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Advice on planting large trees and maintaining views

We have a lovely view from our garden and my husband in particular is loathe to plant trees for fear of blocking the view.  The site is windy and when you approach the house from all aspects, it looks stark and needs softening. We have planted a privet hedge along the view and some crab apples where we are happy to screen which will help in time, but no other trees along the view. 

Anyone have any garden design advice on how to balance these two objectives?


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,078
    edited November 2020
    My instinct would be to plant deciduous trees with light and airy growth so that it filters and frames and thereby enhances the view rather than screens it ... but it depends of course on the particular situation and space. 

    Some photos and more details would help us to come up with ideas. 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,942
    It's always a difficult subject and photos are vital. 
    It also depends on where from, and when, you see the views. There are various 'tricks' which can be employed, which have been around for centuries.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Posts: 10,928
    Silver Birch (and its many variants) are quite light and airy.
    They have great autumn colour and the bark shines in the winter sun when the leaves are gone.
    As said above, some photos will help us give some appropriate suggestions

    Billericay - Essex

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • KmehKmeh Posts: 168
    Thank you for your replies. The garden wraps around all the living areas of our l-shaped barn, so plenty of space but there is not much depth.

    Here are four views, definitely not looking it's best on this grim ol' day, plus my photography is pretty rubbish at the best of times:

    Least enamoured with this view as there are farm sheds adjacent. 

    Excuse the kiddie mess.

    Our favourite view from the sitting room. It's really vibrant in spring and summer.

    To the right of this section of the photo is the only place at present where I intend on putting any significant sized trees as the the view isnt any great loss.

    Hope this helps.
  • BenCottoBenCotto Posts: 4,494
    I think such a lovely open aspect would be enhanced by some trees. I would go for a stand of three or five silver birches on one side of the ‘frame’ and a counterbalance of a liquidambar styraciflua on the other. 

    Why not print those photos on to A4 paper and draw tree size shapes to see how the view is impacted?
    Rutland, England
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,942
    Trees frame a view, and also provide protection, so it would be a case of deciding what you want to achieve.
    It would be worth doing as @BenCotto suggests, and you can also do that on a computer photo if you have one of the editing options where you can add shapes and outlines etc. I think I can do that on mine.
    It's a big expanse, so I'd think it would be better to pick one or two areas to address. The ones which get the most wind for example, if you want to sit outside to enjoy a particular spot. 
    Trees aren't going to instantly grow anyway, even if you have the budget to buy mature specimens. You seem to have hedging in place too. An old trick is to cut 'windows' in it once it's of a suitable height. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • I also live in a barn, with some more rural views and others towards dwellings. I used mixed native hedging around the boundary and hornbeam on internal hedges. In terms of trees I have a stand of 3 field maple (Acer campestre), Malus 'Red Sentinel', Malus 'John Downie', Parrotia persica (super autumn colour), Prunus avium 'Plena' and a self-seeded Prunus cerasifera. To add to the display I have just bought the following: Acer rubrum, Betula ermanii 'Grayswood Hill', Liquidamber styraciflua 'Worplesden' and Malus 'Candymint. Essentially, nothing that gets so huge that it dominates or interrupts views beyond.

    We have small children and whilst an expanse of lawn is desirable, what I find is that the garden is far more interesting (and looks bigger) when I add island beds to accommodate a mix of trees and shrubs. I've just started doing this this week. To work out where I want the trees to be - to screen or frame a view - I put tall bamboo canes in the grass and then view from key angles to make sure I've got them where I want them. Then I plant. 
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,942
    This is the sort of thing you can do on the 'pooter

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Remember too that the roots of any tree will extend at least as far as it's canopy so bear that in mind when you  choose them & position them. 
    AB Still learning

  • Trees can improve a view if planted with an appreciation of how the view will be changed by them growing there. I like the suggestions some have already posted of taking a picture of the view you have from somewhere that you are likely to be viewing the garden and seeing how it would look with a tree or two in this frame of view. A well placed tree can help connect the garden with the landscape behind it. I have a Japanese Zelkova tree I planted on its own that can be viewed from the back of the house and the contrast between its nice shape and the trees outside the garden further away creates a nice effect in my opinion.
    Also if you have trees growing you can simply cut them down if they turn out to be blocking a view you like. I maintained a hedge of mostly hawthorne and beech to the west of our own house at a height to keep the view beyond it visible but when a new house was built in that direction it was easy just to let it grow up a bit taller to block the view of the new house and so keep a fairly nice view from that side of the house.
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