Unique trees that will transform your garden
To get some real stand-out add eye-catching tree shapes for function and fabulous form
They say if you only plant one thing, make it a tree, and you can really pep up your plot by planting one now. Here we’ve given you some ideas on some naturally nifty tree shapes, plus some manmade clipping tips. Adding a tree is a big decision to make, so always consider where, why, how and what you’re planting.
How to choose the right tree for your plot
Consider your garden carefully and decide on the perfect spot for your new tree – is there a gap in your canopy planting? Are you looking to add screening, height or maturity to your scheme?
Is it a tight spot or an open area? Would the neighbours mind if you grew a tall tree? Consider dwarf or slow-growing varieties, or large shrubs if you have a small garden.
Exposed areas could mean your trees succumb to frost so only pick the hardiest for these spots. If you live in a perennially frosty area of the country, some more tender, deciduous trees, with their newly emerging leaves in early spring, can come a cropper in exposed spots. Evergreens may be the answer.
Evergreens have fabulous shape, are low maintenance, look great in winter, screen well and create permanent shade, but deciduous trees can tend to have much of the flower, berry and leaf colour that brings life to a garden – and you can plant early-spring bulbs at their feet.
If you’re by the coast, your plot may need tough trees that cope with salts and winds, though it’s often milder so you have a wider choice of more tender trees.
Do you have wet, dry, clay, sandy or acidic soil? Choose an all-rounder or one that will thrive specifically in your conditions.
Think of its ornamental value. Would you like pink or white flowers, fantastic leaf shape or colour, or beautiful bark in winter?
What are the benefits of trees?
Apart from their beauty and stature, trees have many environmental plus points – here are just a few...
Trees reduce soil erosion, anchoring the ground, and reduce flooding and water run-off.
Trees absorb pollution and CO2, give important shady areas and keep cities cool.
Native trees increase resilience and reduce the spread of pests and diseases.
Trees provide connective highways to birds and other wildlife so they can travel.
Trees provide vital food and shelter for all kinds of wildlife, and promote biodiversity.
Catalpa, or Indian bean trees, lend themselves to umbrella shapes...
Consider year-round bark colour, like this striking eucalyptus
... and have fabulous white flowers to boot!