70 photos of applications in modern landscape design


For the design of public parks and territories of private residential buildings, designers sometimes use interesting green sculptures — topiary figures. Usually this word means curly cutting bushes. Often the figures are created by experienced gardeners for more than one year.

Topiary art appeared in ancient Rome, where unusual figures adorned the gardens of the richest people. There were whole schools of gardeners who knew the secrets of curly cutting plants. With the spread of the influence of Rome, topiary art went further, sculptures from plants appeared outside the Roman Empire.

The fashion for green sculptures came to Russia from France during the reign of Peter I. Since then, topiary has been gaining more and more popularity for its elegance and outward nobility.

Brief content of the article:


To create figures from plants, several techniques are used that differ in the technique of forming the shape of a plant:

  • classical
  • frame
  • Frame with filler
  • Climbing Topiary
  • Arbosculpture

The classical or traditional method has been used for several thousand years and has not undergone fundamental changes. It consists in curly pruning of adult plant bushes.

For beginners in gardening, it is best to start learning by forming simple geometric shapes — balls, cubes, cylinders. Creating complex figures of people or animals is hard work, which can take more than 5 years.

At the same time, with improper pruning, you can not only spoil the appearance of the plant, but also completely destroy it, so it is better to entrust such a thing to professionals.

Only plants with small leaves or needles are suitable for such pruning. The plant must be frost-resistant and not tend to grow rapidly. It is best to use yew, olive, barberry, thuja, cypress or spruce.

To form a figure, you must have a mandatory set of tools:

  • brush cutter
  • Gardening scissors
  • garden saw
  • Pole Cutter
  • stirrup
  • Wooden slats and ropes for guides
  • Paint or chalk for marking outlines

Keep an eye on the condition of your pruning tools — their edges should be perfectly sharp, this is the only way to achieve even plant shapes. Crown formation is best done in late winter or early spring.

The frame technique consists in limiting the growth of a plant using a special metal frame. Usually the wire form is «put on» on a young, growing shrub. The branches of the plant begin to fill the form, acquiring the desired shape.

A haircut for such a figure is required only if the shoots go beyond the frame. After the plant is fully formed, the wire form can be removed and reused.

Plants grown using this technique are no different from classic topiary, but require much less effort for their design.

You can buy a frame for topiary in special large stores, or you can create it yourself.

To create a large street sculpture, you need to purchase steel wire with a cross section of 6-7 mm. You can fasten the constituent elements of the frame with a thin wire or use welding. The finished frame must be braided with a wire mesh with cells of no more than 1 cm.

To make a small frame, you can use a thin wire, which is used to braid an object of the desired shape (ball, large soft toy, animal figurine). After you need to carefully cut the wire and remove the frame.

Weeping willow, pinnatifid hawthorn, common juniper and alpine currant are well suited for such a technique.

A variation of the frame technique is the frame technique using a filler. To create such a topiary in the garden with your own hands is the simplest and easiest option, not inferior in beauty to other types of plant processing.

For this technology, a factory-made or home-made frame is also used, which is filled with a home-made substrate or specially purchased soil for the plants you have chosen. Perennial or annual flowers are planted in this substrate. Such a product is more of a voluminous flower bed than topiary.

To make a substrate for planting plants, it is necessary to mix the nutrient mixture and soil, which includes leafy soil, turf and the top peat layer. Straw is added to the resulting mixture to prevent it from spilling out through the cells of the structure.

Also, instead of peat, you can fill the frame with moss — sphagnum. On this, all work with the figure is over — the moss will quickly fill the entire space of the figure in the process of growth and close the frame.

Making a topiary from a climbing plant is also easy. Here, an established metal form is used, any climbing plants that will quickly braid the figure (ivy, morning glory, dichondra). Unfortunately, in our harsh climate, such figures are short-lived and can please the owners for only one season.

Arbosculpture can be classified as a green figure, but it is fundamentally different from previous examples in manufacturing technology. In this case, manipulations are performed not with the crown of the plant, but with its trunk. Photos of these topiary are simply amazing. From trees create furniture, patterns, real sculptures.

Arbosculpture is a very complex design technique. The design of one plant can take up to 10 years of painstaking work. It uses plants that can grow together and quickly build up a tree layer (willow, maple, apple, cherry, hornbeam, cherry and birch).

Arbosculpture is based on the ability of tree branches to grow together. This effect can be achieved by tightly connecting young, flexible trunks of seedlings, interlacing shoots and grafting new shoots to the plant. To maintain the desired shape, the branches are tightly fixed with rubber bands or thin wire.

The main thing is to ensure that the screeds do not damage the bark of the tree and do not grow into the wood. For the manufacture of «living furniture» you can even use self-tapping screws to more tightly adjoin the branches to each other.


Topiary sculptures are very demanding in their care. They do not tolerate shady planting sites and require frequent mineral feeding.

Watering plants should be carried out at least 2 times a week, while drip irrigation can be organized for frame sculptures with filler.

When pruning plants, it is necessary to move from top to bottom, leaving 3-4 buds on each branch. Otherwise, the plant will quickly wither.

In winter, plants are in dire need of shelter — temperatures below 5 degrees Celsius can destroy the fruit of many years of effort. It is best to generously sprinkle the ground around the trunk with large sawdust and wrap the crown and trunk with several layers of matting.


Topiary art is not always as complex and time-consuming as it seems at first glance. A little imagination and free time will help you create an unusual, beautiful garden plot.

Photo topiary

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Post published: 14.10

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