Garden design with trees: why trees are so important to a good garden
We love trees here at Tythorne Garden Design. That’s probably not going to be a huge surprise to any of you- we are garden designers after all, and a love of plants (and trees in particular) is quite important in our line of work.
Yes, we’ve all seen instances when the wrong tree in the wrong place can (quite literally) be an enormous problem, and yes we also probably all know someone living with, or near to, a tree with a Tree Protection Order who sees it is an endless source of frustration. But trees are so important to a successful garden that we would encourage everybody to have at least one.
Including trees to attract wildlife to your garden
Perhaps the most important reason to include a tree or two in a garden is their role in attracting wildlife. As well as providing home for a whole host of different insects, trees are absolutely vital for birds. Yes, I know not everyone likes wood pigeons, and I distinctly remember my granny getting very annoyed at the starlings that seemed to think they owned her garden, but most of us enjoy seeing and hearing birds. There is definitely something very soothing and restful about birdsong, but not having a tree will have a massive impact on the quantity and diversity of the birds we can attract.
Trees provide height and textural interest to a garden
From a garden design point of view, trees are a great way of adding an element of height. Think about it... our gardens tend to be dominated by low horizontal planes of lawn, driveway or patio. Creating height always provides a welcome contrast and helps to give us a sense of balance. Introducing height is even more important for smaller or medium-sized gardens where a dominant boundary fence, wall or hedge can often make the space feel smaller than it actually is. We can very effectively reduce the visual impact of our boundary fences by 'breaking' the horizontal lines with a vertical or two.
Garden trees as focal points
Garden trees can also be very useful as focal points. They can create a sense of movement by leading the eye through a garden, and for helping to frame an attractive view. They can equally be useful for helping to hide something that we don’t want to see, like a telegraph pole or a neighbouring building. I’m certainly not advocating blocking out next door’s house to the extent that they are plunged into darkness, but rather just seeking to subtly reduce the visual impact of nearby buildings so that they aren’t quite so dominant on the eye.
But which tree to choose for your garden?
We are extremely fortunate to have access to an enormous variety of trees to choose from at garden centres, plant nurseries and online plant retailers so there really is no excuse for not selecting a species that will provide you with a great deal of interest. The key, as ever, is to be clear about our priorities because whether its breathtaking autumn foliage colour, a particularly attractive bark (like the glorious mahogany bark on the Prunus serrula in the picture below), pretty flowers, fruits or nuts, there really is something for everyone.
With so much choice, however, there is also the risk of making mistakes.
It may sound obvious, but above all else do please select a tree that is suitable for the size of your garden. If your garden is a modest size, don’t plant an oak, a willow or a eucalyptus unless, of course, you plan to remove it after a few years when it has become too large for your space.
If in doubt I would always recommend seeking some advice from an expert at your local plant nursery or garden centre (or maybe even your local garden designer). There is also a plethora of good advice available online, most notably from the Woodland Trust (who I'm, delighted to say are based locally to us in Grantham) or the RHS.
Tythorne Garden Design provides professional fixed-fee garden design solutions for customers in Grantham, Stamford, Newark and surrounding areas. Let's see how we can help you to enjoy your garden more. Call us on 07900 224 239 or 01529 455 355.