Your garden decking has been laid and it’s ready for use, but we would recommend one or two things you should do to give it a few finishing touches.
Garden Decking LED Lights
Invest in some garden decking lights to make your outside space perfect for entertaining and cosy for an evening outdoors. Garden decking is designed to be used with friends, so make the most of it by creating the perfect atmosphere for social gatherings and garden entertaining. See Stainless Steel Solar Deck Lights
Topiary Trees with Solar Powered Lights
They’re not real topiary trees, but they are convincing artificial topiary trees and they are decorated with warm solar powered lights. These will look good on any raised garden decking particularly for larger areas or to mark the entrance to the decked area in the garden. See Solar Powered Topiary Tree With Warm White LED Lights
Garden Decking Railings
Break up the decking from the garden and add railings to the design. The railings will help to keep people off the grass and kids where you can see them. Give it a delicate touch with spindle railings to contrast nicely with the wooden decking panels. See Metal Decking Spindle Rail
Garden edging can help to spruce up your garden and give it an all year round neat look. Garden edging can be made from almost any materials, with the most common being concrete, brick or stone, however why not be more adventurous with your garden edging ideas and go for something a little more unusual. We have 5 garden edging ideas which will help you to make more of your garden design.
Cobbled Paving Garden Edging
Paving doesn’t just have to be lying flat on the garden path. Why not use a cobbled paving to neaten up the edging around your flower beds or lawn.
Log Border Garden Edging
Make your garden edging a little more natural with a log style running around the borders. Easy to use and can be placed on curved and straight garden borders. Make sure you find one that has been pressure impregnated to avoid rot and keep it long-lasting.
Border Pebble Strip Garden Edging
If you have the space for something flat and wide in your garden edging then why not go for a flat pebble style edging. This is perfect for around flower beds, around ponds and water features and around a patio edging to give it an extra feature. What we love about these is that if you have any left over you can use it for the bathroom – perfect combined with that rain shower you have always wanted!
Bamboo Garden Edging
Bamboo garden edging looks fantastic, is long lasting and keeps the garden looking light. Perfect if you are going for a slightly oriental look in your garden. Looks great around taller beds. Make sure you get one that is taller than you need so that you can place a good proportion of the edging in to the ground. Take a look at the life expectancy on any you buy and aim for something that has around ten years.
Horizontal Log Garden Edging
This style will usually come in different lengths of wood panels and is hardwearing with pointed legs for insertion. This style of garden edging is perfect if you want to something natural looking that neatly borders your beds.
Whether you are creating topiary trees from scratch or you are using a tree that has been ready trained from the nursery, you need to know which are the best trees for topiary and the easiest to shape and maintain.
Typically topiary trees are evergreen trees as they will remain a permanent feature in the garden all year round and won’t end up shedding their leaves during autumn and winter. The box tree is often used for topiary due to it’s small leaves which grow densely to create a thick tight growth when clipped.
If you are training over a frame then you will need a tree or woody shrub that will lend itself to vining but with thick dense foliage.
The yew tree can also be used as a topiary tree as it is a very structured tree – it is ideal as a garden boundary owing to its density and can be easily shaped to produce topiary designs in the garden.
See right: Hardy Buxus (Box Tree) Topiary Pyramid
Aside from the box tree and the yew tree you can use privet, holly and Lonicera Nitilda for topiary and hedging.
Using topiary frames is an easy way to start topiary, particularly if you are using a training ivy or similar topiary plant. You can buy topiary frames in all shapes and sizes from your local garden centre and get started almost straight away!
Before choosing your topiary plants, decide whether you want to use them as topiary hedging plants or individual topiary pieces, grown in the ground or in containers. If you decide to use containers, make sure these are a suitable size for growing a small tree or shrub, both of which require plenty of space for their roots to develop.
To encourage growth in your topiary plants, spread an organic or bark mulch every spring and apply a suitable plant fertiliser to the soil once a year.
A good pair of garden shears will be needed to give your topiary a neat finish. When clipping your plants – especially if you are doing this free-hand, it is a good idea to keep stepping back to view your handiwork and to make sure you are progressing in the way you need to go to achieve the right shape.
Evergreen plants such as box, holly and yew are suitable for hard pruning early in the spring. June is the best time to give existing topiary plants their annual trim, although a fast growing species could require more than one trim during the growing season.
It is possible to buy ready-trained topiary plants, but you will find it much less expensive and a lot more fun to start growing your own pieces of living sculpture and have something unique of interest in your garden throughout the year.
The simplest forms of topiary for any beginner to start with are the topiary styles you see most frequently – including topiary balls, topiary pyramids, domes, cones, spirals and cubes. Geometric shapes look great in a garden of any size – and that includes areas with very limited space.
Many enthusiasts want to move on to something more exotic and grow their shrubs and hedging plants to form animal and bird shapes. The most traditional topiary subject is the peacock, but it is possible to create topiary sculptures in many different styles.
Shrubs can be trimmed freehand into many of these designs or if you feel you need the help – a frame can be used as a cutting and training guide.
Designing Topiary Balls, Topiary Cones and Topiary Spirals
Even topiary balls can be an awe-inspiring work of art and can often leave us wondering how they have been created so perfectly. The best way to clip shrubs into perfect spheres is by forming a circular frame with a piece of garden wire slightly smaller in size than the plant being trimmed. The ball shape is then created by moving the wire circle around the plant and using it as a guide for cutting.
Alternatively, for a cone shape, use three garden canes to form a wigwam shape around the plant, securing the top with twine and the sides with garden wire. Use this frame as a guide and start clipping from the centre top and work downwards around the plant.
If you are feeling a little adventurous you can move on from the topiary cone to the topiary spiral. Simply mark out the spiral down the cone with twine and working from the top downwards, clip the foliage back to the centre of the shrub before trimming both the lower and upper edges of the curve. Don’t forget to stand back and view your work from all angles as you go along.
Other Topiary Shapes
Birds and animal shapes can be cut into a single shrub or created from several hedging plants and if you are feeling confident are best achieved using freehand. There are frames available which are ready-made in differing shapes and sizes but we feel like that might be taking the easy way out! Get creative with the pruning shears!
Small Topiary Plants
There are a number of ways to train and prune a small topiary plant, but one of the best ways is to use a frame packed with sphagnum moss. Keep the moss moist and gradually clip the plant as it goes towards and through the frame. This is ideal if you would eventually like to turn the plant into something bigger.
There are a few different types of plants for topiary that are most commonly used and that includes shrubs, hedges, vines and even herb bushes. The plant you choose will determine the density of your topiary and the overall look.
Shrubs can be trained into topiaries if they have thick, dense foliage and small leaves and that includes plants such as the boxwood, holly, laurel, and privet. If you are looking for something that will stay fairly small and compact without too much trimming then Boxwood is among the most popular, whereas Laurel and privet have larger leaves and are great for larger-scale topiaries.
If you are being adventurous with your topiary skills, then hedges are ideal if you need are going for statuesque or geometrical shapes because of their density. Obelisks, pyramids, cylinders, spirals, and cones are all easy shapes and designs to accomplish with taller shrubs with dense leaf or needle structures and yew, hollies, and Alberta spruce are great recommendations for taller formation topiaries, with the yew being ideal owing to its naturally cylindrical shape. The hollies are very pliable and can be trimmed into almost any shape, whilst the Alberta spruce is great for creating spiral formations.
Topiary Herb Bushes
Herbs, surprisingly enough, can be used in small topiary designs and are ideal as gifts for others. Not only do these topiary plants smell fragrant, but they also tend to look more delicate and pretty. Herbs that are small and dense are particularly desirable – we love Rosemary, Thyme and Lavender, all of which have little flowers and a lovely pungent aroma.
Vines are incredibly flexible when used in topiary and can be used in almost any designs simple and complex. By using a frame, or in fact any shape of object you can achieve the kind of shapes that you want to achieve with vines. They will fix themselves on to almost any surface. It’s best not to choose the more invasive form of ivy instead go for the non-invasive such as the Lady Frances, Duckfoot or Gold Child.
Topiarists, whether they are professional or enthusiasts, have the incredible capability to create endless forms, shapes, designs, geometric forms, and animal figures, to just about anything they can think of. The designs and creations that can be clipped and trained using plants, trees, and hedges are endless.