Topiary Garden Ideas for Landscaping

A topiary garden can make any landscaping project look extremely professional while attracting many a wandering eye onto your street. Whether you choose a formal look, a modern style, or a classical design concept, a topiary-themed garden is the perfect way to creatively use garden space.

Plant Passion

As old as the ancient Persians and Egyptians themselves, the topiary art is still very much alive and well. This form of static flora art is appealing to everyone who sees it, and it can be the envy of your entire neighborhood. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or an expensive undertaking; it simply needs the professional touch of an expert to magically transform any bare garden space into a stunning work of art.

Topiary gardening can be very time-consuming, but fortunately, the plants used typically last a long time. The yew, for example, can last for a thousand years! Not a bad return on your investment. Even the run-of-the-mill topiary piece can take about 40 years to reach a state of perfection, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of this art in about a few months. As painstaking as the process is, the end result is what you’re after—and what a rewarding feeling that can be.

The Lifeblood of a Topiary Garden

The main types of shrubs and trees used as topiaries are the yew, the bay and the box. The yew is especially suited to taller creations because of the way their branches spiral outwards from the trunk. Pyramids, cones and other vertically-oriented pieces are best constructed with yew. Box is a solid form that lends itself well to structures like globes, cubes and other 3-D geometrical shapes because they have well-defined edges and give smooth finishes to the end product. Bay is great for stemmed pieces because they tend to ‘bush out’ after reaching a particular height.

Design Decisions

There’s really no limit to how creative your mind can be. You can lean towards a particular style, such as the classic or modern, but the choice is entirely yours. Animal themes are highly popular with most people living in suburban homes, but there are a number of themes you can choose: European renaissance styles with geometric shapes; Far Eastern styles such as those found in Japanese Zen gardens; or even animal sculptures that have been popular through the ages.

Some people use frames to guide the growth of the plants to help them grow around certain skeletal structures, much like trellis art. But many purists tend to shrug them off as being too modern. Bonsai art certainly doesn’t allow it, and neither do many of the renaissance forms of topiary art. But again, it’s your garden so you get to choose the method, the design and the layout.

Plan it on paper to get a fair idea of how it will finally look, or ask an expert to give you some design ideas. If unsure, take whatever advice the professionals offer, and then add your own flavor in the form of suggestions to build on those ideas.

Topiary gardens are works of art, and not your typical garden project. Therefore, perform your research and find the best company in the area to do the job. Landscape lighting is a very important aspect of this as well. Find a company that can create stunning visual effects with minimalistic and affordable lighting solutions, and what you have is a true work of art.

 

Landscaping and Fencing for Your Yard

For hundreds of years, people have been marking off their territory with various types of fencing. Brick walls, for instance, were used often to outline a kingdom or a country.

Today, fences are designed to mark the line of one’s property – to keep people from walking through the yard, keep stray animals out, or pets from running outside the yard. They are also used to block the view of nosey neighbors or to simply create a beautiful outline around the home.

Materials

Fencing is not only offered in traditional materials like wood or wrought-iron, but they can also consist of natural alternatives and be accompanied by a wide array of foliage such as tress, bushes, and/or scrubs. A natural fence can serve the same function as a property line marking, and at the same time bring a beautiful forest-like feel to your outdoor surroundings.

Foliage

Without overpowering the fence, you may want to line both sides of your front yard with rows of some type of Acer bush, such as a Dissectum Atropurpureum, which is colorful most of the year and has a low-to-the ground spread.

The Acer bushes are a member of the Evergreen family and grow rather rapidly in a wide range of colors and styles. However, if you just want to line your property without blocking out your neighbor’s view, trim the bushes back to a workable level, but keep them long enough so they can serve as a property line marker.

An Evergreen bush/tree, such as the Ilex Opaca, offers another alternative to lining the sides of your front yard.  Some of these evergreens can grow rather tall, up to 50 feet, yet they require very little care.  Evergreens are also extremely weather resistant.  If you want to keep animals out of your front yard using the Evergreen, plant the type that grows like a bush, or plant a tight row of small bushes in front of the Evergreens. This will act as a barrier and also give your yard a nice textured, layered look.

If you want to block out the whole front yard, line the evergreens and smaller bushes all around the property line.  If you also want to block off the walkway, an archway covered in ivy and a small gate may do the trick.

The back yard can also be lined with evergreens of different types such as the Leyland Cypress.  These evergreens grow very tall, up to 100 feet, and have a nice long shape to them.

Decora (Rubber Tree) and Crape Myrtle are also weather resistant plants. They grow rapidly, reach high heights, and are abundant. They are also affordable and can be planted in almost any environment. One of the advantages to using a Crape Myrtle, besides its resilience, is that they have beautiful flowers that bloom a couple of times a year which will give your yard beautiful spurts of color.

Planting your property line with plants and a few trees will not only create a natural fence, but also a private oasis to enjoy at the end of a long day. And to achieve true relaxation, you will never have to leave your backyard again.

 

Feng Shui and Outdoor Landscape Lighting

At night you are driving through the neighborhood and notice a house that seems to illuminate with a soft glow, without being over powered by high-voltage lighting.  You take a second look and may think to yourself, “How can I get the lighting around my house to look like that?”

With the ever-growing emphasis on our environment and energy efficiency, the art of Feng Shui may be worth looking into.

Home owners have used some form of this environmental science for years to create warm harmony and good energy flow throughout the inside and outside of their homes.

Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese art of harnessing earth and heaven to bring well being and good fortune into one’s home and life.  By understanding a few basic concepts, you can create some of this balanced environment with outdoor landscape lighting.

Outdoor lighting is a rather new element as electricity was not a factor in the earlier ages of Feng Shui, but it has been incorporated to match the times we live in today.

The topic of Feng Shui is massive and can hardly be mastered in this article, but what we can share with you are some simple tools in outdoor landscape lighting that can help with the overall energy flow of your home at night.

Chi Energy

One of the first principles to incorporate is to attract good Chi energy.  Chi  is the “life force of all animate things, the power of the sun, the moon and weather systems, and the driving force in human beings,” according to Gill Hale’s, The Practical Encyclopedia of Feng Shui.

To attract good Chi onto your property, you can start by placing outdoor, weather resistant lighting along your driveway, as well as the pathway to the front door. For energy efficiency and to use the Chi power from the sun, use solar lighting lamps for both the driveway and pathway.

If your house sits back from the road and it feels very dark at night, or if it sets below street level, try placing lights around the outside perimeter of the home.  Direct the beams of light towards the roof and this will energize you and the others living in the home.  A low-lying house will sometimes give the feeling of holding down the occupants from success, as if they are living in a hole, so this kind of lighting helps to lift that energy.

If there are other low-lying areas around the house, place a lamp in an uplifting position and this will light up a very dark area for good Chi.

Lanterns

Some new elements recently being adopted into Feng Shui lighting are outdoor lanterns.  Lanterns are not a new concept by any means, but these types of lanterns werefer to are new in design.  They have a gentle “rice paper” feel and look about them, but are actually constructed of weather resistant nylon, are cordless and solar powered – again, using the power of the sun for good energy.

Solar lanterns come in all shapes, sizes, and styles and can be arranged on trees, bushes, roofs, eves – just about anywhere you want to hang them. Because they have no electric power restriction and are flame free, solar lanterns make for a safe outdoor lighting choice.

Feng Shui for lighting the outside of your home includes endless concepts and designs, and by incorporating a few simple ideas, you can make your home not only safer, but also more energy efficient and flowing with good Chi.