How to make a topiary chicken

Do it:

Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec

Takes just:

one hour

Topiary in the garden needn't be expensive. You can easily grow and train your own plant sculpture from scratch. The process takes a few years, but you'll have all the satisfaction of seeing your creation take shape, at a fraction of the price of buying one ready made.

For quick results, train a climber such as ivy around a topiary frame. You can even make your own frame from wire netting.

You will need

  • Four or five large ivy plants
  • Large ornamental pot
  • Wire topiary frame
  • Loam-based soil


Make sure each ivy plant has plenty of long and leafy trailing stems, with no bald patches or brown leaves. Add drainage material, such as crocks, to the base of a large terracotta pot, and some loam-based compost. Then position the plants evenly round the edges.

Sit your topiary frame over the top of the ivy plants. if it's a standing bird or animal shape, try to create just one 'leg' at the base. Spread out the long trailing stems through the centre of the frame so they grow to fill out the shape.

Weave the ivy through and over the wire netting to cover it evenly with foliage. Clip back any sideshoots and over-long stems to encourage the plants to branch out and thicken up.

Place your topiary sculpture in a prime site where you can admire your handiwork. Water well and regularly trim and tie in shoots.


Discover more ideas and inspiration

Related content

How to trim holly topiary

Bay - Grow Guide

How to trim topiary