Tools for Making Topiary

british topiary

English Garden Poster
by Gnu_Attitude

I have been watching a lot of British gardening shows and one thing that keeps coming up is the love the British have for topiaries. Topiary is the art of shaping shrubs and trees into different forms and designs. A lot of patience is required to shape and train the shrubs to grow in a certain way since you can only cut a small amount of foliage at a time. The end result though is very rewarding since you can end up with either very traditional cut borders to quite elaborate hedge designs from geometric shapes to animals of all sort of sizes and shapes. 

 hausundgarten pruning shears

I have already used my new Titanium Pruning Shears By Haus & Garten on one shrub that I thought would make a great looking bird. There are areas that need to grow in, so I will post my first try at making a topiary later in the season. However, I wanted to take this time to talk about the tools you need to make your own topiaries. 

Hedge Shear

 Miracle-Gro 18978 Enviro-Line Titanium Wavy Blade Hedge Shear $24.99 Miracle-Gro


Hedge Shears

Hedge shears are long-bladed pruning shears you use to trim larger areas and flat spaces that don't need as much precision or delicate handling. The large, long blades cover more area with every cut, making the initial shaping of your hedge go faster.

It's a great tool to get the initial rough shape of your topiary quickly made.

 elephant topiary 

Pruning Shears

Once the initial shape is in place pruning shears are used to further shape the greenery by making small detailed cuts. Pruning shears are used for trimming, pruning out smaller branches, and pruning out branches in the center of the topiary that is hard to reach with hedge shears. These include snips, which are small, scissor-like pruners; secateurs, which are one-handed pruners with a blade on one side and a flat surface on the other so you make cuts from one side of the branch; and small blade pruning shears.

 Haus & Garten Enduro Titanium Bypass Pruning Shears $36.65 Haus & Garten


I have these shears which have a heavy-duty Titanium coated Japanese stainless steel blade that cuts easily branches up to 1.0 inches. The shape of these shears is great for pruning and the angles cutting head reduces wrist fatigue. What I like about Haus and Garten shears is the sap groove, which prevents the blades from sticking, by diverting the sap to the groove rather than to the center of the shears. I also like that the handles are coated. My old pruners had sleeves and they kept sliding off after some time. Not fun when you are trying to work. The pruners also come with a wrench, which can be used to adjust and tighten the shears. When caring for your topiaries you want to use well-made tools that are easy to handle and that hold up well and the Haus and Garten tools (these are my 2nd shears) are wonderful. 

dog topiary frame

 Dog 8 inches high Topiary Frame w/ Moss, Handmade Animal Decoration $29.90 S.K 703 Topiary Inc.


For animal topiaries, frames are used to make shaping easier. The base of the frame should be ground level and as the plant grows, pruning shears are used to train the new growth to follow the outlines of the frames. The process can take several years, depending on the size of the frame. Simpler shapes, like cones and spirals, do not require frames.

Other Tools

Constant pruning is the main way to maintain a topiary, but you may need other equipment. Wear heavy gloves to protect your hands from the leaves and twigs on the shrubs and trees, as well as from blisters that constant use of shears can produce. You may need a ladder for taller topiary forms. A handheld sprayer is useful for getting water and fertilizer to precise areas or to the top of the topiary. 

Caring for Tools

Hedge shears and pruning shears need regular sharpening and oiling to keep them in good working order so dull blades don't damage the topiary or make cutting more difficult.



Topiary Garden by eloc.


#HausandGarten provided the shears for review purposes and all opinions expressed are my own. 

English Garden Poster

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