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Where to put trees?

ontopofthehillontopofthehill Posts: 75
edited January 2023 in Garden design
I'm sorry to be starting my second thread of the day but you lot have always steered me right in the past. We are slowly trying to make a garden of what was previously a leylandii overshadowed glorified field. Back hedge is Portuguese laurel which has been in about 3 years so not massive yet. I dug out the back beds 2 years ago and that's basically a big long herbaceous mess cause I haven't a clue but I'm good with flowers.

Question is where do I add trees? I kindly got a voucher for a great garden centre locally from work and have picked up an amelanchier lamarckii and acer flamingo. We also have a cercis canandensis in a pot that I want to get in the ground and I need to move a prunus kanzan (currently top left of the herbaceous border, see other thread). 

In situ already are 2 small apple trees to the right, a 'mr blue' cedar behind those at the front of the border near the remaining conifers and behind that is a tiny magnolia soulangea. There is a small silver birch about 1/3 in at the top of the border to the left. Two pre-existing Acers are towards the house end of the garden and there's a mature Holly tree to the left which likely will need to eventually come out for a greenhouse and because it's encroaching on electrical lines. Roundy thing to the right side is an old rockery/water pump that we haven't quite figured out what to do with.

Garden is south facing so basically the whole garden with the exception of a portion of the right (shaded by the neighbours conifers) is blasted with full sun all day in the summer. I've planted the back border for full sun so don't want to just line the trees up at the back and wreck that. Overall, I love how bright it is but a little shade would probably be no harm somewhere.

I'm not keen on the big expanse of grass and would like a focal point closer to the house so was thinking group the amelanchier/Acer flamingo/cercis in a sort of triangle in the middle of the lawn but not sure if that's a mad idea. But tbh I really don't know where to stick them and having to relocate the cherry away from built structures is also posing a quandry. The view back down the hill is quite nice so don't want to block that either and it might with the triangle idea. All suggestions would be really welcome! I keep messing up with my tree placements so trying to get it right this time. Thanks in advance!

View from kitchen (A few months ago, obviously! 😂)


  • McRazzMcRazz Posts: 415
    edited January 2023
    Categorise your trees by ultimate height/spread and interest.

    Determine where you get and want shade/sun.

    If exposure is an issue consider species placement (some early flowering varieties might not like strong morning sun on frosty flowers, for example).

    Get a handful of canes and set out your trees - spend some time looking at these until you're completely satisfied.

    South facing gardens are actually really tricky imo as so much of what you do creates inward shade.

    Best of luck!
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,753
    It's a lovely plot so I'd take a bit of time re the siting of your new purchases.  :)
    The Acer won't appreciate sitting in full on sun, so I'd be inclined to position that near your existing ones, assuming they're happy. You can keep it potted until you decide - there's no hurry to plant those. They're good pot specimens if they have the right soil and drainage etc.  :)
    The Amelanchier will be fine almost anywhere, but if you want to site trees to give you some shade, there are various options. If it was mine, I'd enlarge that area you mentioned with the water pump, and get the A. lamarckii in there and create a border with spring and winter interest. The tree will also give autumn colour, and bulbs and other perennials will lengthen that interest. It would be a nice view from the house too. You can draw the area across further to the left, depending on how much division of the space you want. 
    Alternatively, do something similar on the left side, but still develop that pump area. 
    The Cercis will get quite large eventually, but that would be a lovely feature tree, so perhaps a combination of those two ideas - cercis on the left, perhaps slightly nearer the house, and the pump area for the Amelanchier etc. Staggering the areas slightly is always a good design method.
    It does depend on how much room there is for those to develop, in order to get the best from them, and also how much space all those other trees you mention have got. It's always worth taking all the trees and placing them - and adding a pole/cane etc in the spaces to give an idea of eventual height [ or at least the height after five to ten years] and how it affects the various areas.
    I don't know about the cherry you mention, but  moving it will depend on how long it's been there. It isn't easy to move a tree if it's been in situ for several years.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Thank you both for taking the time to reply and so comprehensively! Definitely a good idea about the stakes to determine ultimate height, hadn't thought of that and will absolutely consider the staggered approach Fairygirl, like that idea. As you said there's no rush but that's always my problem with planting! Race ahead and then sometimes regret it. Appreciate the advice.
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