Landscaping around trees to incorporate them into your garden design

The eminent English architect William Kent once said that "all gardening is landscape painting". With so much creative possibility, it's easy to see why your garden design presents a real opportunity to add value to a luxury home.

Not all gardens can be considered a blank canvas, though. Sometimes the land around us comes with certain restrictions and demands. But this needn't stifle our creativity.

Here are three tips for landscaping around trees which are either too big or too precious to move.

Use the shade

A little bit of shade in the garden is no bad thing. The key is understanding how to use it, and selecting plants which thrive in darker conditions, rather than fighting an ongoing battle for sunlight.

Ferns, for example, grow wonderfully in full shade and can cope with moist soil throughout the year. The dryopteris wallichiana, or alpine wood fern, is one of the hardiest and most robust ferns out there. This makes them a smart choice for underplanting, providing an ever-present touch of greenery when you're landscaping around trees. As their root systems are modest, you'll still have plenty of room for adding some colour.

If you want to create a focal point, you could also fit bench seating around the tree to offer summer shade.

Watch the roots

It's not just loss of light that you'll be dealing with when you're landscaping under trees. You'll have to pay just as much attention to what lies beneath the soil, in the tree's extensive root system.

Oak trees are renowned for their large and stubborn roots, and are common in gardens around the world. But these roots needn't prove problematic. The golden rule is to avoid using spades and shovels too close to the tree's trunk. These can cause damage to the roots or even to the tools themselves.

For similar reasons, those landscaping under trees should make use of small plants with modest root networks. This is because there won't be a great deal of room for plants to spread out here. Primroses and lilies will bring some colour to your planting. If you're drawn to the idea of a kitchen garden, sage is a low-impact plant that will thrive underneath large canopies.

Prune the trees

While you may be prevented from removing large trees altogether, you may still be able to sculpt the tree in such a way as to minimise its impact on your garden. If Kent saw the art of gardening as akin to painting, then surely sculpture mustn't be too far away.

The benefits aren't just creative. Pruning trees can open up a lot of light, making it easier for you to plant rich and colourful beds in the ground just below.

Begin by removing any dead or dying branches. This will improve the appearance of the tree, as well as bringing additional light down to ground level. If you'd like to go further, removing lower branches can be an effective way of opening up space.

Enhancing your outside space by landscaping around trees can add value to your property, as well as making it an even nicer place to live. Engel & Völkers can help you prepare your home for the market, both inside and out. Visit the website for more tips on getting the most from your home.

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