Creating a Landscape Lighting Design That Showcases an Amazing Topiary

Southern Landscape Lighting Systems of Alpharetta creates outdoor LED lighting designs for residential and commercial clients in the metro Atlanta area. LED low-voltage lighting offers many benefits to the homeowner. A well-designed lighting system accentuates curb appeal, improves the security and safety of the property, enlarges the outdoor living space, and expands the number of hours the outdoor living space can be enjoyed.

Dazzling landscape lighting creates ambiance and enhances the overall aesthetic beauty of the yard, landscape features, and home. Lindsey Rodericks, the lighting designer at Southern Landscape Lighting Systems of Alpharetta, GA, utilizes a wide variety of lighting techniques and fixtures to achieve a breathtaking visual experience. One method is to highlight a unique architectural feature such as a gated entrance, statuary, water feature, mural, stone wall, or exquisite topiary.

Topiary is defined as “the practice or art of training, cutting, and trimming trees or shrubs into odd or ornamental shapes.” Landscape lighting frames a well-formed topiary with light that injects structure, form, and contrast into the overall home and garden theme.

The optimal plants for topiary are evergreens and semi-evergreens, which pique interest through all four seasons. An early morning winter frost or a rare dusting of Georgia snow only enhances the topiary’s curves and lines. Topiary stands sentinel over the spring and summer splash of flowers. The variety of complex shapes is unlimited, but the end product may require years of patient snipping here and clipping there. Thankfully, beautiful topiary can be purchased ready for planting. The skilled arborist or DIY homeowner can shape mature plants to accent a formal garden or a casual cottage layout.

These examples of topiary are fairly common and easily accessible depending on the region of the United States. Inquire at the local lawn and garden store for availability, cost, and assistance in installing and maintaining the plants.

1. Boxwood: Buxus sempervirens

With its small leaves and dense texture, the boxwood is a perfect choice for a topiary. Roots grow close to the surface and thrive in a cool, well-aerated area. Light fertilization in spring, followed by a June prune and October trim, is ideal.

2. Delavay privet: Ligustrum delavayanum

The evergreen privet is resistant to disease and pests. Its long stems are pliable, which is perfect for topiary. Drought resistant and tolerant of most soil types, the fast-growing plant makes for a great shrub and may need to be trimmed several times each season.

3. English holly: Ilex

English holly, with its glossy leaves and berries, is among the best choices for topiary, and its slow-growing beauty requires only an occasional thinning. This holly loves sunlight.

4. Photinia

The name of this small-leafed shrub means “shining bright.” The small-leafed shrubs and trees make ideal privacy hedges. The plants prefer full sun but dislike heavy clay or water-logged soils.

5. Pittosporum

This plant type gets its name from the sticky resin (‘pitto’) that surrounds the seed (‘sporum’). This small, neat evergreen shrub needs both shade and sun, along with well-drained soil. The fast-growing shrub can be shaped into mounds and spheres.

Other top picks for topiary include:

  • Camelia
  • Corokia
  • Podocarpus
  • Wintercreeper (Euonymus fortunei)
  • Star Jasmine (Trachelospermum)
  • Bay tree (Laurus nobilis)

When is the best time to trim topiary?

Trimming and pruning can stress a plant if performed at the wrong time of the year, and the wounds may also increase the risk of disease or infestation. The best trim time depends on each individual variety. Typically, trim new growth when it reaches four to six inches.

Vigorous plants will need trimming or clipping much more frequently than other topiary, but two or three trim sessions a year will suffice for most plants being groomed as topiary. In contrast, Taxus and Podocarpus grow relatively slowly and only need to be trimmed one or two times per year.

Do not trim when cold and frost are approaching. Trim and shape from late spring and conclude by the middle of October. Metro Atlanta topiary should be safe within this trim schedule. In summer, trimming that exposes previously shaded leaves to direct sunlight can cause this delicate foliage to become scorched by the bright Georgia sun.

Topiary adds a unique signature to a landscape. The homeowner can enhance the effect by introducing ambiance and interest to these sculpted plants with LED landscape lighting.

Contact Southern Landscape Lighting Systems to learn more about LED landscape lighting design and installation. The Alpharetta office can be reached by phone at (770) 691-1221 or by email at [email protected].

Scroll to Top