Newly Registered
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Aug 22, 2007 6:21 pm
Location: Nova Scotia

Landscaping under a stand of trees

We just purchased a new home – well we got married, bought a house and have a baby on the way – all within 5 months, so it’s been a busy time. Anyway, it sits on a very large lot and we have two large stands of birch/maple trees in our front yard. One stand is about 30 x 40 ft and the other is about 40 x 60 ft. We’re working on clearing the smaller stand – clearing the rocks, dead branches, pulling stumps, tilling the earth, etc…

Both of us are fairly new to this gardening business, so I was wondering if anybody had any grand ideas about what could be done on the small stand – it has about 8 trees in it. We’re going to bring in soil but both of us seem to have a creative block when it comes to the next step. I had thought of scattering flower bulbs and seeds all willy-nilly but I think it would look pretty cluttered.

Does anyone have any examples of what could be done in a space like this? We live in Zone 5.

Here's a look at the larger stand of trees - ignore the foot


Full Member
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2007 2:11 pm
Location: Northern Illinois zone4/5

Oh, I LOVE shade plants! There are endless possibilities for that space, but you are ovbiously going to have to be realistic as to how much time you can put into the project.

First: Be careful how much soil you bring in, don't smother the tree roots.

Second: research shade-loving plants for your zone, and make a list of what you like. Then, buy and plant as you have time and money! Unless you like a more formal look, then you might want to have a long-range plan.

Third: think ahead for things like a walkway (material of your choice; rock? Flat stone? Brick? Wood chips?) and decide where this will be. It could be a focal point for your design, as could other hard structures like fencing , arbors, trellises, etc.

Fourth: also take into consideration maintenance and views. Do you want to block a view? Enhance a view? A lot of places recommend an "outdoor room" style of design, where you choose to develop an area of your space that can be seen from a particular room of your house.

Fifth (and last, for me,): the more exotic your plantings the more high-maintenance your lanscaping will be. Native-to-you plantings will support local biodiversity and are very good at taking care of themselves in extreme weather, because that is what they were designed to do! :wink: Just a hint, not a judgment, BTW. BUT, don't dig natives from the wild without express permission, if you decide to go that way. Buy them from a reputable dealer, instead.

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