A faux topiary can be constructed using a variety of creative bases – dowels, mesh, even upside down tomato cages. But for a realistic and rustic look, a trimmed tree branch will work nicely. Look for a straight branch 3' to 5’ in length, and use a saw to trim to length. You might find it helpful to use offshoots from this main branch for structural purposes, so trim them short using the pruning shears, but don’t remove them completely.
The branch will need to stand upright, so drill a hole into the base of a 4x4 piece of wood. Choose a paddle bit that is the same or only slightly larger than the diameter of your branch for a tight fit. The length of the 4x4 will depend on the planter you select for this project. Cut the board so that the height of the wood is slightly beneath the top of the planter.
The beauty of a real evergreen spiral topiary is in the taut, sculpted lines. To create this look with faux evergreen, you will need to build upon a great base. A foam pipe insulator is similar as a pool noodle, but thinner and more narrow, making it more flexible.
When selecting evergreen garland for this topiary, a product threaded with wire is the easiest with which to work. Two 6-foot strands were used to cover this 6-foot foam pipe insulator.
Begin at one end and bend the needles around the foam, and twist the ends together like bread ties. As you work, the garland will begin to disguise the foam.
Wrap a second length of garland around the insulation similarly, to help cover any exposures. Depending on the density of the needles in your garland, a third length of garland may or may not be necessary.
Short lengths of floral wire will make it possible to secure the length of garland-wrapped-foam to the standing branch. Begin at the top of the structure and attach the garland to the branch. Work your way down, winding the garland into a spiral as you go. Use additional wire to attach the garland to twigs on the branch to reinforce the positioning of the spiral.
Emily Fazio, 2015
Make an all-season spiral topiary using a branch and faux evergreen.
Emily Fazio, 2015
Make a spiral topiary for the holidays using a branch and faux evergreen.
If you are going to keep the topiary indoors, cover the inside of the planter with burlap or a length of fabric. For outdoor use, backfill the planter with soil and top with moss.