Landscaping ideas around trees

Landscape design combines existing plants with new plants or lawn decor to create a pleasing, welcoming space. Landscaping around trees, especially if there is only one tree in the landscape, is a way to incorporate additional plants in the yard or garden. Look for colors, shapes, and sizes that complement the architecture of your house when choosing plants for your landscape design. Choose one or two elements from the list below to avoid a cluttered appearance. When in doubt, apply 3 to 4 inches of wood mulch around the tree and extend out to the drip line. The drip line is an imaginary circle on the ground around the tree equal to the outreach of the tree's widest branches. Applying mulch only is a budget-friendly approach to landscaping around trees.

Shrubs

Plant shrubs and the tree at same time to avoid damaging the roots. Choose shrubs that tolerate full sun while the tree grows, and thrive in shade when the tree matures. Consider acidic and alkaline soil types, and match the soil requirements of the tree to the soil requirements of the shrub. Consider the tree's potential trunk diameter and plant the shrubs at least 3 feet outside that ring. As the shrubs grow, either prune the shrubs or prune lower tree branches to keep them from touching.

Potted plants

For an established tree, place a grouping of an odd number of flowerpots (three to five maximum) under the tree to create a focal point. Choose pots of varying heights and shapes. Plant flowers, ornamental grass or small shrubs in the pots.

Raised bed

Set a border around the tree using stones or edging material such as bricks to create raised bed about 4 inches tall. Fill with potting soil or a mixture of soil and organic material like leaf mold. Add shade-loving flowers such as ferns or impatiens.

Lighting

Landscape lighting produces a dramatic effect and helps to illuminate walkways. Place the light at a distance to illuminate a large portion of the tree or place the light at the base of the tree to shine upward.

Extras

A bench or chair located under a tree beckons for solitude in the shade. Lawn decor also captures the eye. Consider placing three varying size orbs of stone, concrete or stainless steel in a close-set group. A birdbath or gazing ball on a stand also adds visual interest.