How to Make a Spiral Topiary Tree


Topiary is the art of cutting or forming trees into specific shapes for interior design or exterior landscaping. Creating a spiral topiary tree is slightly more complicated than creating more simple shapes, like cones and balls, but the design is still simple enough for most amateurs to create on their own.

Step 1

Select a tree for your spiral topiary that has a straight middle trunk that can serve as the base of your design. The thicker and fuller the foliage on the tree, the better the topiary will turn out.

Step 2

Inspect the entire plant, gently lifting small limbs and leaves to look at the structure beneath. Plan your spiral design around the largest branches of the tree if possible. If the design can avoid these branches, it will be easier to cut.

Step 3

Attach a ribbon at the top of the tree by tying it or wiring it around the tip and wind the ribbon around the tree in a spiral shape, like that of a barbershop pole or a candy cane. This ribbon will mark the path of your cuts.

Step 4

Follow the path of the ribbon with scissors, cutting away just enough of the foliage to visibly mark the path. Remove the ribbon once you are done and the spiral cut will now mark the path of your design.

Step 5

Prune the foliage and branches that are in the path of your spiral all the way down to the central trunk of the tree. Step back from the tree every few inches of cutting to make sure your spiral cut is the same approximate width all the way around the tree.

Things You'll Need

  • Small tree
  • Ribbon
  • Scissors
  • Pruning shears


  • Topiary Arts Maintenance
  • Topiary Arts Cutting
  • Artifical Plants and Trees
Keywords: spiral topiary, cutting, design

About this Author

Alexis Lawrence has been writing professionally for six years and has been published on Associated Content. She is also a freelance filmmaker and photographer with extensive experience in digital video, book publishing and graphic design. Lawrence attended the University of Central Florida where she earned a Bachelor of Science in English.