How to Cut My Shrubs Into Shapes


If you like the idea of a formal garden complete with shaped shrubs, but the idea of picking up a pair of shears and hacking away at your boxwood or juniper intimidates you, then using a wire form shape may be the solution you are looking for. A wire frame slips around a shrub to form a guide that will prevent you from accidentally cutting too deeply into a shrub. There are many gardening centers that sell pruning forms that beginner gardeners can use.

Step 1

Open your wire frame along the seams of the form. Center the shrub between the two halves of the frame and reassemble it with the shrub in the center.

Step 2

Push the stakes of the frame into the ground to anchor it in place.

Step 3

Fluff the plant by pulling the branches out. Gently release any of the branches that the wire frame has trapped in order to avoid breaking them. When you have finished, the frame should no longer be visible in the depths of the plant.

Step 4

Pinch back the growing tip of each branch so the end of the branch is flush with the nearest wire of the wire frame. The branch will begin to develop side shoots.

Step 5

Prune the plant every three months by pinching back the shoots to keep the foliage on the same plane as the wire frame. The bushy foliage should hide the topiary frame.

Things You'll Need

  • Topiary frame
  • Shrub


  • French Gardening: The ancient art of topiary
  • Papa Geno: Papa's Potting Shed
  • University of California Extension: Topiary Topics

Who Can Help

  • Topiary Arts
Keywords: using topiary guides, topiary wire forms, trimming topiary shrubs

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."