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  • The ability to create deep planting areas adjacent to a lawn fills space with a variety of plant heights and shapes.
  • Deep borders often flank main axis ways such as this wide walk that terminates in this large water feature.

Tiered planting allows for various sized shrubs to be fully visible and fill in large spaces.

A front view of the layered planting technique.

A good planting designer loves to work with large yards because there is room to use the most colorful species. With the increase of small space homesites, we've forgotten the outstanding contributions that accent trees and large bold shrubs make to the beauty of a garden. A large lot allows planting beds at a depth necessary to provide an opportunity to plant in layers.

Layering is an old idea that drove early 20th century gardens when the landscape was created almost exclusively with plants. The idea is to arrange the plants in three layers. The famous English perennial borders were built on these ideas, but restricted to perennials. Tiered planting today uses trees and very large shrubs at the back, shrubs and bold grasses in the middle, and in front dwarf shrubs and large perennials. This stepped arrangement of heights not only allows every plant to be fully visible, they all receive optimal exposure.

Accent Trees
View the top 10 trees for adding bold beauty in a landscape.

Bold Shrubs
View the top 10 shrubs that can add dramatic color.

The English border designer had one goal in mind - having part of the planting in bloom every month of the growing season. When this concept applies to tier planting, you will enjoy color all year long. Even in winter there is red twig dogwood or silvery dormant grasses to carry this space. When the planting plan is sensitive to what each plant does in its best season, your designer can give you something that is fabulous year around. Beware that some designers are more plant savvy than others. To create really beautiful plantings you need a landscaper with a strong grasp of locally hardy trees and shrubs.

Dividing large yards into outdoor rooms
Exploiting long range view potential in big backyards

Landscaping Network

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