Topiary is the art of shaping plants into living sculpture for use in decorating the home or landscape. The art dates back to Roman times, when wealthy citizens shaped the greenery around their villas into fanciful animals and obelisks. Today, topiary may consist of vine-covered forms or shrubs. Densely compact shrubs such as boxwood, yew or holly are common varieties of shrubs that adapt well to topiary sculpture.
Purchase a wire topiary frame. Frames made specifically for topiary are available in many garden stores. Select a frame that has been treated to retard rust. Frames made specifically for topiary will come apart, so that you can assemble it around your shrub without damaging the shrub.
Assemble the wire topiary frame around your shrub.
Pull the branches of the boxwood through the wires so that the frame is buried inside the structure of the shrub.
Begin to trim the branches back so that they are even with the wire frame. Do not clip more than three inches off of each branch per trimming session to minimize stress to the shrub. For branches that require more than three inches removed, work in stages throughout scheduled pruning sessions until the branch is the proper length.
Schedule pruning sessions for your shrub every three months. Refrain from pruning between sessions.