For the majority of landscapes, trees will be the most visible, and certainly the largest, elements of the area. How those trees are placed can therefore make an enormous difference in the appeal of the finished landscape. It is important to use care when placing trees in the landscape, and to consider a number of factors, both practical and aesthetic, when planting these garden residents.
When thinking about trees in the landscape, it is important to consider the various functions they perform. Trees, of course, provide much needed shade, both for human residents and for shade loving plants. The shade provided by trees helps to protect delicate flowers and plants from damage, and that shade can also provide a restful place for local wildlife. And of course trees provide the perfect venue for play, from tire swings and tree houses to the good old fashioned fun of climbing the branches of a mature tree.
One of the most important considerations when planting young trees, of course, is to consider their full grown size, and to plant accordingly. Give the young tree plenty of room to spread its roots and grow. Planting a large species of tree in too cramped an area will result in either a stunted tree, or even worse, in a dead tree, and that will do nothing for the landscape.
The roots of large trees can of course be a nuisance in certain cases, and for that reason it is important to keep those large trees well away from structures such as sheds, garages and swimming pools, which could be damaged by protruding roots as the tree ages. Also keep play areas clear of roots, which could cause a tripping hazard.
When locating the trees in your landscape, it is important to look up as well as down. As those young trees grow and mature, you will have to ensure that they do not become ensnarled in overhead power lines, and that those branches do not endanger motorists by blocking their view of the road. Many municipalities are very good about keeping such trees trimmed, but others are not so vigilant. It is up to the homeowners, therefore, to keep an eye on the trees on their landscapes and make sure they provide both an attractive, and safe, home environment.
And it almost goes without saying that young trees should be planted well away from property lines, unless you want your mature tree to cause a problem for you and your neighbors. Common neighborhood problems, such as leaves falling on neighbors' lawns and branches interfering with neighbors' enjoyment of their property, can be avoided simply by taking property lines into account at planting time.