How To Make A Topiary
With Grapevine

This DIY project will offer suggestions on how to make a topiary with a few inexpensive items. The end result is quite impressive and looks anything but inexpensive. Follow the steps I have established and modify them as you see fit. You may want a different height, shape or finishing material rather than grapevine. The basic idea is the same regardless. Create a formed shape and cover it.

Grapevine Topiary For Outdoor Decor

To make a topiary as above you will need:

  • Tomato cages at the height of your choice. I purchased two 42" tomato cages at Home Depot. They were under $3.00 a piece. They also had 52" which I originally thought I would choose but these actually are quite tall enough for my intended purpose - atop two stone entry columns.

  • Wire mesh (chicken wire) for a base (if you require a weighted base - optional). This can be purchased at most hardware or home improvement stores.

  • Wire snips/cutters and pliers.

  • Paddle Wire, Floral Wire and/or Small Ty-wraps.

  • Brown or similar colored spray paint (optional).

  • Tons of grapevine. (Free from the woods depending on where you live, or purchased in garland/spirals from online sources such as Amazon).

  • Miniature outdoor lighting (brown grapevine lighting recommended).

  • Lots of patience and perseverance!

Tomato cages, wire mesh and wire cutters

Making A Weighted Base For Your Topiary

Before you begin, you may want to do the following.

Place an inverted tomato cage on top of the wire mesh and cut a square with the wire snips to fit the circumference of the cage. Once cut out, carefully fold the corners that extended beyond the "circle" inward over top of the bottom ring. (Note: The top is now the bottom since we are using it inverted) Snip the wire where necessary to make it fold neatly. Use your pliers to bend and press the wire inward tightly around the bottom ring of the cage and to clamp it down securely. This base is intended to weigh-down the topiary with rocks, a brick or other means.

Getting ready to cut a square of wire for the base.

NOTE: Use caution when handling the cut ends of the mesh wire.
They are sharp. Use the pliers instead to bend them into place.

The corners have been carefully folded inward to complete the topiary's base.

Tip You may skip the above step (Making A Weighted Base) if you have other means of anchoring your topiary or if it will be in a secure location.

Covering Your Topiary Structure

In this particular project, the cage structure was used without any modification other than the addition of a base. You may elect to make a topiary with a sturdier framework that allows for smaller items to be attached. For instance, panels of wire mesh could have been cut to size and attached between the vertical supports. This would allow for smaller materials, such as decorative moss, to cover the topiary surface.

Tip You may elect to spray paint the structure a color that matches the finishing materials you will be applying. This will help mask the framework.

A brown color was spray painted on this structure to match the grapevine. Once dry, attach grapevine to the base. Use the thicker diameter vine at the bottom and work upward with the thinner more pliable vine. Connect the bottom "base" grapevine well with floral wire or ty-wraps.

Thicker vine is secured to the base and
wrapped in upward, diagonal spirals.

Due to the tapered shape of the cage, you can not simply wrap the vine continually from the bottom to the top as it has a tendency to slide upward. Instead, begin to wrap the pieces upward at an angle (diagonally) as shown above. Go to the bottom, attach another piece in another location and wrap upward at an angle again. Begin attaching and wrapping in this manner, both clockwise and counter-clockwise, alternating every so often so that your vines begin crisscrossing in an "X" shape. Eventually you will be able to weave the vine through itself to hold it together. Secure any troublesome areas with wire or ty-wraps when necessary.

A brick for weight, still visible in the structure.

If you want a weighted base, be sure to add a few rocks or a brick before the form is fully covered with vine. However, it's pretty easy to shift the vine around to create an opening to slide a weighted object inside if you forget.

You may elect to fully cover the form with grapevine or leave it a bit more open. If you choose the latter, you will be able to observe any lighting placed around the structure the whole way through which will give the illusion of more lights. Choose brown miniature lighting so it blends and is less noticeable during daylight hours.

If you decide to make a topiary of this nature, consider placing it atop a decorative planter. Two would nice flanking a front door or entry stairs. These topiaries were set on top of concrete planters placed atop 8 foot stone columns. At this height, the brick inside is not visible. I placed cuts of evergreen around the top of the planter before setting the topiary structure down to mask any of the mesh base that may be visible from below.

I would estimate that each topiary took about 3 hours to complete. I worked on them over a 2-day period. I also ran out of the "free" grapevine I pulled down from the trees along my road and from my own property or I would have continued adding more. All in all, I'm quite pleased with the finished result. I may attempt to make a topiary similar to this but 8 feet tall for an indoor holiday tree. We'll see how ambitious I am.

This project cost less then $20.00 total in supplies for me, however it may be a bit more substantial for those who must purchase spirals of grapevine garland to use. The biggest "cost" may very well be your own labor but you can't put a price on your time when you create a project of which you can be proud. In that case, it makes it ALL WORTH IT!

Visit the Frugal Tree Blog to read my original post on this DIY topiary tree project. If you make a topiary of your own, share it with us and explain the creative materials you used to construct and cover it.

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