8 Tips For Landscaping Around Tree’s Like A Professional

landscaping around a tree with mulch and stairs

Do you ever find yourself admiring a beautifully landscaped yard, only to notice that the area around the trees seems neglected or forgotten? Trees are an essential part of any landscape, providing shade, beauty, and even increasing property values. But landscaping around trees can be a challenge. Worry not! In this blog post, we’ll share 8 tips to help you landscape around trees like a professional, ensuring a stunning and cohesive outdoor space.

Short Summary

  • Choose plants that match the existing environment and complement each other.
  • Protect tree roots with proper irrigation, avoiding compaction, and using root barriers.
  • Incorporate hardscaping elements such as pathways, seating areas & garden borders. Add visual interest with sculptures & wind chimes, use mulching techniques to promote health of trees, incorporate lighting for ambiance & safety. Practice regular maintenance activities like pruning & fertilizing.

1. Choosing the Right Plants

When landscaping around trees, it’s crucial to select the right plants to ensure they’ll thrive in their environment. The plants should not only tolerate the sunlight conditions but also coexist harmoniously with the tree roots. Choosing the right plants can make all the difference in creating a visually appealing and healthy landscape.

When selecting plants, consider their size, shape, and color. Make sure they are compatible with your computer.

Shade-Loving Plants

One way to enhance the area beneath a tree canopy, especially near the tree’s drip line, is by incorporating shade-loving plants, which thrive in the dappled sunlight that filters through the branches. These plants can add a touch of color and texture to your landscape, creating a lush, inviting shade garden.

Examples of shade-loving plants include lily of the valley and coral bells, which can be planted under deciduous trees to create a visually appealing ground cover.

Sun-Tolerant Plants

If you have a large tree that doesn’t cast a dense shade, consider adding sun-tolerant plants to your landscape. These plants can withstand direct sunlight, allowing them to flourish in areas farther from the tree trunk. By strategically placing sun-tolerant plants in well-lit areas, you can create a beautiful and functional outdoor space that embraces the sunlight.

Some examples of sun-tolerant plants include tomatoes, peppers, and sago palms.

Complementary Plant Species

In addition to considering sunlight conditions and tree roots, it’s essential to select plants that complement each other and enhance the overall aesthetic of your landscape. Complementary plant species work harmoniously together and can be planted in a raised bed around trees.

Small stones or bricks can be used as edging materials to create an attractive and well-defined planting area.

2. Protecting Tree Roots

To ensure the health of your trees, it’s critical to protect their roots, including the tree’s roots. Tree roots are responsible for absorbing water and nutrients, and if they’re damaged or compromised, such as exposed roots, the tree’s health can suffer. One way to protect these vital roots is by taking care of the tree’s trunk, which serves as a strong support for the entire tree and its roots.

In this section, we’ll discuss three essential techniques for protecting tree roots: avoiding compaction, ensuring proper irrigation, and using root barriers.

Avoiding Compaction

Compaction occurs when the soil around tree roots becomes densely packed, making it difficult for the tree to absorb water and nutrients. This can be caused by heavy foot traffic, construction, or even mowing too close to the tree.

To avoid compaction, you can use a garden fork or spade to loosen the soil around the tree and create air pockets. This will help maintain proper nutrient and water absorption for the tree roots.

Proper Irrigation

Tree roots require adequate water to remain healthy and hydrated. To ensure proper irrigation, it’s essential to water deeply and infrequently, allowing the water to reach the roots of the tree.

Monitoring irrigation methods, such as assessing soil moisture levels and utilizing a rain gauge, can help you provide the right amount of water to your trees, preventing issues like root rot and disease.

Root Barriers

Root barriers are physical barriers installed around a tree’s roots to protect them from damage. These barriers can prevent compaction, protect the tree from mower blades, and even help prevent the tree from lifting structures. Some examples of suitable root barriers for landscaping include CuTex, DeepRoot Barrier with vertical ribs, and Dual Purpose Root and Water Barrier rolls.

Installing root barriers to a depth of at least 18 inches and arranging them in a circular formation around the tree will effectively protect the roots from harm.

landscaping around trees with a fire pit

3. Creative Hardscaping Ideas

Incorporating creative hardscaping ideas can further enhance the landscape around trees. Hardscaping elements, such as pathways, seating areas, and garden borders, not only add visual interest to your outdoor space, but also serve functional purposes.

In this section, we’ll discuss some hardscaping ideas that will take your tree landscaping to the next level.


Adding pathways around trees creates an inviting and accessible landscape, guiding visitors through your outdoor space. Pathways can be constructed from various materials, such as gravel, brick, or stone, and can be designed to complement the overall landscape design.

When installing a pathway around trees, ensure that it doesn’t damage the tree roots or create tripping hazards.

Seating Areas

Incorporating seating areas under trees provides a relaxing spot to enjoy the shaded space. You can create a park setting with a bench and flowers, build a patio in the shade, or construct a retaining wall for a secluded seating area. These seating areas can be made from a variety of materials, including wood, stone, and concrete, to suit your landscape design.

No matter what type of seating area you choose, it will be a great addition to your home.

Garden Borders

Garden borders, such as raised garden beds, can be used to define the landscape and protect tree roots from damage. They can be constructed from a range of materials, such as wood, stone, or metal, and can be designed to complement the overall landscape.

Garden borders help maintain a neat and orderly finish, enhancing the visual appeal of your outdoor space.

4. Adding Visual Interest with Garden Art

In addition to plants and hardscaping elements, garden art can also play a significant role in enhancing the landscape around trees. Artistic pieces such as sculptures, birdhouses, and wind chimes can add character and charm to your outdoor space while providing additional focal points for visual interest.

In this section, we’ll explore various garden art ideas to elevate your tree landscaping.


Incorporating sculptures into your landscape can create striking focal points and add a touch of sophistication. Sculptures can be made from various materials, such as metal, stone, or wood, and can range in size and style to suit your landscape design.

Carefully placed sculptures can draw attention to particular tree features or help balance the overall aesthetic of your outdoor space.

Birdhouses and Feeders

Birdhouses and feeders are not only functional in attracting wildlife to your garden, but also add a touch of whimsy to your landscape. Placing birdhouses and feeders in trees or on tree trunks creates an inviting environment for birds and adds visual interest to the area around trees.

Choose birdhouses and feeders that complement the style of your landscape and ensure they are properly maintained for the health of the birds.

Wind Chimes and Mobiles

Wind chimes and mobiles can create a soothing atmosphere with their gentle sounds and movement. Hanging these decorative pieces from tree branches adds a whimsical touch to your landscape and provides a gentle, melodic backdrop for your outdoor space.

Choose wind chimes and mobiles made from materials that complement your landscape design and enjoy their calming effect as they sway in the breeze.

landscaping around a tree with mulch

5. Mulching Techniques for Tree Health

Proper mulching techniques are essential for maintaining tree health and protecting tree roots. Mulch serves multiple purposes, such as conserving moisture, regulating soil temperature, and suppressing weeds.

In this section, we’ll discuss the different types of mulch, the proper mulching depth, and the importance of maintaining mulch for optimal tree health.

Types of Mulch

Choosing the right type of mulch for your tree and landscape needs is crucial. Organic mulches, such as:

  • Wood chips
  • Bark nuggets
  • Composted leaves
  • Pine needles

They are ideal for landscaping around trees as they decompose and enrich the soil over time.

Inorganic mulches, such as gravel and stones, can also be used for their durability and weed suppression properties. Select a mulch that complements your landscape design and meets the needs of your trees.

Proper Mulching Depth

Ensuring proper mulching depth is essential to prevent damage to tree roots and trunk. An even layer of mulch 2 to 3 inches deep around the tree should be applied, extending outward to the tree’s drip line. Take care not to mounded mulch against the tree trunk. This could potentially lead to diseases, insect infestations, and strained/damaged roots.

A properly mulched tree will benefit from moisture retention, weed suppression, and temperature regulation.

Maintaining Mulch

Regular maintenance of mulch is necessary to keep it fresh and effective in protecting tree roots. Replenish mulch annually to maintain the desired depth and color, and ensure it is not heaped against the tree trunk.

Properly maintained mulch will provide a visually appealing ground cover while enhancing the health and longevity of your trees.

6. Incorporating Lighting Around Trees

Incorporating lighting around trees not only enhances the landscape’s ambiance, but also improves safety. Various lighting techniques, such as uplighting, pathway lighting, and ambient lighting, can be used to create a visually appealing and functional outdoor space.

In this section, we’ll explore different lighting options and their benefits for landscaping around trees.


Uplighting is a technique used to accentuate tree features and create dramatic effects. By placing lights at ground level and aiming them upward, you can highlight the tree’s unique shape, texture, or colors. Uplighting can be particularly effective for large trees or specimens with interesting bark or branching patterns, adding a stunning visual element to your landscape at night.

This technique can be used to create a dramatic effect and add a unique visual element to your project.

Pathway Lighting

Pathway lighting provides safety and guidance for visitors as they navigate your landscape. By illuminating pathways around trees, you can create clear walking routes and prevent tripping hazards.

Pathway lighting can be achieved with a variety of fixtures, such as solar-powered lights, low-voltage LED lights, or even decorative lanterns. Choose pathway lighting that complements your landscape design and ensures a safe and inviting outdoor space.

Ambient Lighting

Ambient lighting creates a warm and inviting atmosphere around trees, making your outdoor space more enjoyable during evening hours. This type of lighting can be achieved using string lights, lanterns, or even spotlights aimed at the tree canopy to create a soft, diffused glow. Incorporating ambient lighting around trees not only enhances the visual appeal of the landscape, but also creates a cozy and relaxing environment for you and your guests to enjoy.

professional landscaper pruning trees

7. Tree Care and Maintenance

Maintaining a healthy and attractive landscape around trees requires regular tree care and maintenance. In this section, we’ll discuss essential tree care practices, such as pruning, pest control, and fertilizing, to ensure the longevity and beauty of your trees.

Proper tree care and maintenance will not only enhance the overall tree health but also contribute to a stunning and cohesive outdoor space.


Regular pruning is crucial to promote healthy tree growth and maintain the tree’s shape. Pruning helps remove:

  • broken branches
  • dead branches
  • weak branches
  • heavily shaded branches

This improves the overall health of the tree. Depending on the species of tree and its growth rate, pruning should be done annually or every few years.

When pruning, use the appropriate tools and techniques to avoid damaging the tree or causing unnecessary stress.

Pest Control

Implementing pest control measures is essential to protect trees from harmful insects and diseases. Without adequate pest control, trees can become overrun with pests, leading to damage and even death.

Some effective pest control techniques include:

  • Proper pruning
  • Handpicking larger insects
  • Maintaining a neatly-maintained lawn
  • Consistently removing debris and fallen leaves

In some cases, chemical or biological treatments may be necessary to address specific pest infestations.


Fertilizing trees ensures they receive the necessary nutrients for optimal growth. Depending on the tree species and soil conditions, trees may require additional nutrients to thrive. Generally, trees should be fertilized in the fall when they are preparing for winter. Fertilizing in the spring may lead to excessive growth and make the tree more susceptible to pests and diseases.

Always test the soil pH and nutrient levels before fertilizing to ensure your tree receives the appropriate nutrients.

8. Plan for Future Growth

As trees grow and change, it’s essential to plan for future growth and adapt your landscape accordingly. In this section, we’ll discuss the importance of considering spacing and adapting the landscape over time to ensure it remains visually appealing and functional as your trees mature.

When planting trees, it’s important to consider the mature size of the mature tree and the space required for young trees to grow healthy.

Spacing Considerations

When designing your landscape, consider the mature size of trees and plants to ensure they have adequate space to grow. Overcrowding can lead to competition for resources, making it difficult for trees to thrive.

Additionally, proper spacing can prevent potential damage to buildings, hardscaping elements, and other plants as trees grow. By taking spacing into consideration, you can create a landscape that will remain attractive and functional as your trees mature.

Adapting Over Time

As trees grow and change, it’s essential to adapt your landscape to accommodate their evolving needs. This may involve adjusting hardscaping elements, such as paths or seating areas, to allow for tree growth. Additionally, you may need to modify planting schemes, such as relocating plants that were initially placed under the tree canopy but now require more sunlight.

By continually adapting your landscape to accommodate the changing needs of your trees, you can ensure a visually appealing and functional outdoor space for years to come.


In conclusion, landscaping around trees can be both visually appealing and beneficial to the health of your trees. By choosing the right plants, protecting tree roots, incorporating creative hardscaping ideas, adding visual interest with garden art, implementing proper mulching techniques, incorporating lighting, and maintaining regular tree care, you can create a stunning and cohesive outdoor space that showcases the beauty of your trees. As your trees grow and change, remember to plan for future growth and adapt your landscape accordingly. With these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to landscaping around trees like a professional. Happy gardening!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best edging for around a tree?

Timber gravel boards are the best edging option for established trees as they can easily accommodate roots with their curved shape and square slots.

They are also easy to install and provide a neat and tidy finish to any garden. They are available in a range of sizes and styles to suit any garden design.

They are also a great way to protect yourself.

Should you plant around a tree?

It may be tempting to plant around a tree, but it can actually cause the tree to suffocate due to shallow feeder roots being covered by soil. Therefore, it is best to avoid planting too close to trees.

How can I prevent soil compaction around tree roots?

To prevent soil compaction around tree roots, use a garden fork or spade to loosen the soil and create air pockets for improved nutrient and water absorption. This will help the tree absorb more nutrients and water, and will also help to reduce the compaction of the soil around the roots.

What types of mulch are suitable for landscaping around trees?

Organic materials such as wood chips, bark nuggets, composted leaves, pine needles, and shredded bark are the most suitable mulch for landscaping around trees.

Mulch helps to retain moisture in the soil, reduce weeds, and protect the tree from temperature extremes. It also adds organic matter to the soil, which helps to improve soil structure and fertility.

When selecting mulch for trees, it is important to choose mulch for trees.

How can I incorporate lighting around trees to enhance my landscape?

Utilize uplighting, pathway lighting, and ambient lighting to create an aesthetically pleasing and practical landscape around your trees. This can help to highlight the beauty of your trees and create a more inviting atmosphere for your guests.