreen Topiary

Creating evergreen topiary involves several steps and requires careful planning and maintenance. The process begins with selecting the right plant material, typically evergreen trees or shrubs with dense foliage that can be easily shaped and trained. Common plant choices for topiary include boxwood, yew, and privet.

Once the plant material is chosen, the next step is to determine the desired shape or design. This can be done by sketching the design on paper or using a wire frame as a guide. The plants are then pruned and trained over time to gradually achieve the desired shape. This process requires regular trimming and shaping to maintain the form and prevent the plants from growing out of shape.

The Benefits of Evergreen Topiary

Evergreen topiary offers several benefits beyond its aesthetic appeal. One of the main advantages is its ability to add structure and formality to a garden or landscape. The carefully shaped and sculpted plants create a sense of order and symmetry, enhancing the overall design of the space.

In addition, topiary can be used to create focal points or highlight specific areas within a garden. By strategically placing topiary forms, such as a pair of matching trees or a sculpted animal, attention can be drawn to certain features or pathways.

Tips for Maintaining Evergreen Topiary

Maintaining evergreen topiary requires regular care and attention to ensure the plants remain healthy and in good shape. Here are some tips to help you keep your topiary looking its best:

1. Prune regularly: Regular pruning is essential to maintain the shape and form of the topiary. Trim any overgrown or wayward branches to keep the design intact.

2. Water adequately: Evergreen plants need regular watering, especially during dry periods. Make sure the soil is moist but not waterlogged.

3. Fertilize appropriately: Use a balanced fertilizer to provide the necessary nutrients for healthy growth. Follow the instructions on the fertilizer packaging for best results.

4. Protect from extreme weather: Topiary plants can be sensitive to extreme temperatures and harsh weather conditions. Provide protection, such as covering them during frost or moving them indoors during extreme heat.

5. Monitor for pests and diseases: Regularly inspect the plants for any signs of pests or diseases. Treat any issues promptly to prevent further damage.

Popular Evergreen Topiary Designs

Evergreen topiary can be shaped into a wide variety of designs, ranging from simple geometric shapes to intricate animal forms. Here are some popular topiary designs:

1. Spiral topiary: This design features a spiral-shaped tree or shrub, created by carefully pruning the branches in a spiral pattern.

2. Ball topiary: Also known as pom-pom topiary, this design involves shaping the plant into a round ball shape.

3. Animal topiary: Animal-shaped topiaries, such as elephants, birds, and rabbits, add a whimsical touch to gardens and landscapes.

4. Cone topiary: Cone-shaped topiaries are created by pruning the plant into a conical form, adding height and structure to the space.

5. Formal topiary: Formal topiaries feature precise geometric shapes, such as cubes, pyramids, or spheres, and are often used in formal gardens or landscapes.


Evergreen topiary is a timeless art form that adds beauty and elegance to gardens, landscapes, and indoor spaces. With careful planning and maintenance, you can create stunning topiary designs that will enhance the overall aesthetic of your surroundings. Whether you prefer simple geometric shapes or intricate animal forms, evergreen topiary offers endless possibilities for creative expression.