Your yard is like an empty canvas: you can add designs and décor to it to further improve its aesthetics. Indeed, there are so many ways to go about decorating and designing your yard for a vibrant, yet refined look. You could choose from a multitude of flowering plants, decorative outdoor fixtures, trees, shrubbery, and so forth, but such things are commonplace, and might not always suit your yard.

Adding a topiary display to your yard might seem unusual at first, but when executed properly it can be a unique decorative feature that gives character to your outdoor space. It also makes for a great conversation piece, and children will love the fascinating shapes topiary pieces can assume. If you are interested in having a topiary piece for your yard or other similar outdoor space, you can turn to River Oaks Plant House—the definitive plant and garden shop of Houston, TX.

Useful Steps to Follow When Building a Topiary Garden in Your Backyard


Topiary refers to the horticultural art of training plants (usually perennial ones) to grow into and maintain defined shapes or designs. Originally, this meant trimming down shrubs until they formed a shape. These “living sculptures” can take the form of almost anything, from basic geometric shapes to animals—the sky is the limit when it comes to designing topiaries.

Since then, topiary has changed much, incorporating new techniques such as the use of steel wire frames that help the plant assume the desired shape easily. Such advances have made topiaries easier to create and more accessible even to homeowners. The developments also encouraged the use of nonstandard shapes and designs in topiaries, allowing gardeners and plant enthusiasts to just go wild with whatever shapes they can think of.

The art of trimming and training plants to grow into decorative shapes has a long, beautiful and interesting history. In Romans’ time, topiaries were cut in various geometric forms and only the Europeans of later centuries shaped topiaries into animals and other decorative shapes.

The traditional topiaries required extensive care and frequent clipping, causing the decadency of this art. However, a revival has occurred in the recent years. During this period of the “renaissance,” the craft of topiaries has reached a virtuosity never accomplished before, due to a revolutionary new approach.

On the modern topiaries, the plants grow on a specially prepared, three-dimensional structure. These life-like plant structures are easy to maintain. Furthermore, they hold their unique shape permanently, without any laborious gardening. The topiaries fulfill our love for nature and environment.

The Right Topiary for Your Landscaping Will Depend on these Factors


Today, River Oaks Plant House is the largest topiary manufacturer in the United States. At the same time, the beauty and quality of its topiaries is world wide renowned. Over thirty years of experience enable us to produce the most exquisite and adorable topiaries in the industry. We have created fine topiaries for homes, gardens, as well as for cities, counties, shopping centers, business and private buildings, amusements parks, zoos, museums, charity events, memorable functions, Fortune 500 companies, and even for the Presidents of the United States.

When you come to Houston, come and visit our “green menagerie”. If you cannot make the trip, allow us to ship to you the topiary of your choice, regardless of your location. We love to hear again and again, every day: “THIS IS ENCHANTING!” And so it is!

Our patented topiaries are not made by machines and they do not roll off an assembly line. They are built by talented and experienced craftsmen with care and creativity. For this reason, although intricate and intrinsic, there are not two alike. Each one has its own unique personality and charm making it hard to decide which one to pick. Our experience showed that people are getting very attached to their topiaries, they end up being named and considered as a member of the family.

The construction of our topiaries begins with a hand-made, rust-resistant, stainless still structure, welded together in the designed shape. This sturdy frame, which is the topiary “skeleton”, is reinforced with steel bars, which will help to keep the shape unaltered under the weight of padding. An efficient sprinkler system is added to the larger pieces for ease in maintenance and additional beautification. A topiary in the sun, under the delicate rain of the sprinkler looks as if it has been dropped from a rainbow.

The completion of the frame is just the beginning of the scrupulous, artistically defined work. The frame is stuffed solid with moist and firm long-fiber sphagnum moss which will provide a rich, healthy base on which the plants will grow and thrive. The moss padding is done by hand, one small area at a time, wrapped by hand with miles of filament. The duration of the completion depends on the size and details of the topiary. As an example, to build a large giraffe, 40 hours of labor is necessary. This process, which gives the topiary its unique shape and quality, is the garden equivalent of sculpting.

Hearty plants are then planted into the moss by surgical incisions in strategic spots in order to insure the best conditions for the plants to live and develop. The plant mostly used is Fig Ivy because of its advantages and its growth habits. The plant has small leaves, which, as they grow, cling very tightly to the surface, following the contours and preserving the topiary’s features and details. Another advantage is that it grows in full or partial sun as well as in the shade. Last but not least is its resistance to diseases, which is an important factor to be taken in to consideration. The only shortcoming of the plant is its intolerance to temperatures of 32 degrees Fahrenheit and below. Hence, during the winter cold months, the plant requires protection against freezing.

Next is the “fun step” or the “watching step”. Watching the leafy green “coat” grow is fun and enjoyable. The maturity time of topiary depends on its size and the weather conditions, but during the growing season, it may become full covered with leaves within 3 to 4 months.

Our topiaries will last for years because of the experience, patience and attention to details that are put into their creation. The daily requirements their keepers must provide are only water and love. Rest assured that in exchange, they would return your love many times over.


River Oaks Plant House offers hundreds of standard sizes and designs. We also produce many custom topiaries such as obelisks, geometric shapes, cars, angels, people, cacti, furniture, letters, logo, abstract art, in other words: anything you may imagine. WE love to improvise and we welcome new ideas.

Often we are asked to produce logos or letters to serve as a “sign” for a business or organization in areas where conventional signs are prohibited by regulations. They are the opposite of an eyesore, attracting attention in a pleasant and memorable way.

We can also produce variations with all kinds of materials. If topiaries without gardening are desired, then we cover our frames with artificial greens, such as sheet moss or silk ivy.

Our wire frames can also be used for decorative purposes, especially during the holidays. Our frames of reindeers pulling the sled with Santa and the Christmas tree covered with lights produce an amazing and stunning effect. Angels, Nut Crackers, as well as many others are the delight of the holiday decorations.

Our topiaries are suitable for both environments: outdoor and indoor. In order to satisfy requests for large topiaries to be displayed inside malls and other indoor locations, we have developed a very sophisticated internal watering system, which makes maintenance possible. It is precisely due to watering systems that our topiaries have versatility which has never been achieved before.

There are no limitations at River Oaks Plant House. There is nothing we cannot do! WE love to be challenged and we come up with something new and original all the time.


Our topiaries are guaranteed to bring lasting enjoyment as long as the prescribed CARE AND FEEDING INSTRUCTIONS are followed. We hope that everyone that acquires topiary will enjoy caring for it and watching it grow. After all, they are kind of “pets” remember?


THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR in maintaining and growing your topiary is WATER. Please do not let your topiary dry out. The moss on it must remain moist until the next watering. The frequency of watering depends on the size of the topiary and the ambient temperature. A smaller topiary requires to be watered more often, since the capacity to hold moisture decreases with the size.

In summer time, topiaries placed in full sun require water daily. In the event that your topiary becomes dry, try to saturate the moss wither with a garden hose of in the case of the smaller ones, submerge them in a bucket of water and soak for 15-20 minutes. As with any plant, your topiary depends on you to nurture and grow, and it will give you many years of enjoyment.

Additionally, the “coat” will grow much rapidly if fertilized 2 or 3 times a month using any general house plant food. We recommend Peters 20-20-20 or Miracle Grow.

As the “coat” grows, occasional trimming may be necessary to maintain the shape of your topiary. A thick, green coat is a delight to everyone’s eyes!

Sun or shade, it doesn’t matter, it will be very happy in either. During wintertime, protection against temperatures below 32 degrees F is required.

With such minimum care, topiaries can be enjoyed all year round, for many years.


River Oaks Plant House can create a variety of topiary shapes and designs to fit whatever outdoor space you want to install the fixture on, commercial or residential. Our garden center in Houston – one on Kirby Drive and another on Westheimer Road – is extremely accommodating, and will work with you to create a piece that suits your preferences. Contact us today and discover how we will make your dream topiary installation.

River Oaks Plant House serves clients in and around the Houston area. Our services include landscaping, flower arrangement and delivery, topiary designing, and more. No matter the occasion, whether you need wedding flowers, everyday flower arrangements, or quick flower delivery, our florist has got you covered. If you have any questions about our services, or if you want to place an order, you may call our Kirby location at 713-622-5350, or our Westheimer location at 713-977-5350, or visit our contact us page and fill out the form.