You have plenty of options when it comes to landscaping around trees. Ideas and designs run from digging and planting simple flower beds to building an entire deck around a beautiful tree.
We’ve put together a collection of designs that offer solutions for all types of challenges.
Many people are reluctant to landscape around trees. They don’t want to give up their grass. At some point, the grass will lose the battle for moisture and start to look unsightly.
The tree itself may have a root system that starts to protrude from the ground.
If you want to create a circle around the tree, use a string tied around the trunk to get an accurate diameter.
Use an edging tool to start digging and remove the sod, being careful to avoid cutting the roots of the tree. Add a border using edging plastic or rocks.
1. Create Park Setting With Bench and Flowers
Recreate a park setting. As mulch to the base, ground cover like Hosta, and hanging baskets full of flowers. Garden plant hangers can be found at your local dollar store.
The bench used here is actually a single seat. You can create a simple version of this with wood pallets.
2. Add a Patio in the Shade
Use flagstone pavers to build a patio area. Trees provide an organic canopy for outdoor dining.
When building a patio, be sure to give immature trees plenty of room for root and trunk growth.
3. Create a Secluded Seating Area
Create a zone for a lounge. Clear the grass, add landscape fabric, and top with pea gravel.
Flagstone pavers create a simple path to reach the area without having to step in soggy grass.
4. Build a Retaining Wall on the Slope
Trees on a slope can create more challenges. The problem was solved here by building a retaining wall at the base using interlocking bricks.
Grass was cut out around the high side of the slope. Dirt was filled in around the trunk to cover the tree roots. Ground cover and dark brown mulch create a neat covering.
This idea is recreated for every tree on the slope.
5. Two Trees Become One Garden
When two trees are close together, it is better to treat them as one zone. A path was built between them, with irregular stepping stones and gravel.
Organic mulch beds flank the sides. This creates a direct, less awkward path to the shed in the back.
6. Basket Weave Fence Around Hedge Stops Deer
Here is an interesting solution for preventing deer from eating the bark off of your trees.
A unique, organic structure was created by weaving two rings around this tree and planting a hedge in the middle section.
As the hedge matures, it creates a unique area that looks like a bench. This tree ring allows the tree to receive plenty of water at its base while keeping wildlife from stripping away the bark.
via Cypress Lawns
7. Grow a Tree in Your Urban Sanctuary
You can grow smaller trees in urban areas. A Dwarf Japanese maple or cherry blossom will provide a lot of colors.
There are many varieties of small trees that do well in planters depending on your growing zone. The size of your planter box is determined by the width and depth of the tree’s root ball.
Pick a box that’s at least twice the size of the root ball. Bigger is better.
via Flo’s Gardens
8. Build a Floating Deck Around a Tree
Another solution to hiding tree roots is to build your deck around the tree trunk.
This idea is useful when you want to build a deck without sacrificing a beautiful shade tree.
9. Bring Serenity to a Garden
A small tree can provide the right amount of shade while softening the look of an immaculate garden.
The Weeping Japanese Maple “Viridis” tree shown here tolerates full sun. It matures at about eight feet high, so its size will never outgrow its surroundings.
10. Fill the Area With Potted Plants
Container gardens can be used when a flower bed is impractical.
You can change them out to showcase different blooms for the different seasons.
11. Prune Trees in Your Courtyard
Trees can be maintained in a courtyard provided there’s adequate sunlight and the proper nutrients in the soil. This tree is pruned to keep branches above the roof line.
via EPT Design
12. Build a Raised Garden Bed
An oversized planter was created by utilizing the same techniques used when creating a retaining wall.
Brick pavers are secured with mortar and native plants look right at home.
13. Zen Garden Gives Topiary a Bonsai Look
You can create the look of bonsai trees by using a shrub like a boxwood or juniper. These trees take on the role of organic sculptures.
They’re used to complement the hard lines in this soothing modern garden.
via John Davies
14. Shade Loving Succulents Grow in Shallow Garden
A retaining wall gets help with the root system from an old shade tree. Succulents provide color and interest around this patio. Do some research on succulents to find some that do well in shady areas.
15. Add a Dry Creek Bed Through Mulch
A seating area was created underneath this tree using brightly colored mulch and a dry creek bed using light colored gravel and large rocks.
16. Build a Rock Garden Around Olive Trees
Olive trees thrive in many areas that don’t see temperatures below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. You can use them in a Mediterranean setting or in desert areas.
Hardscaping is done at the base of these trees, allowing them to keep any water for themselves.
via Garden of Eva
17. Create Safe Zone Around Nettles and Oaks
Some trees in your yard can be harmful. Give them a wide berth by creating an edging around the perimeter and filled with a lush ground cover.
via Donna Lynn
18. Build Patio Grill Area Around Tree
A corner of the yard that might otherwise be forgotten becomes the focal point when a patio was built around the tree. A grill is added for good measure.
via Sca Larc
19. Floral Garden Beds Add Symmetry
Create a more formal look in your garden by using the same decorative base.
Flower beds using the same species and colors unify this yard.
20. Old Tree Becomes Part of Patio Décor
The owners decided to keep this tree and built a seating area and table around it. It becomes an organic patio umbrella, providing shade for all the guests.
via Helpful Gardener
21. Build a Raised Rustic Garden Bed
Instead of cutting down this old tree, a raised garden was built to support it.
A copper colored patina on metal helps to blend the garden bed with its surroundings.
via Carson Douglas
22. Build a Cobblestone Garden Path
A collection of tall shade trees was put to use by creating a brick walkway leading to a secluded gazebo.
23. Add Tiers of Flowers and Grasses
You can build out a larger perimeter around a tree by using small low-growing plants and flowers in the front and larger ornamental grasses closer to the tree trunk.
24. Bouquet of Flowers Surrounds Bearded Oak
A large, vibrant flower bed creates a beautiful contrast to an old oak, covered in Spanish moss. It’s the veils of Spanish moss that give the tree the name “Bearded Oak.”
25. Deck Built Around a Superstar Tree
The serene, wraparound deck of this house was designed around this old oak tree. The tree has a Zen like quality and pruning to the roofline reveals the trunk’s true character.
via ODS Architecture
26. Hang a Wood Framed Swing Chair
An organic basket swing chair provides the perfect place for a reading nook.
27. Aloe Trees Call for Cacti and Succulents
Barrel cacti and boulders are the perfect complement to a Tree Aloe. The Hercules Aloe Tree proves that you don’t have to give up height when designing a landscape for a dry climate.
28. Olive Trees Look Like a Vineyard
Olive trees provide contrast to the square pavers along the walkways at this residence. Planting trees in a row mimics their look in a vineyard. Organic mulch planted at the base holds moisture for future use.
via Carson Douglas
29. Low Growing Bulbs Thrive in Shady Areas
When the base of a tree makes it impossible to grow grass, consider planting shade-loving caladium bulbs.
They multiply and spread, so a few will go a long way. In cooler climates, dig them up and store them indoors during the winter months.