Tidy topiary vs carefree corners

Tidy topiary vs carefree corners

When it comes to kitting out your garden in lush green life, it’s difficult to know whether to go for neat streamlined edges in the form of tidy topiary and manicured lawns, or for rustic features to suit relaxed homelife and local wildlife. Let’s take a look at both of these styles and how to make the most of them for gardening glee.

Striking sculptures

The architectural art of sculpting shrubs and trimming trees is a popular past time amongst many horticulturists. From simple designs to sophisticated lines, the pruning of perennial plants is practiced to look pleasing to the eye and there’s a whole host of dramatic designs that can capture the imagination. Known as ‘living sculptures’, they possess a classical quality which became popular in Britain during the 17th century, when ordered designs were considered high art and still look as striking in gardens of today.


When picking which perennials to plant, smaller shrubs with a dense foliage work best. The trick is to pick plants that can stay in place even before being clipped. Using large boxed hedges, you can produce what is known as a parterre garden—a formal garden in symmetrical patterns. Choose evergreen Buxus sempervirens (box) and Taxus baccata (yew tree) which keep their foliage all year round.

Holly and ivy are more than just festive favourites, these plants also make for popular garden additions as they can be easily clipped to keep their shaggy appearance in shape. You want to cut just above the leaf, starting at the bottom branches and working your way up. Ideally, these will cut back twice a year, first around spring and again when it’s started to grow out by the summer. Keeping on top of trimming and training doesn’t have to be strenuous. With precision cutting tools that are right for the job, you’ll create some truly tremendous topiary.   

Trimming those twigs

When it comes to choosing the right tools to trim, avoid using secateurs as their blades are not as sharp. This can make it hard to get the precision required for a successful topiary design. Instead opt for the Perennial Hand Shears. With their precision cutting, it makes them ideal for training foliage of Buxus, shrubs and trees. When clipping, it’s important to get a clean cut to promote healthy new growth so these super sharp thin blades that are perfect. Plus, their ergonomically designed handles are suitable to trim single handily for as long as your heart’s content.

Using your Mini Snips and Miniature Topiary Frame you can easily style your own immaculate miniature garden. The Mini Snips are fantastic for training herb plants—with close clipping they allow you to get those more intricate details in.


Care-free cultivation

Carefree corners have the added benefit of allowing more nectar sources, such as weeds and clovers, to grow. This will bring in a buffet of insects and help to feed hedgehogs and other wildlife wonderers that all help to build an established bionetwork of life in your garden. This in turn helps your other plants in that the garden bouncers keep slugs and other garden pest populations in check, so an untidy garden can often be a healthier one. Try finding a balance between neat hedging options for practicality or decoration alongside holistic scrub land for a healthy ecosystem—look to Kent and Stowe’s easy-to-use secateurs to help you keep on top of this garden growth so that it doesn’t get out of hand.

Birds of a feather

Why not use this as an opportunity to encourage friendly visitors to your garden. Although wildlife favours a garden that’s plentiful, there’s no reason why topiary and garden wildlife can’t go hand in hand. I find that in amongst manicured vegetations the juxtaposition of wildflowers and vigorous climbers can work really nicely—plus that way there’s something for everyone.

Shaping plants that are particularly favourable, such as holly and yew, will not only look fantastic but also attract birds and butterflies too. The Hedera helix (ivy) offers dense foliage that acts as a good shelter all year round to an array of wildlife, in particular garden birds—even as a trimmed topiary plant! Of course, be mindful not to disturb our feathered friends when pruning in the springtime. Birds, such as robins and dunnocks may have set up home amongst the leaves and conifers should be left well alone during nesting season as trimming it back can disturb your hatchlings.

So, now you know how you can create your very own planted paradise, keep topiary trim and tidy as well as corners carefree and your garden will be grand all year round.