There is no doubt that trees are beautiful. Whether they have graceful weeping branches, delicate spring blossoms or bright autumn foliage, they are like an ever changing artwork.
But there is more to trees than just being pleasing to the eye. They can radically improve our homes and our lives.
There are 2 main ways that trees can reduce the temperature in and around your house. The first, which is the most obvious, is the shade they cast. A well placed tree can cast shade onto an outdoor dining area making the space usable even in the height of summer, walls that would otherwise absorb heat during the day to release at night or on windows which if the sun were to come through would heat up the house. And if you were to opt for deciduous tree, in winter, the bare branches will allow light through to bathe outdoor spaces and flood through windows to warm the indoors.
The second is through transpiration, the process of water moving into the atmosphere through the leaf, effectively making trees nature’s evaporative air conditioners. As the air moves through a trees canopy it is cooled which brings down the ambient temperature around a home.
Why hide from your neighbours when you can block them out? Having trees that block out or distract the eye from our surroundings gives us the full enjoyment of both outdoor and indoor spaces. With a good privacy strategy planting you will no longer need to have the blinds continuously drawn making the indoor spaces a much nicer place to be.
If you have a very tall building to block out or need some very immediate impact, consider pulling a few trees in from the boundary at key points. Due to perspective you will have a much more immediate impact from your trees and the eventual amount of area being blocked out will be much greater.
You can layer your privacy too. Many deciduous trees are fast growing and can have a broad spread. Combining this with an evergreen hedge underneath will mean you get maximum privacy in summer, but more light in winter.
Enclose and highlight:
There is something that all well designed gardens have in common: a sense of enclosure. It’s the hidden oasis factor, the secluded hideaway feeling. The aim is to have the feeling that we are enveloped by the garden and that in a way we are protected from the outside world. And while this can be achieved with built structure, mostly it is achieved with trees. To achieve a sense of enclosure you can us the following ratio: the vertical edge of a space should be at least one-third the length of the horizontal space. That is, for every 3m in length the garden is (not just the bed but the whole garden), it should have at least 1m in height. In small spaces you can achieve this with shrubs but trees are a necessity in most gardens to make sure visitors don’t feel exposed.
In large, sprawling gardens, trees don’t only enclose us but break up the surrounding views, creating frames around vistas which makes it easier for visitors to appreciate what lies beyond the garden.
The ways we can utilize trees should be as diverse as the variety of trees themselves. They bring grandure to a garden and as you can see, many functional elements as well.