The $5 Artificial Boxwood Topiary. I Don’t Hate It!

If you have 5 minutes and $5 you can make a boxwood topiary that never needs watering and couldn’t care less about how much light it gets. Before we begin you’ll need to get over that distain for artificial plants that you (I) have.

Artificial DIY topiaries in farmhouse kitchen.

Skip right to the tutorial.

I don’t like artificial plants inside a house. They’re hideous, tacky and defeat the entire purpose of indoor plants which is to provide me with something to kill every so often.  One or two artificial plants is permissible if you live in a home that has no windows or running water.  Other than that?  I think all fake plants are gross.

And yet, today I bring to you a little tutorial on how to make your own fake plant.  I know.  I’m filled with contradictions, but they’re cute, like when an Asian person has freckles.

This idea came about during one of my many vacations to the dollar store.  I don’t go anywhere plus I work from home so I consider any time I leave the house to be a vacation.  The dollar store had very small topiaries for sale that looked about as realistic as Dolly Parton’s hair. I scoffed loud enough for people around me to hear (because I wanted them to know I was too good for ugly dollar store topiaries) and kept walking. Once I had picked up my dollar store cat treats, cookies and wrapping paper, which I am NOT too good for, I made my way down the back aisle to head up towards to cash registers.

The back wall of my dollar store is dedicated to all things fake floral.  There’s greenery, leaves, and fake flowers the size of garbage can lids.  Just below all of this were 6″ fake boxwood balls.

And just like that I was buying a couple of them.  A day later I’d made my own dollar store topiaries that FAR surpassed the ones they had for sale.


DIY Boxwood Topiary

Materials for making an artificial boxwood topiary on marble countertop.


6″ artificial boxwood ball ($3 at dollar store)
6″ pot
18″ branch/stick
Twigs (just a few)
4-6 cups of gravel or sand
Ground cloth or plastic bag
Matte (clear) spray paint.
Hot glue/gun (optional)

Artificial topiary ball displayed in old clay pot with patina.

If you really can’t be bothered to shove a stick into a pot and fill it with sand the you have the option to just stick the 6″ boxwood ball into a 6″ pot.  Done.

But if you want the whole topiary experience, here’s what you do.

Placing a mason jar lid in a clay pot to cover drainage holes in The Art of Doing Stuff's kitchen.


  1. Cover the hole in the bottom of your pot with something. An old mason jar lid works great.

Stick being centred in clay pot for making DIY artificial topiary.

2. Insert your stick into the centre of the pot.


Using an old pot helps make these topiary look more realistic.  Click here to see my tutorial on how to age a brand new pot.

Pouring floral gravel out of mason jar into clay pot to stabilize topiary branch.

3. Fill the pot with gravel or sand to stabilize the stick.

Small circle of landscape fabric being placed over gravel in clay pot to stop soil from seeping through.

4. Cover up your gravel (or sand) with landscape fabric or a circle of plastic. This will stop the soil from  mixing down into the gravel and keep it clean.

Filling just the top of a clay pot with soil to make an artificial plant look more realistic.

5. Cover the landscape fabric with soil.

Setting artificial boxwood ball onto stick in clay pot to make topiary.

6. Push your topiary ball centred onto the stop of the stick until the stick reaches the top of the topiary ball. if your stick is thick enough the ball will fit tightly and not move around.  If it does wiggle, just use a few dabs of hot glue to keep the stick in place.

Artificial boxwood topiary in clay pot in farmhouse kitchen.

7. At this point I WOULD have sprayed the entire ball with a clear matte spray paint, but I didn’t have any.  I thought I did.  But I didn’t.  I’ll do that some other time.

Adding real boxwood leaves to artificial boxwood ball to make it more realistic looking.

8. To make the ball look  more realistic stick a few dead boxwood leaves into the ball and scatter them onto the soil.  Also stick a tiny little twig into the soil at the base of the branch to give the illusion of some growth.

An artificial boxwood topiary with real branches, leaves and twigs to make it look more realistic.

9.  The end. You’re done.

I’m really being thrown by the shiny leaves. I’m gonna have to fix that.


Setting DIY boxwood topiaries onto sideboard in rustic room with deers head.

I made these for my front porch but liked how they turned out so much I’m going to keep them inside until I’m spending more time outside. They’ll probably make it into the backyard or on the front porch in the next couple of weeks.

I’m woman enough to admit I’ve grown quite fond of how good these artificial topiaries look. They require ZERO care and always brighten my days.

I’m really going to miss them later today when I go on vacation to the grocery store.


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The $5 Artificial Boxwood Topiary. I Don\'t Hate It!


  1. Carrie Krumrie says:

    I am sure you rescued the deer head from a boring dust filled antique store, way in the back!!!
    I’m sure it had been dead for a little long time. I also like be the topiary!!!
    So, if it looks great, enjoy it!!!
    I forgot to thank you for the Tough Linen site!
    Loving my aqua linen summer throw, sheet set, and napkins!!!

  2. B. says:

    OMG – DD51 – Love that story so much! Happy Friday ;)

  3. Etta says:

    The matte spray had me going for a minute. Great idea!
    The pig in the kitchen isn’t real … it ? (lol )

  4. marilu says:

    I can admit here among the crafty that matte spray completely eluded me. Thank you once again Karen for opening another realm of ways to beautify the environment while vacationing – or in my case, attending my sporadic ‘therapy’ session. The bright lights, shiny baubles and dollar price tags never fail to dispel gloom.

  5. Patti says:

    That deer rocks! Was that a Christie’s find?

  6. Elaine says:

    Adding the twigs and real bits of boxwood totally makes this, Karen! 👍 I often do the same thing; mixing real with faux. I visit the same dollar store as you and two years ago, I bought one of those boxwood balls as I thought they look quite good for the price. Like you, I just stuck it in an empty urn I had here that was the perfect size. The shine bugged me too but since it sat in a shadier area of my living room, the shine wasn’t that glaring.

  7. marilyn majalca says:

    I agree I don’t normally like plastic plants but you made them look good. I also saw that nice little piece of wood on the wall above the deer. Did you design that? Or was it there in your old house?

  8. Jan in Waterdown says:

    On another unrelated note, just wondering if the white cabinet on the wall (under the *cough* stag head) is Ikea’s shoe storage one? If so, how do you like it? Do you use it for shoes or has it been repurposed?

  9. Christine Ferrigno says:

    So weird that I went to Family Dollar today and bought almost the same thing as you minus the topiary. I’ll look for them next time (tomarrow). Thanks for the idea and laugh :)

  10. Jan in Waterdown says:

    Every time I’ve seen those topiary balls in “my” Dollarama, I think of you.
    And ever time I see fake flowers in window boxes, I want to yank them out screaming “no no no” but then I somehow manage to restrain myself…. just.

  11. Isabella says:

    Karen, as usual you could sell sand to Saudis. Now I need to make some topiary things and like you, I generally despise fake. However I’m thinking a nice fake animal head might be just what I need. Maybe a camel?
    You always make me laugh and I’m not easily amused. Thank you for that. Keep on keeping on.

  12. Susan labrie says:

    I was thinking the exact same thing about them shiny leaves! These would be great in a decorating area that is hard to reach, no watering required 😊

  13. Kim says:

    Not too bad! I may have to take a trip to the Dollar Tree today. I too have a distain for fake plants but I can’t seem to keep the real ones alive. Also loving your REAL deer head!

  14. Airwreck says:

    I agree with Janet
    You glamorize a dead animal in your house.
    Don’t rationalize it by saying deer are a dime a dozen.
    Some one said that about the carrier pigeon.

    It takes all of us to make the world a kinder and gentler place for animals

    • BeeHappy says:


      I agree with your view on making the world a kinder, gentler place for animals. However, I tend to try to live by the old saying “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar”. (I must admit though, I use vinegar all of the time and we would NEVER take the honey from our hives to catch flies…we leave the honey for the bees and their new brood. So I guess you could call me a bit of a hypocrite for using that adage). 😉

      Don’t get me wrong… I am VERY involved in animal rights activism and have been a vegetarian for almost half of my life. I just find that if we approach people with education and facts about the struggles and plight of animals we tend to have a greater affect on people’s thinking.

      Karen appears to be very kind and knowledgeable about animals and wildlife so maybe it is best not to verbally attack her but instead message her about how the mounted heads bother you because of your beliefs. I personally LOVE her blog, the educational and fun tutorials and her off-the-cuff humor. While I don’t agree with everything, I choose to overlook the things I don’t personally condone. (After all, she didn’t share a post on how she tracked, hunted, and killed the animals…. well, that I am aware of anyway). If you don’t like her posts, you always have the choice of unsubscribing.

      We MUST continue to fight for animal rights and welfare. We MUST continue to strive toward a kinder and gentler place for animals! However, don’t we need to work on making the world a kinder and more gentle place for all of us? We already have enough hate, anger, and strife.

      Now, with all of that being said…If Karen lived in the U.S. and voted for Trump….well I would have to kick some arse over that! There is the hypocrite again. 😉

      I added the Trump comment for an attempt at humor… I don’t want to get into a debate over politics. Please no trash talk. Remember. Kinder…More gentle…

      • Janet says:

        Thank you, Beehappy! My comment was an attempt at humor. I imagined Karen in an antique shop one day with those lonely eyes looking at her and she brought him home. However he got on her wall doesn’t matter. I just thought it was a funny little comment and please, Airwreck, don’t say you agree with me because I said nothing about it being disgusting. My daughter feeds her family of six on the deer that her husband brings home. Yes, kills. If he didn’t, the area in which they live would have end of season hunts just to get rid of the overpopluation. This actually helps the deer to thrive. She also lovingly raises chickens and eats one of those now and again (the ones they don’t name!).
        So Karen, I was not judging you. It is clear you respect nature and I look forward to your email every morning (as I said above).

        And as for your deer…do his eyes follow you when you move around the room? :)

      • BEEHAPPY says:

        JANET. –

        While I greatly appreciate your reply, my comment was directed at AIRWRECK, not you. So your reply just comes off as being a bit hateful. As far as my reply… May I refer you to the second line in my statement…”You catch more flies with honey rather than vinegar”. Have a great day!


        As a fellow beekeeper, I am fully aware that robbing the honey from the hive does not hurt the ladies. I was simply making the statement that we CHOOSE not to use the honey for our consumption. However, we have taken the supers from the strong hives and move them to the hives that are struggling a bit. This method has worked well for years. However, I appreciate you taking time to try to enlighten us and fellow readers. Have a great day and a successful honey season.

      • Janet says:

        Behappy, my thank you to you was for your “honey” phrase (I use it all the time) and your suggestion that our comments be kind and gentle. I see now I should have replied to Airwreck, not you. This site is actually the first I have ever made a comment on! (And I am probably twice your age!) I am actually a very peaceful, not hateful person. I grew up raising a variety of animals, including rescued raccoons, ducks, etc. and have lived a life being an animal lover. Not being a Pulitzer Prize writer, sometimes I suppose what is read is not in the light that it was written. I was taken aback by Airwreck’s negativity while enjoying all the fun-filled comments. Hence, I thanked you for your perfect response to her. Most of my comment was then directed to Airwreck who had implied that I felt the deer head was “disgusting.” Which I didn’t. (Although I wouldn’t have one in my home!) At this writing, my heart is pounding just for the mere fact that someone thinks I wrote something hateful, which I would never do. I apologize for in some way making you think that, hence ruining part of your day. Please enjoy this day, and your bees (my brother used to be a beekeeper) and all that nature has to give and teach us. P.S. I also raise Monarchs so I can’t be all that bad, right? :)

      • Karen says:

        Hi Janet. It’s Karen. Don’t worry about it! Miscommunication happens on the Internet ALL the time. It’s very very rare that harsh or negative comments are left on this site, sorry you got tangled up in it accidentally. Now do your best to get your heart rate down and enjoy the day. ~ karen!

      • Beehappy says:


        First of all, I must apologize; Please forgive my rude reply. I am normally a fairly nice individual…I strive to be, at least. 🙄 As you can tell, I sometimes slip and other times I fail miserably. ☹️ Not only was I a bit witchy, I hatefully suggested you re-read…”You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” I need to step back and take a dose of my own medicine. My hope is you can forgive me and enjoy your weekend.

        Please forgive me for using your wonderful blog as an instrument for hatefulness. I promise not to do so again.

      • Janet says:

        KAREN and BEEHAPPY,
        Thank you both for your kind remarks. Just a couple closing memories that came to me while gardening in the warmth of the sun today. “Hate” was a word that was not allowed in my childhood home. It is just too strong and hurtful a word. “Love” was reserved for people (and our pets, I suppose!), not things. And as we left the house in the morning, we were reminded to think about how we would speak, for with our words we can ruin someone’s day or make someone’s day.
        Hope your day was filled with sunshine. (And Karen, my heart rate is fine after a day of gardening!) :)

    • Dd51 says:

      Ok, let me tell you my story about dead animals on my walls. A long time ago, maybe 25 years? A deer that was running across our street evidently got hit by a car. He died across my driveway, totally blocking the way out. I needed to get my kids to school so I called a friend who came over and got the deer, took it to our local guy who “dresses” deer and made up close to 60 lbs of venison, sausage, etc which my friend very gratefully took. The hide went to someone one else who is a leather-crafter and we had the taxidermy guy mount the head. His name is Buck the Deer and his motto is “look both ways”. Which I had engraved on a metal placard just below his head. My kids always looked both ways before crossing any street, even when they went to college. Sometimes you just have to make the best of a bad situation and maybe throw in a life lesson for kids while you are at it.

      • DeenaMac says:

        I love this story so much!!!

      • Marilu says:

        The motto is wonderful Would you be my neighbor? ;-)

      • Dd51 says:

        I would love to have you as a neighbor, I am always on the lookout for wonderful neighbors. As g as you have a sense of humor you are welcome to my neighborhood.

      • Janet says:

        Great story with a moral.

      • Airwreck says:

        Maybe I chose the wrong word.
        Just over morning coffee, seeing carrion hanging on the wall was a tad upsetting from a woman, who I felt did not want to glamorize such a concept.
        I have been taken to the wood shed and given the switch.
        I will add.
        The problem is with the people on this planet. We are a plague.
        As a beekeep taking honey from the hive does not upset the balance.
        Bees hord. So if you steal from the barn and not the pantry.
        They will be just fine.

  15. Bonnie Gutierrez says:

    Not bad but hurry and do the matte spray thing!

  16. Diane says:

    I love starting my day with a smile…thanks for sending it!

  17. Susan says:

    This is so timely! I was just looking up artificial topiary trees, because they kept coming up when I was looking at live ones. Myrtle topiaries are my desire and if I find suitable, realistic myrtle, I’ll make my own. But these would look great out on the porch and I think spraying them would prevent them from fading and looking really unrealistic. Thanks Karen!

    • Alena says:

      You don’t have to worry about fading. I have three of these (or rather … I had, one was destroyed by the dogs I think). My neighbour was trowing them out (or tried to sell them at a yard sale but there were no takers) so I rescued them. I have had them for several years – 4 or 5 years at least. I planned to hang them from a tree but it has not happened so the squirrels are playing football with them. They are indestructible.
      Trust me, they won’t fade.

  18. Janet says:

    Wait, you have a dead animal head in your house but fake plants bother you…hmmm…
    (BTW, I get out of bed in the morning just because I know a new TAODS post is waiting. :-) )

  19. Jen says:

    Please post more pics once you matte spray them! But they look good. You never have to water but you do have to dust (or hose). I like. You could fairy light them for Christmas too.

  20. Edie Marie says:

    What fun Karen! I have 2 faux topiaries I’ve had for years that I found on a spring clearance and always bring them out when I need that touch of green somewhere. I occasionally like the “more is more” look that can be seen in the Stepford Wives (Nicole Kidman) and topiaries are perfect to achieve it. Then when I want to erase that look and start over I tuck them away until I fancy their look again. I would try a matte finish clear spray on yours to bring that sheen down. Love how yours turned out! You create great tutorials to guide us through life Karen. Thanks!

  21. Megan says:

    Dollar Tree? Dollar General? Family Dollar? 99 Cent Store? Mighty Dollar? Canadian Tire and Dollar? Could you divulge which dollar store? Thanks!

  22. You are funny.
    I like you.
    I stick a fake flower in my cyclamen when it looks sad.
    I’d include a pic but it wilted.

  23. West Coast Nan says:

    I don’t hate them either, I quite like them! I love Dollarama too, a great place to vacation.

  24. Yracy says:

    Could you rough sand the leaves with a piece of fine grit sand paper? Take the sheen off?
    The dead leaves and extra twig are genius, by the way 😉

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