Landscape Gardening: Tree Arrangement

Landscape gardening is like the painting of a picture. A good picture often has a point of chief interest, and the rest of the points simply forms a fine setting for it. In landscape gardening, the gardener has a clear picture in his mind what the whole will be once the work is completed.

The design of gardening should have a central element or focal point to catches the eyes – a special tree or bush, fountains or statues. Garden gnomes are very popular in Europe, and it’s not a surprise to see gnomes in the states either. Seasonal and holiday flags can all be architectural focal points.

A good extent of open lawn space is always beautiful and restful. It adds a feeling of space to even small grounds. If the lawn space is covered with many trees, and with little flower beds here and there, the general effect is choppy and fussy. It is a bit like an over-dressed person. A single tree or a small group, in fact, is a more elegant arrangement. Do not center the tree or trees, instead let them drop a bit into the background. In choosing trees one must keep in mind a number of things. You should not choose an overpowering tree; the tree should be one of good shape, with something interesting about its bark, leaves, flowers or fruit. While the poplar is a rapid grower, it sheds its leaves early and so is left standing, bare and ugly, before the fall is old. There are places where a row or double row of Lombardy poplars is very effective. The catalpa is quite lovely with broad leaves and attractive flowers. And the seed pods clinging to the tree add a bit of picture sequences in the winter. The bright berries of the ash, the brilliant foliage of the sugar maple, the blossoms of the tulip tree, the bark of the white birch, and the leaves of the copper beech all these are beauty points to consider.

If the lower portion of the grounds is a bit low and moist, the spot is ideal for a willow. It’s important to group trees together properly. A long-looking poplar does not go with a nice rather rounded little tulip tree. A juniper, so neat and prim, would look silly beside a spreading chestnut.

Seasonality is another major consideration in the tree selection. The forsythia bloom early. The red bark of the dogwood makes a bit of color all winter, and the red berries of the barberry cling to the shrub well into the winter.

Certain shrubs are good to use for hedge purposes. A hedge is rather prettier usually than a fence. The Californian privet is excellent for this purpose. Osage orange, Japan barberry, buckthorn, Japan quince, and Van Houtte’s spirea are other shrubs which make good hedges.