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Too many trees? Front garden design - Advice needed

mikejames2011mikejames2011 Posts: 35
edited January 2019 in Garden design

Hi everyone,

I'm wondering If I could get some advice on our front garden, we have recently moved into a new house with a large(ish) front garden about 50ft in depth and probably the same width. We are on a busy road and I want to create a natural screen and plant lots of trees and shrubs rather than just one long hedge. I've cut out a large border to the front and side as you can see by the pictures and I've bought 5 new trees to plant:

2x Betula utilis jacquemontii

1x Taxus bacatta 

1x Malus evereste

1x Prunus subhirtella autumnalis


I'm happy with my selection but i'm wondering if maybe I need to take one out? I don't like to prune trees as I think they always look a bit butchered and should be left to achieve their natural shape and size. I've left a minimum of 10M from the house for the Birches which I know get tall really quick and I've also left 1.5M from the boundary.

I guess I'd just like some advice on spacing and if what I'm hoping to achieve looks ok? We already have a beautiful Holly tree in the front garden which must be 30ft plus so I don't mind the height.


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  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,160
    The Taxux might be a bit overwhelming there, they get huge in all dimensions. I'd prefer a Taxus kept thick and low in the front of the top pic and forget the Prunus laurocerasus. The Taxus trims to a shape more elegantly than the P. l and you'll need to trim or it will cover the path in a few years
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 7,300
    edited January 2019
    Hello @mikejames2011, welcome to the forum!  I would take one out personally, and it would be the prunus. I think if you had all of them even with the spacing, it would be too overwhelming. I can see why you want the trees to give you privacy from the houses over the road, but l wonder if it would make your own house a little dark if you had them all?
    Edited to add great minds nutcutlet !

  • AnniD said:
    Hello @mikejames2011, welcome to the forum!  I would take one out personally, and it would be the prunus. I think if you had all of them even with the spacing, it would be too overwhelming. I can see why you want the trees to give you privacy from the houses over the road, but l wonder if it would make your own house a little dark if you had them all?
    Edited to add great minds nutcutlet !


    Thanks AnniD - Do you mean the Prunus Laurocerasus shrub? That will definitely be shaped and trimmed, I know they get huge, its just the trees I like to leave well alone :)

    In terms of it being dark, the front is north facing has just the two bedrooms we don't use much so it would be fine, all the living accommodation is at the back with this view :) which is why we bought the house despite the busy road...…


    Thinking I may take one out though, maybe the malus evereste in between the taxus and the birch?

    I kinda like that hidden house, surrounded by lots of trees look. Sounds crazy I know but I don't like the exposed nature at the front especially with all the traffic. 

  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,235
    I would remove one of the Birch trees and reconsider using other tall growing shrubs over the Prunus Laurocerasus. What about Cotinus shrub/tree. Versatile and copes well to being chopped back and adds some colour and contrast against greens. Euonymus Europaeus Red Cascade can also add some more screening with more interest. 
  • madpenguinmadpenguin Isle of WightPosts: 2,238
    Wow,what a view!!!
    “Every day is ordinary, until it isn't.” - Bernard Cornwell-Death of Kings
  • Hi Borderline, I know a lot of people seem to dislike the cherry laurel, I've always loved them if kept in check, they are always so cheery year round with the shiny bright leaves, why do you think we should replace? I'm happy to keep it trimmed a few times a year to stop it going mad.

    I love the silver birches so i'd rather remove some of the others than loose one, I think they look better in two's and threes too.... although maybe i'm a bit tree mad. I've got another 4 trees in pots round the back that I bought in excitement and then realised we don't have the space!

  • Bee witchedBee witched Scottish BordersPosts: 648
    Hi @mikejames2011,

    I agree with you about the silver birches .... we were given 3 as a gift for our silver wedding and planted them as a group. They look stunning ... especially in winter.
    As they are still young trees, you could think about doing some formative pruning on the birches ... and try to grow them as multi stems. They'd then give you the privacy you are after.
    You might want to re-think the taxus. They do get very wide .... even with regular pruning .... we've got 2 here but there is plenty of space.

    Lovely view you have at the back ... I can see why you bought that house.

    Bee x
    Bees must gather nectar from two million flowers to make one pound of honey   
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 15,283

    Super view.

    I was a little confused at first because Nutcutlet mentioned Prunus laurocerasus (Laurel)which isn't on your list, but I see that there is one by the entrance. I would do as Nutcutlet says and replace the Prunus Laurocerasus with the Taxus (Yew) which is better for keeping clipped and would give you the privacy you want there. I have Laurels and they get out of control so quickly. I find them rather dark and heavy, but they do provide privacy and a wind break if you have the space.

    The other Prunus that you mention is Prunus subhirtella autumnalis, not the same at all - a lovely early flowering cherry. Otherwise I would keep everything. The Betula utilis jacquemontii is a lovely light and airy tree, not too fast growing, I have that too. I think Malus is a good choice for a front garden.

    Dordogne and Norfolk
  • MarlorenaMarlorena East AngliaPosts: 4,218
    For what it's worth, my opinion is that it's excellently done, and there is nothing I would want to change... although I would have chosen different varieties of the same plants, but that's just a personal thing...    if there was one, the Laurel looks a touch out of place, but you appear to know what it's about and it's your choice... 

    Enjoy your trees and shrubs, it will be a very long time before you need to worry whether you've put something in the wrong place, and by then your tastes may have changed, or moved on even...   
  • Thanks everyone for your help, this picture might explain a bit better. The pathway is actually my neighbours driveway and boundary. A small fence is also being installed soon.

    Re the Taxus I would be happy to prune and shape as necessary to stop it going over the boundary, I know they are a tree that actually doesn't mind pruning.


    I've removed the Malus Evereste as I could put it on the other side of the garden instead, it looks better I think? more space for everything to grow.

    P.s. ignore the horrid driveway and general state of everything else, its going to be a long project and the driveway sadly is last on the list, at least I can get on with the planting.

     

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