Pruning Outdoor Juniper

Bear with me, I'm fairly new to outdoor gardening.
I recently bought my first house, and outside has what appears to be a very overgrown Juniper. It's roughly 10' tall, and even though it appears to have been trimmed into a Christmas-tree shape at some point, it's been awhile since it was taken care of.
I've seen topiaries that are nicely shaped (like a spiral), and if I understand correctly, a juniper can be shaped like this, too. Can any ordinary juniper be shaped like this?
If so, is it possible to take a 10' tall juniper that has a diameter (at the ground) of about 5', and trim it into a nice shape like this? I certainly don't want a 10' spiral topiary (and couldn't trim that high, anyway), so can I take some height off of it?
If any of this is possible, do I need to do this at a special time of year (I'm in western NC)? Any special tools, other than pruning shears and scissors?
Any tips or advice at all would be greatly appreciated. TIA,
Mike
PS, there were 2 other junipers that I had to remove. They have been devestated by some type of parasite: almost the entire front half of the tree/bush was leafless, and they smelled bad. Although this third one is only about 15' from those two, it seems to be healthy.
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Mike) writes in article
-0700:

Ha! I had the same experience a year ago -- moved into a house and all I could see out the living room window was a giant juniper.
I pruned it quite severely last summer -- to 2'. My neighbor told me they usually die if you do that, which is fine with me. It hasn't sprouted anything new, and I have turned the area around the stump into a vegetable garden.

I would think you have to prune for this throughout the plant's life. I had a roommate who was sorely disappointed with his efforts on our bushes after seeing _Edward Scissorhands_ and getting inspired.

Don't take off too much in a single year. Sorry I don't know the optimal season.
-- spud_demon -at- thundermaker.net The above may not (yet) represent the opinions of my employer.
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