DIY Spiral Arborvitae Topiary

Our home seriously needed some curb appeal. I decided landscaping would make a huge difference. After some trolling for inspiration I decided spiral topiaries for my oversized planters would be perfect.

The first challenge was finding topiaries. It’s late February in SW VA and a bit early for gardening.

After some searching I did locate small spirals at Lowe’s for $57. I wanted some TWICE that size so went back to the drawing board.

I viewed some tutorials on you tube showing how to cut / trim a spiral topiary. I am not a master gardener and have zero experience in this type of thing.

Could I? Should I try it?

If taking matters in my own hands I could choose the size. As I was leaving the Lowe’s parking lot I saw some tall bad boys off to the side.

These arborvitaes were twice the size of the spirals inside the garden section. They were less expensive than the spirals and the size I desired.

I decided to go for it. Somewhere there’s comical footage on a parking lot CCTV of me attempting to fit 5 gallon potted TREES in the back seats of a Ford Escape.

They were very heavy, too large to slide in and too tall to fit inside the vehicle. So here’s what I did…I lifted the pots in over the seat and lowered to the floor at an angle. Put the windows down and put the tree out the window slowing closing the door. I reversed the car seat to wedge the pot in place and off I went. Rolled down the highway with trees hanging out the windows.

In the driveway I lifted them over the seat and onto the ground. It had rained so they slid downhill to their haircut destination.

I took a video of the process with my first tree. It’s a time lapse so it moves much faster than I did.

The end result. It’s not prefect but certainly will do!

If you are wondering about the ribbon it was used as a guide for the placements of the cuts. You tie the ribbon to the top of the tree and wind it around to play with the desired spiral.

Cut above or below the ribbon (just do the same consistently) a little at a time with pruning shears. {Here is my amazon affiliate link for the shears https://amzn.to/3IvQwXl }

Once you have the shape going you want to keep cutting back into the tree to expose the woody trunk.

You can trim and round each spiral using shears to give it a softer look. Angle the sheers using them upside down to get a nice downward spiral look.

Last I used my hedge trimmers to make sure it was consistent in shape and width. The lower spirals are wider and gets thinner as it goes up.

I put some wine corks in the bottom of the planter for drainage and 3 bags of soil. The finished size is perfect!!!!

I added some ivy hoping they are cold hardy enough to make it to spring.

Pretty pleased with my budget friendly trees with the added satisfaction of learning something new. I plan to give them a trim late summer and then not again until this time next year. That’s it- twice a year haircut and water.

I encourage you to give it a go if you want topiaries for your garden.

Cheers- Kristen

About Laurel Dane Designs, LLC

Making a house into a home one room at a time.

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