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Complete Guide to Using Established Trees as a Landscaping Focal Point

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landscaped trees around a pool

If you have some well-established trees in your garden you may already have some great ideas about how you can turn it into a focal point – or maybe you really don’t know what to do and are wondering whether you should just cut it down.

You might be interested to know that using well-established trees as focal points has become an increasingly popular approach in modern landscaping. So before you do anything rash, or even if you are thinking about calling in an expert for a second opinion, take a few moments to learn about how you can enhance your garden by leveraging what’s already there as a focal point? Keep reading our guide to learn more from the tree experts at Treescience.

Why less is more when it comes to focal points

The key principle behind focal points is found by adopting a “less is more” approach. If you already have established trees in place, then it can be of benefit to reduce some of the clutter surrounding the tree, in order to direct the viewer’s gaze. By doing this, an impression of balance can be created, which in turn serves to enhance the overall presentation of the garden. Established trees can be used with great effect, as not only has it taken a substantial amount of time for them to form, but it’s also likely going to be more work for you to remove the tree than it is to create a sense of purpose and order by way of making it a focal point of the garden.

When it comes to focal points, you shouldn’t have too many different objects or plants that are crying out for attention. If you have many distinctive features, such as a bright door, large trees, fountains, or others, you’ll find that your eye is not naturally drawn to one or two points. The idea of creating a focal point is to create a sense of flow and something that immediately captures your attention.

This doesn’t mean other aspects of your garden will be overlooked, but by having a strong focal point, the viewer will be captivated first by it and then able to explore the other aspects of the garden, rather than being overwhelmed with stimulus and not knowing where to look. That’s why a “less is more” approach is key – but it’s not just less of everything – it’s really just about less conflict and noise.

The benefits of established trees

Apart from being a lot of work to remove a large tree, there are many benefits that can be gained by rethinking the organisation of your garden. A large tree will help to moderate the temperature, will provide shade and privacy, protection from the wind, and will also help to clean the air. These are all benefits that only an established tree can bring, so it’s certainly worth considering if you can hold onto these functional benefits that established trees can bring to your garden, whilst also improving the aesthetic benefits.

The best way to prevent damage to your trees and property

So what should you do first? If you’re interested in keeping a well-established tree and making it into a focal point of your garden, then there are a few things you should try. Make sure that there is no risk of branches crashing down on top of anyone (or anything). For this, it’s best to get a professional to have a look and do an assessment and any necessary pruning. It’s a smart way to make sure you don’t have any problems later on.

How to think about focal points in your garden or landscape

It’s a good idea to think about the existing lines in your garden that your eyes naturally follow. If you are utilising an existing tree that you would like to serve as a focal point (or even a line of trees) you need to consider what other plants or objects are capturing your attention. It could even be worth making a sketch of how your gaze is directed in your landscape. You can visually divide your landscape or garden into sections, with the intention of reducing the number of areas that immediately capture attention.

You should be able to identify conflicting objects or arrangements that create conflict within the space. If you can eliminate some of these sources of conflict and bring more attention to only a few elements, the area will feel more balanced regardless of whether it is a symmetrical or asymmetrical design. You should also consider colour, texture, and other types of contrasting elements which if used effectively can help your trees to become the focal point of your garden.

Incorporate established trees into your entertaining areas

One way to incorporate established trees into your design is to use them as part of your entertainment areas. Perhaps you could build a deck around the tree, or even just set up outdoor furniture underneath them (another reason that a professional inspection is worthwhile) so that the trees become a really interesting and integrated part of your environment. Another alternative idea is to incorporate a treehouse or playground for the kids, but of course, this depends on the type of trees that you have on your property and your root map.

Add charm by providing a habitat for birds

Birds can really add charm to your outdoor areas, and providing shelter for wildlife in your garden is always a good idea. Established trees can be a really great habitat for them, so if you love seeing birds visiting your garden, why not place a few birdhouses for them to stay at?

Landscape around your established trees

There’s no better way to really bring out the beauty and charm of your existing established trees than by doing some landscaping around them. Going back to the drawing board and considering how to make the most of your established trees is the best way to really create strong focal points that are integrated not only with your entertaining areas, but also with garden paths, favourite plants, and other garden features.

Now that you have some great ideas to enhance your outdoor space, a great way to move forward is by getting an arboricultural assessment. By getting in touch, you’ll be able to get hands-on guidance, ensuring that your plans aren’t going to destroy the roots of the trees, that there won’t be any risk of falling limbs, ask about any necessary pruning amongst other enquiries. So get ready to make the most of your established trees and take advantage of all the benefits that they can offer!

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