Expert Tips
March 1, 2021

How Topiary Tree Shaping Can Refresh Your Landscaping Design

How Tree Shaping Can Refresh Your Landscaping Design

The first thing people notice about a house is the outside - the landscape. And while many of us are willing to spend money on interior design, we worry about paying high prices for landscaping design.

Bu the truth is that you can make a few affordable changes to your landscaping and create a dramatic improvement. One of these ways is through topiary.

If you're looking for a unique modern landscape design, check out the information below about topiary ideas for your yard.

What is Topiary?

Topiary is tree trimming, clipping, or shaping used in landscaping design. Topiary is an art that goes back to ancient Roman times - but that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of modern examples too.

Topiary is associated with vining plants, like the English Ivy, but other common topiary plants include the European box, bay laurel, holly, and myrtle plants.

Topiary includes traditional tree shaping, like a plant in the shape of a bear, but also tree trimming which is more subtle shaping or pruning of the plant.

Still not sure if topiary is the right way to refresh your landscape design? Keep reading for modern landscape design ideas featuring topiary.

Modern Landscaping Design

You might think that topiary shapes like the ones featured outside famous castles or cottages look outdated. But there are a number of ways to modernize the topiary art to fit current design preferences.

Clean, Balanced Topiary

Consider a basic row of identical, perfectly shaped shrubs as part of your front yard landscape design. If you live in a modern or minimalist home, the clean design of the topiary compliments the aesthetic instantly.

For this look, you'll want plants that are the same color and texture. They should be identical to keep the look symmetrical and balanced. Spheres, cubes, or rounded edges are the easiest and fastest topiary shapes to execute.

Pick a place that is central and allows space between each plant. If you have existing plants outside, you may be able to use those as a starting point. If not, you can find a few small, affordable shrubs to get your topiary garden started.

Topiary Boundary

Topiary is not just artistic, it's also useful. Modern landscape design often uses plants, stones, or bricks to designate one area of the yard from another. You can use topiary to distinguish a walking path or the boundaries of your garden.

For this design tool, you have more flexibility with the type and style of topiary design. You can choose a series of small round or rectangular trees or you can have a single, longer boxwood hedge. Think of it as a natural way to separate areas of your front or back yard.


We all value our privacy. But putting up an 8-foot fence can be an eyesore. Modern topiary designs allow you to replace fencelines with treelines. Or, you can hide fences by putting taller, fuller plants in front of them. Consider a perimeter design with your favorite topiary plants for privacy and appearance.

And if you pick the right kind of tree and take good care of it, it may last longer than the fence!

Statement Piece

If you like the traditional topiary shapes that you see in famous gardens - elephants, alligators, birds, or bunnies, you can still incorporate one of those into a modern landscaping design.

This is known as your feature or statement piece. It is the focal point of your front or back yard and is complemented by other, subtle features. You might even want to add lighting surrounding your statement piece so that it's featured more prominently, even in the dark.

Your statement piece doesn't have to be an animal, either. It could be a different artistic design that speaks to you. You can talk with a tree trimming service to see how they might be able to help you achieve the topiary design you're looking for.

Remember that complicated topiary shapes could take up to 3 or 4 years to fully form. Simpler shapes like a sphere or cube take a lot less time.

Mix and Match

Modern landscaping design doesn't have to be uniform or organized. You can play around with different topiary shapes, colors, sizes, and designs. This mix and match style is an expression of uniqueness and appreciation for diversity and imperfections.

Pick a few topiary designs you like and consider a slightly haphazard layout. You might be surprised at how much you like it!

Caring for Topiary Features

Now that you have a few ideas on your topiary features, you need to know about caring for your trees and plants, especially if you are developing a complicated shape or design.

First, if you are doing the topiary work yourself, consider using a frame. The frame helps guide you during pruning so that you protect the desired shape. Pruning has to be done consistently to keep your tree healthy.

For a smaller plant, pruning should be about 1 inch each time and for a larger plant, no more than 3 inches. Pruning is a labor of love and you have to practice patience for the best outcome possible. You should prune your plants about once every 3 months.

If you need help with your topiary garden, trimming trees, or removing trees, don't be afraid to call the experts. It's safer and more reliable when you deal with a professional service.

Ready to Start Your Dream Landscaping Design?

Feeling inspired? Ready to take the first steps toward your dream landscaping design? Great!

Consider the options above for a modern look that's both beautiful and affordable. Think about your budget, the amount of space you have, and the desired look for your front or back yard. And don't forget that topiary is a process, but it's well worth the wait!

If you need help with tree pruning, tree removal, stump removal, or fertilization - get a free estimate from us online.

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