Trees can always be an excellent addition to your garden. No matter how large or small it may be, there are always ways to include trees in your garden design. In this article, we’ll take a look at some interesting ways to use trees in garden design.
Of course, trees always bring a range of benefits. They sequester carbon and can provide shade, reduce air pollution, help store water and nutrients in your garden, attract and help wildlife, look beautiful and more. Of course, fruit and nut trees can provide edible yields too. And that is just the beginning…
You might be thinking about adding trees to your garden to help in the fight against climate change, for edible produce. You might be considering adding them for wildlife. Or simply for their visual appeal. But it is important to remember that trees can be very useful at a garden scale too. Here are some interesting ways to use trees that you might not have considered:
Create A Shelter Belt or Windbreak Hedge With The Right Trees
One interesting way to use trees in garden design is to use them to create a shelter belt or, on a smaller scale, a windbreak hedge. These are common features in an agricultural landscape. But it is important to remember that they can also be used on a smaller scale for domestic gardens.
If you have a very exposed site, choosing the right trees can lessen extreme winds on the site. By positioning trees in just the right places, we can make it easier to grow a wide range of other plants in our gardens. Even a tree or two, correctly chosen and positioned, can make a big difference.
Use Trees in Garden Design to Secure a Slope
Another way that trees can be used effectively in garden landscaping is to secure a slope. Choosing the right trees will help you make the most of a more challenging site. Soils on areas with steeper gradients are more prone to nutrient loss, water run-off and erosion. The right trees can help to anchor the soil, and keep water and nutrients where they are needed.
Especially when used in conjunction with other practices, such as planting ground cover, creating swales and terracing, trees can help you make the most of a sloping garden.
Use Trees in Garden Design to Prevent Bogginess
The right trees can also help you prevent bogginess and waterlogging in a certain part of your garden. In areas where flooding and waterlogging are common, a garden can often benefit from the addition of some water-loving trees.
Trees like alder, willows etc. will absorb plenty of water from the surrounding soil. And can therefore return an area of the garden that was previously difficult to manage into active use.
Improve the Appearance of a Wall or Fence
If you have an ugly wall or fence in your garden, trees can help disguise and cover it. No matter whether you have a structure that faces north, south, east or west, you can find trees suited to the situation.
Even in gardens where there is not the space for full-sized standard trees there are options. It is possible to espalier or train a tree to grow against a wall or fence. If space really is at a premium, this can even be done with dwarf fruit trees grown in containers.
Create a Privacy Screen for a Garden Area
Trees cannot only be used against an existing structure. They can also be used alone to create a garden boundary, or an area between different garden zones. Choose the right tree species and you can create a lush and abundant screen that can provide privacy for your home, or for a particular area in your garden.
There are many different trees that could be chosen for this purpose, and you can leave them to grow naturally, or train and prune them to create a more neat and orderly hedge or ‘fedge’. Willow is one tree commonly chosen for ‘fedge’ or living hedge creation. But there are many other species that could also work well.
Use Trees in Garden Design To Hide Unsightly Features
If you wished, you could also use trees to hide unsightly elements in your garden. For example, you might use trees to shield a parking area, or composting bins, from view. Using trees to screen off things you would rather not see can improve the amenity of your garden.
Trees can disguise the view of a neighbour’s property, or a busy road. And no matter which species you choose, they can often make your garden feel like an oasis of calm – separate from and hidden away from the stresses and strains of the modern world.
Establish Bed Edging Around a Kitchen Garden
Trees don’t even have to be allowed to grow to to any extreme height. You can also use dwarf fruit trees, for example, to create step-over bed edging. This could work well, for example, around the edges of a kitchen garden.
Step-over apple trees and similar can also be used to line a driveway, or make use of other marginal areas around your property.
Use Trees in Garden Design to Create a Sheltered Seating Area
Another interesting way to use trees is to shape them to create an arbor, or a sheltered seating area. The dappled shade beneath the trees can be a wonderful place to sit and relax, read a good book, or spend some quality time with family or friends.
Depending on how much space is available, you can plant trees and allow them to retain a more natural form. Or you can shape them and prune them so that they stay within bounds. A tree-sheltered seating area can come in many shapes and sizes.
Make a Children’s Den With Living Trees
Kids will also love to spend time in an area below some trees. And you can creatively use trees in your garden design to make a space for them to relax or play. Of course, you could use a mature tree as support for a treehouse. But you could also create a den without waiting so long for trees to grow.
For example, you could use living trees to make a wigwam shaped den, training the branches of a number of smaller trees to grow in towards a central point. You could also plant trees close together and prune lower branches to make a space between and beneath.
Create Living Outdoors Furniture
The trees may not only form the roof structures of seating areas or kids’ dens. They might also be used in imaginative ways to create the furniture for an outdoors room. Trees might be trained to grow in such a way that they can become places to sit, with branches arranged in comfortable forms.
When thinking about planting trees in garden design, you don’t need to be conventional. There are plenty of ways to use trees in less conventional ways. They can be used for very specific purposes, and provide interesting solutions to a range of garden problems.
Trees are wonderful, and we should all have at least one of them in our gardens, no matter how large or small they may be.
How have you used trees in your garden design? Let us know and share your own ideas in the comments below.
Elizabeth Waddington is a writer and green living consultant living in Scotland. Permaculture and sustainability are at the heart of everything she does, from designing gardens and farms around the world, to inspiring and facilitating positive change for small companies and individuals.
She also works on her own property, where she grows fruit and vegetables, keeps chickens and is working on the eco-renovation of an old stone barn.
To get in touch, visit https://ewspconsultancy.com.