One of the principles of landscaping design is providing a focal point. This focal point takes center stage in your landscaping and draws the eye to its environs and even your house. Designers typically landscape around the focal point to create a beautiful vista.
Trees are a common focal point because they're as useful as they are big and beautiful. Consider a Japanese maple as the centerpiece of your landscape design.
About the Japanese Maple
If you're planning on having a Japanese maple tree planted in your yard, you may want to know a bit about the tree first. You'll have your choice of many different cultivars. You'll want to choose the cultivar based on growing conditions and size. Talk to your landscaping experts about the available varieties to discover which will work best in your yard.
Japanese maples trees range from eight feet tall and wide to 25 feet or more. Though the growing conditions depend on the cultivar, they generally prefer well-drained soil and partial shade. Besides being an excellent source of shade, thanks to their wide and thick canopies, Japanese maples are best known for their showy fall foliage.
Groundcover Plants for Under the Maple
Because of the tree's wide and thick canopy, you'll have to take care how you landscape directly around the tree. Those plants will not get much, if any, sunlight. Therefore, you need to choose shade-loving plants.
Hosta is one of the favored plants for the shade. Most hosta thrive in partial shade very well and will also tolerate heavy shade, so these plants are ideal for the perimeter of the canopy. A particular point of popularity is hosta's leaves, which offer eye-catching combinations of colors, patterns, and shapes.
Lilyturf works well with Japanese maples, especially in hot, dry climates. Lilyturf is hardy in southern growing zones where the plant will grow even in the shade. Like Japanese maples, lilyturf prefers welldraining soil.
Attractive Plants for Around the Maple
You want to choose complementary plants that thrive in the same conditions to plant around the maple. Even if you choose one of the dwarf varieties of Japanese maple, you're going to end up with a tall tree.
To fill in some of the space between the canopy and groundcover, consider shrubs such as rhododendron, which is another plant that prefers dappled shade. Rhododendrons offer beautiful blooms in the spring, which makes a nice counter to the tree's fall foliage. Other plants that offer spring color in the shade include crocus, dwarf iris, and dog tooth violet.
If you want some summer color, consider planting a shrub as a counter to your maple. Most summer-color shrubs, such as summer wine ninebark, require full sun. However, you can consider partial shade varieties, such as smoke bush and Chinese buttonbush, for the perimeter of the canopy.
Hardscaping for Around the Maple
You'll almost certainly want to use your Japanese maple for shade. Therefore, at minimum, consider locating a comfortable bench or pair of chairs under the canopy. Work them into the landscape with targeted plantings around the furniture.
If you choose one of the bigger varieties of Japanese maple, consider locating it near the patio for shade. The canopy would be an ideal shade-giver for the dining area. You could even locate a bistro patio directly under the tree.
You might be worried that even the hardiest shade-loving groundcover won't thrive near the trunk of your tree. In that case, consider incorporating some decorative hardscaping in that space. That area is an ideal spot for pretty pea gravel. You can also install decorative stones and logs. For a more manicured look, consider yard décor such as garden antiques or olive jars.
Choose a gorgeous Japanese maple tree and add landscaping around it as a garden focal point. Ted's Trees, Ltd. can provide the knowledge, supplies, and services for this project. Contact us today.