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Using Trees in Garden Design

trees do not have to dominate your garden

Designing with Trees - Part 1

Many budding gardeners are put off using trees, but at buy-trees-online, we believe not only can they be used, but they add elements to you garden which mere plants or shrubs can struggle to achieve. Let me take you through my list of tree propaganda and see if you are convinced.

Size Matters

Yes, whether it is the mighty Oak or little Field Maple, size really is important. But gardeners can be such judgemental characters, so I would plead that you give the poor trees a break. Don't think of an English Oak like a Schoolboy bully, biding its time to shade out your entire garden, but think of it as something to be tamed and controlled. There are plenty of trees suitable in size for small gardens and even the largest of trees can be constrained by growing it in a pot, perhaps with selected pruning. Not quite the delicate intricacy of Japanese bonsai but an amended, slightly more brusque and British approach.

Structure and Height

The very best gardens, of whatever size, are planned in 4 dimensions. That is, the garden is designed front to back, side to side, up and down and throughout the seasons. Most of us are okay with the first two, but when it comes to vertical interest we tend to revert to the staples: the same hanging baskets and climbers. Well, why not try some trees as well. They will give height and structure, can also be clad in ivy or climbers and many have really interesting autumnal colours.

The Rotating Garden

We are all told about the importance of 4 season interest, but who has the space for separate seasonal gardens? And even if we did, are we to stroll through sad-looking summer gardens to see the winter displays? In small gardens, I use pots extensively especially at the front of the house where visual impact is everything. I like to bring trees and shrubs out for stunning autumn displays, place them best to glisten and shimmer in the winter frosts, make the best of spring blossom to adorn entrances and then use them in different areas as structure for summer impact. Not all trees (or plants) are wonderful throughout the seasons, so sometimes I allow temporary retirements throughout the year to less prominent areas of the garden.
This is also a technique I use with shrubs, which I feel really do have a narrower seasonal interest. It is true that most people use seasonal bedding plants and then rip them up once they are finished. This sort of planting does have its place, but I feel it can be so wasteful, so time consuming and above all so expensive.

So are you convinced by the use of trees in the garden? Why not give it a go, or for the shy gardeners out there, why not try some of these ideas on shrubs before graduating up to trees?

Watch out for Part 2 to my guide, coming soon to a blogroll near you...

07 January 2013 at 15:30 / Comment

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