LAY­ER­ING LESSONS

Country Gardens - - Garden Know-how -

We tend to think of trees and shrubs in lay­ers of only green, but by tak­ing into ac­count their col­or­ful char­ac­ter­is­tics, the view can change dra­mat­i­cally over all four sea­sons. Fall tends to bring out the most drama in a land­scape.

1. CANOPY LAYER

Think of the tall trees— your own or from a neigh­bor­ing prop­erty—as the back­drop for your yard or gar­den, and layer on the color. In this de­sign, the dark bronze-to-bur­gundy leaves of Fa­gus syl­vat­ica ‘River­sii’ set off the bright red fo­liage of Ja­panese stew­artia (Stew­artia pseu­do­camel­lia).

2. EVER­GREEN LAYER Ever­green trees and shrubs may not change color very much, but com­bin­ing them with plants that do gives the gar­den struc­ture and year-round per­ma­nence. Tall or short, dense or loose, they can be­come ei­ther back­ground color or ac­cents in the gar­den.

3. SHRUB LAYER

Shrubs with spring or sum­mer flow­ers and at­trac­tive fo­liage pro­vide the great­est range of color and tex­ture choices in land­scape plant­ings with the least amount of main­te­nance. Read plant la­bels and make sure that ma­ture height and width are proper for your avail­able space, and you’ll prune less of­ten.

4. HER­BA­CEOUS LAYER Peren­nial and an­nual plants have a place among woody plants, pro­vid­ing soft­ness and con­nec­tion to the ground and nearby struc­tures. Blend heights, tex­tures, and col­ors at this level, just as you would with the taller trees and shrubs at the back of the plant­ing.

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