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The right tree in the right place

2134 reads
by Colour Your Life • Friday January 20, 2017

The right tree could do so much for your garden.  Trees shape the character of a garden with their size and proportions. They also provide height, enclosure, privacy, division of the space, shade and colour. It is important to choose the right tree for every garden and every design.

Here’s some features to think about when choosing a tree:

Light and shade

Light is an important factor when deciding a location for a tree. Where the sun is, the shape of the tree, its branches and the size of the tree are all linked.  Think about how sunlight shining through foliage can look stunning. 

Also don’t forget that the position of the sun is different in summer and winter. As a general suggestion, deciduous trees are best planted on the south side of a house, and evergreens on the north side.

Deciduous trees on the south side will show the branch pattern in the winter when the sun is low, and the light can enter the house almost unimpeded. In the summer the light shines through the foliage and the house remains cooler.

Creating your own mini wood

If you’ve got room for planting a clump of trees you can create your own woodland in the garden.  Plant the trees with the most open crown at the front and the ‘denser’ trees behind so that you can get the full effect.

Plus think about the overall shape of the woodland oasis that you are creating.  You might choose to put together a large columnar tree with lower, broader trees as an accent. Also don’t forget to match growing speeds and heights to one another.


Be clever with colour in your garden.  You can use colour to make it look bigger by suggesting a variation in distance. Warm colours such as yellow, red and orange appear to be closer than tranquil, cool blue and grey shades. Also use colour to create depth.

This principle even works very well if you place red (foliage) in the foreground and grey-blue (foliage) in the background. The space in between then appears to be much bigger.


Sometimes a garden space can feel too open or too enclosed – trees can help with this. Enclosure is determined by the higher objects that we look at. These can be buildings, but also trees. If they are too high, we can feel boxed in. On the other hand, if there are no trees or vertical fixed elements in a garden, then the vertical dimension is lacking.


  • Orby M. Orby M. Your picture of Live Oak might be reconsidered as it is a pain in one's arse. It does revise an umbrella/canopy, but drops acorns which begin to seed new growth, drops leaves, both of which have to be cleaned up.
    Friday January 20, 2017 at 12:01
  • Joseph M. Joseph M. I think it's a beautiful tree and a small price to pay for such.
    Friday January 20, 2017 at 13:36
  • James P K. James P K. Here, here it is indeed beautiful and dropped leaves are wonderful free compost material and might may I add get rid of that pain the gentleman has.
    Friday January 20, 2017 at 13:52

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