Grimsthorpe Topiary



Topiary, or “living architecture” is one of the most defining features of the Gardens at Grimsthorpe Castle. The South Lawns are adorned by two separate garden rooms known as the Topiary Squares. Here an established collection of topiary birds and shapes perch above a predominantly Yew hedge. The topiary itself has evolved and been added to over the years but its original design dates back to the 1920s making some of the oldest pieces around 100 years old.


Plant species comprise mostly Yew (Taxus baccata) and Box (Buxus sempervirens) both of which are evergreen and provide a permanent structure to the garden year-round.

The hedges all grow at different rates and can lose their shape fairly quickly. Annual maintenance is therefore required to keep the topiary in shape. The gardens team use a combination of battery and petrol-powered hedge cutters to clip the hedges. Due to the depths of the hedges and the size of some of the pieces, a temporary scaffold structure is erected in order to gain access for maintenance. The Topiary Squares alone take around 80 hours to complete each year.

Traditionally a very formal part of the garden, you will notice that we have adapted the formal lawns within the Topiary Squares to become small meadows. Initiated by the lockdown in 2020, we have continued to manage the grass this way as it saves time, reduces emissions and increases biodiversity. Larger numbers of bees, butterflies and dragonflies have been seen in the area, a direct result of increased flowering plants within the meadows. Several bee orchids have also been spotted.

Not only limited to the Topiary Squares, Grimsthorpe embraces topiary in many forms; sculpted yew hedges frame the vistas along the herbaceous borders, tightly clipped box hedging forms the main design of the Rose Parterre and Labyrinth. Cones, spheres, birds and lollipops punctuate the formal gardens creating a grandiose atmosphere.