Flower garden and landscape

Mini-groups of trees and shrubs in the design of the garden


The structure of the garden is determined not only by paths and lawns. This is a complex system of interdependent elements that together create a harmonious style and a complete look. Along with dominants and architectural elements, small groups of shrubs and trees, which can play various roles in the garden, are also an important tool for structuring the garden.

Trees and shrubs in garden design

The role of shrub and tree groups in the garden

For the effect of fullness of the garden, the abundance and variety of plants in it, not only flower beds, but also groups of trees and shrubs are responsible. They are very different both in size and in the number of plants, and even more so in importance for structure and artistic image. The main type of such groups is a small ensemble, which combines from 2 to 4 shrubs and tree ornamental type. Despite the small size and modest composition of the "participants", they are the main component of the skeletal plantings of the garden, provides vertical structure and spectacular filling. The modest size should not be misleading: such groups produce a really great effect and play a very significant role.

When they say that a skillful combination of shrubs and trees is the basis of the design of any garden, they are not far from the truth. Of course, the basis of landscape design is the structuring of space and the interrelation of basic elements, but shrubs and trees are the basis of landscaping and the main focal points that determine not only the style and appearance of the garden, but also its structure.

Functions of small groups of skeletal plants

Small groups of several bushes and trees, "organized" on two or three levels, are important zoning and determining the structure of the garden elements. They perform the function of:

  1. dominance, or visual base of compositions, the most massive, large and attracting attention element that dictates character and style; a focal point designed to attract eyes;
  2. a large masking element that hides functional and economic objects, a relaxation corner, a secret path, etc .;
  3. a space divider denoting the boundary of the zone, a separation point inside the site, dividing large lawns or territories into separate zones, outlining transitions to important objects for recreation, a garden, etc .;
  4. filler, or giving volume and mass to an element of large sizes;
  5. vertical accent, introducing expressiveness and relief in landscaping;
  6. durable backstage or background filler, designed to create a colorful high and expressive background for individual compositions for decades, etc.

The influence of ensembles of trees and shrubs on the style of the garden

Combinations of shrubs and woods together form the so-called skeletal plantings, the very “canvas” on which grassy perennials and summers flaunt, which sets off the grounds and lawns and creates the effect of fullness. Sometimes woody groups play only a structural role, being the dominant, distracting or masking element, but, as a rule, their practical and decorative functions are inextricable.

Regardless of the specific role, their main function in the garden remains the formation of a base for landscaping and garden style. The right combination of trees and shrubs allows you to create complete projects even on the smallest area. If single plants are only dominants, creating catchy and large accents, then groups of trees and shrubs are a style-forming element.

Trees and shrubs in the design of the garden.

Principles of composing mini-groups of trees and shrubs

In order to achieve an impressive effect and introduce bright groups of trees and shrubs into the garden, which with a small size will play a style-forming and selected structuring role, it is necessary not only to choose the right plants, but to group them correctly. The selection and placement of cultures in such mini-groups is a difficult task and requires multilateral analysis. After all, it is necessary to evaluate the size of plants, and their massiveness, and silhouette, and influence on the surrounding landscape.

1. Spotlight on silhouettes

The first principle of composing such groups of shrubs and trees is the selection of several plants that differ in shape. Squat bushes are combined with slender, umbrella, longline and rounded silhouettes, trying not to repeat the contours and shapes. For example, dwarf spruce and stunted yews are often introduced into groups of Japanese maple and controversial derene, and decorative cherries are successfully combined with cypress and rhododendrons.

2. Contrast foliage + bonus in the form of luxurious flowering

It is advisable to create a contrast not only in form, but also in the color of the leaves. It is customary to combine the classical dark crown of shrubs and woods with plants with golden, light green, yellowish or variegated colors, gray or purple palette. Especially valuable elements in mini-compositions are precisely plants with a combined motley color, whose leaves are decorated with strokes, border, spots and stripes. Such cultures advantageously set off simultaneously all the partners in the composition. So, in one composition variegated euonymos, evergreen rhododendrons, golden spruce and fiery red maple will look great.

The palette of decorative shrubs and trees that can create spectacular compositions includes a lot of beautiful foliage and color changes or the constancy of winter-green crowns of plants, and a huge assortment of flowering shrubs and trees. When choosing plants, always give preference to such groups in which at least one shrub is distinguished by spectacular flowering, and preferably half or most of the elements of the group can surprise with colorful flowering in different seasons. Among the flowering shrubs, there are undersized crops suitable only for the decoration of the foreground of landscape groups and fairly high views.

3. Massiveness and transparency of the crown

In each group of shrubs and woody plants, they should differ in the massiveness, or "heaviness" of the crown. The dense silhouettes of conifers and other sheared or small-leaved plants go well with longline crops with a transparent, translucent crown and delicate, seemingly curly and lace crowns.

4. Build in a row

In no case should plants in the mini-group be located on the same line. Usually they are placed in two rows or on three lines, while the silhouette of the plant in the foreground should not overlap more than 30% of the crown or its projection of a tree or bush on the back line. Two plants are placed diagonally, three - a triangle with one short side, four plants - also a triangle, along one side of which there are three elements.

Trees and shrubs in the design.

Star candidates for landscape groups

Hydrangeas and rhododendrons (both deciduous and evergreen varieties) are among the best low shrubs with spectacular flowering, which add luxurious bloom to the extraordinary density and effect of the crown. The combination of hydrangeas and rhododendrons is considered the golden classic of landscape design. The colorful parade of rhododendrons passes the baton to the massive caps of hydrangeas, which do not lose their attractiveness even after drying out and serve as a decoration of the autumn garden. In the foreground, blooming shrubs in mini-groups can also be planted with Kerria, Spirea, Action and Weigela.

Mid-sized stars of structuring landscape groups - viburnum, expressive and lush Chinese dogwood Coase and decorative cherries. Among the latter, special attention is drawn to the small-sawn cherries of the so-called "hanging" varieties, which form amazingly landscape cascades and differ in abundant flowering like foam. They all look very picturesque and are able to cope with the role of a soloist, but they acquire a special grace when landing in groups. A great alternative is mock up, lilac, elderberry and honeysuckle.

As for shrubs and tree trees with a focus on foliage, it is much easier to decide on them. The variety of coniferous and winter-green classical cultures is so great that a suitable candidate for a role in a landscape group can be found literally for any garden. Junipers, holly, cypress, laurel cherry, yew berry - favorites of modern design. They have many bright and unusual in color varieties. But the greatest range of crown colors is offered by classical landscape decorative foliage cultures, in particular, magnificent maples from fan-leaved and holly to Shirasawa. Deserve the widest application and euonymus Japanese, privet oval-leaved, catalpa bignonium.

Trees and shrubs in the design of the garden.

Royal combinations of shrubs and woody

The most famous "win-win" options for landscape groups include:

  • a composition of bignonide-shaped catalpa growing in the background and controversial doeren with tree-like hydrangea and dwarf spruce or creeping juniper located on the first line;
  • a combination of flowering rhododendron with tree hydrangea and sheared pyramidal yew;
  • a group of finely sawn cherries, fan maple and euonymus;
  • a combination of fan maple with rhododendron and Hungarian lilac;
  • a combination of Shirasawa maple and fan with rhododendron;
  • composition of creeping juniper, privet and decorative viburnum;
  • a group of mock and derek controversial with a Japanese euonymus;
  • a combination of hydrangea, decorative viburnum and laurel cherries, etc.