Landscaping Trees and Shrubs for a Well Balanced Garden

Landscaping Trees and Shrubs

In almost every garden, space can usually be found for at least one or two trees and a selection of shrubs, and there are many ways in which the latter can be used. They can be grouped in beds and borders on their own, be used in mixed borders together with perennial and other plants, or be planted near the boundaries of the garden for screening purposes.  A carefully positioned tree or shrub can be used to mask off, for example the corner of a building or some other obstruction which detracts from the beauty of the garden.  A wide variety of trees and shrubs can be used in the garden, perfect for landscaping.

landscaping trees and shrubs

Trees and shrubs – particularly evergreens – may also be useful for forming windbreaks where the garden is so sited that it is exposed to the prevailing wind.

The walls of the house and the outbuildings may also be used as a support for climbers and wall shrubs (the latter is a term which includes non-climbing shrubs which benefit from the shelter provided by a wall or solid fence, or are used in such positions because their attributes make them eminently suitable for growing in this way) but this will depend much on the architecture of the building and whether it would have its appearance enhanced by such plantings.  In small gardens in particular, walls can add a new dimension to your gardening and allow a much wider and more interesting selection of plants to be grown in the space available. I like to see individual or ‘specimen’ trees and shrubs planted in lawns as features in their own right.  Those trees and shrubs with attractively shaped or coloured leaves are ideal for this purpose. Flowering and berrying trees and others with coloured bark also look very effective when grown in this way.

Weeping trees with fully arching branches, make superb lawn specimens.  Shrubs you could choose for this purpose are those with a neat, attractive habit rather than those with straggly, untidy growth.  Some trees and shrubs look really good near water features and in this connection the willows immediately come to mind, also the dogwoods with coloured barks.

Even a rock garden can be planted with a selection of trees and shrubs if miniature forms are chosen. Both formal and informal hedges make pleasing garden features and provide an attractive background for other planting schemes.  I particularly like to see hedges of flowering and berrying shrubs, and hedges of evergreens with golden or silver variegated foliage can be very attractive indeed.

It can sometimes be difficult though to find suitable plants for shady parts of the garden which are never reached by the sun but there are quite a number of smaller shrubs which are perfectly happy in the shade, especially under large trees. Shade lovers which come immediately to mind are rhododendrons, hydrangeas, mahonias and skimmias.

There are others which will tolerate very dry, open, sunny positions and for planting between larger trees and shrubs there are numerous low-growing, spreading shrubs from which a choice can be made and are ideal for landscaping.  Trees are not able to be used for such a purpose, but low-growing shrubs such as these are described as ground-cover plants, for once they have formed a carpet they will to a large extent suppress weeds and make soil cultivation unnecessary.

Creating a Well-balanced Garden

To create a well-balanced garden a few trees and shrubs at least must be grown with the other plants.  Some of the taller kinds should be selected to provide height where this is needed, as a flat looking garden should be avoided at all costs. Always try to maintain a careful balance between the various types of trees and shrubs – evergreen and deciduous, flowering, berrying and those with decorative foliage.

landscaping trees and gardens

The smaller the garden, the more care must be taken to make the right choice of trees and shrubs. Size, in particular, must be given special thought and consideration as overly large specimens will destroy the proportions of the garden.

It is all too common to see forest trees such as limes, poplars, elms and planes planted in small town gardens and, inevitably these have to be mutilated by severe pruning to keep them within bounds.  How much better in such circumstances to plant smaller growing ornamental varieties.

Quite apart from the mutilation I have just referred to, there are two other reasons why it is unwise to plant large trees in confined places:

  • they will rob an undue proportion of the garden of light, moisture and plant foods,
  • and the roots may damage the foundations of the house and the drains.

For small gardens, narrow, columnar trees such as Prunus Amanogawa have special value.

29. July 2010 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Landscaping, Plants & Trees | Tags: , | Comments Off on Landscaping Trees and Shrubs for a Well Balanced Garden


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