Landscaping around trees: 10 stunning ways to bring them into your plot

Need some tips on landscaping around trees? Our ideas and advice will help you make the most of these leafy features

landscaping around trees: line of trees
(Image credit: Bowles & Wyer)

If you're thinking about the best way to approach landscaping around trees, then we're here to help. For whatever type of tree you have, or are planning to have, there's generally a way to make it work with your garden.

Whether it's underplanting them with plants that will thrive, illuminating them with stunning uplighting, using them to create a chic divide, or providing shade for a seating area, trees are gorgeous to look at as well as surprisingly functional. When it comes to landscaping ideas, they're definitely not one to overlook.

So, for lots of landscaping around trees advice and ideas, look no further. We've rounded up some of our favorite ways to make your trees work in harmony with your plot – just keep scrolling to find out more.

10 landscaping around trees ideas

1. Add a tropical twist to your landscaping

landscaping around trees: tree fern and decking

Use exotic trees to divide a modern plot

(Image credit: Alisdair Mcintosh/Future)

These textural tree ferns, underplanted with wispy grasses and structural sedum, are perfect for adding a touch of tropical to this modern plot. Plus, the greenery provides a soft contrast to the U-shaped surface of paving and decking, and helps to divide the plot into two distinct seating areas.

Patterned cushions and pared-back furniture add to the contemporary vibe. Love the look? Try our tropical garden ideas.

2. Shelter a seating spot

landscaping around trees: ornamental tree over bistro set

Pair soft landscaping around trees with a pretty bistro set

(Image credit: Simon Scarboro/Future)

The best flowering trees will always make a wonderful addition to a plot. Try crab apples for their show-stopping, vivid pink tones. 

Placing one of the best bistro sets beneath is a lovely way to make the most of the scene. The soothing green hue of this design allows it to blend into the surrounding foliage, letting the tree take centre stage. 

Let the grass grow wild beneath, as shown here, for a natural look. Plus, it saves you from mowing right up to the tree's trunk, which can damage it.

3. Make trees a feature of your lawn

landscaping around trees ideas: two sun loungers on patio with silver birch nearby

Silver birches look stunning, so make them a focal point for your plot

(Image credit: Douglas Gibb/Future)

The silvery, paper-like bark of a birch tree is a beauty to behold all year round. So, when it comes to landscaping around trees like these, there's no need to overcomplicate matters. 

They look lovely as an accent to a stretch of lawn. Dig a neat, shallow circle around the base to make maintenance and mulching simple. Birches also look spectacular when lit up: their bright branches reflect light beautifully, creating an ethereal glow. Be sure to add in an uplight or two for a dramatic look come nightfall (and take a look at our outdoor tree lighting ideas for more inspiration).

A nearby spot of paving in a complementary hue provides the perfect place to enjoy the soothing sight and rustle of leaves.

4. Use a row of trees to line your paths

landscaping around trees: trees lining pathway

(Image credit: Bowles & Wyer)

A row of small trees is a fabulous way to line your garden path ideas. Neat and orderly, this look is often seen in formal gardens, but it has a timeless appeal. 

It provides an elegant divide between a walkway and, as seen here, a lawn. Underplant with sweetly-fragranced lavender for a low-maintenance, country-garden feel. Weave vibrant bulbs into the beds for a touch of spring color.

When it comes to the paving for your path, go for a light-toned hue. The shadows from the leaves overhead will provide a gorgeous sense of movement all day long.

5. Create an urban jungle

landscaping around trees: urban trees in small courtyard

(Image credit: Paul Upward/Bowles & Wyer)

Pachysandra terminalis, otherwise known as Japanese spurge, provides a hardy ground cover all year round and will grow happily in dappled shade. It works wonderfully beneath trees, as seen in this urban oasis, and produces fragrant white flowers in spring. 

Magnolia grandiflora and tree ferns are also used here for a sumptuous, forest-like feel – you would never expect to be in the centre of London with a view like this! The scene provides a refreshingly green vista to be enjoyed from the paved seating space just out of shot.

Try our small garden ideas for more beautiful designs.

6. Use a central tree to help define zones

landscaping around trees: tropical style plot with corner seating

Let your tree take centre stage – another striking landscaping around trees idea

(Image credit: Future)

Surrounded by small stones (good for drainage) and drought-tolerant plants, this tree provides the central point to a stepping stone pathway. Because of its focal position, it helps to define a seating area, lawn, and shed space whilst offering a subtle screen between all. As a result, it plays a pinnacle part in the flow of the space, whilst its calming presence can be enjoyed from all angles.

We love this large corner sofa adorned with summery cushions too – perfect for entertaining friends. Take a look at our outdoor seating ideas for more designs.

7. Add a new level of interest to a courtyard

landscaping around trees: decked modern garden with tree

Build your deck to fit around your tree

(Image credit: Mint Images/Getty Images)

You may have seen trees being painted white before. This is more common in hot climates, as is an old technique for protecting bark against the sun's hot glare. To recreate the look, a diluted, water-based latex paint should be used – not an oil-based one. 

Here, it provides a striking focal point and contrasts well against the mahogany decking, which has been built to weave around the trunk giving it ample space to shine.

Luscious tufts of bright green leaves add a textural element to the look. Looking for more lovely courtyard ideas? Check out our feature.

8. Weave around a pergola

landscaping around trees: tree growing alongside pergola on paved terrace

This outdoor dining spot is sheltered in style

(Image credit: David Cleveland/Future)

Pergola ideas always make a lovely addition to a plot, but when they're combined with a leafy canopy, they're taken to a whole new level. Sure, you can use some of the best climbing plants, but you could also train trees up and overhead for a more structural look.

This gorgeous design adds an intimate vibe to the seating space below. And, we adore the hanging pendant light – a stylish way to create an indoor-outdoor feel.

9. Provide shade for a patio

landscaping around trees: tree for shade across patio

When thinking about landscaping around trees, consider how to make the most of the shade

(Image credit: Jonathan Gooch/Future)

Depending on how the sun hits your garden, trees can provide a good dose of dappled shade. This makes them ideal for providing a natural shelter for patios. 

So, to enjoy dining alfresco without needing to squint from the sun, plan your paving or decking to be nearby a tree. What's more, the soothing green canopy will make your gatherings feel more atmospheric.

Don't forget to check out our patio ideas if you're looking for more ways to elevate your garden.

10. Make trees a part of your flowerbeds

landscaping around trees: tree with hanging lanterns

An established tree can work well within your garden's border

(Image credit: Carl Hodgson/Future)

It's often a shame to cut down a large, established tree. So instead, make your landscaping ideas work with it. Here, a gorgeous apple tree nestles into a billowing border, whilst the lawn curves organically to suit. There are a good few plants that will happily grow in its shadow – take a look at our shade garden ideas for inspiration.

Due to the aspect of the plot, the grass still receives enough sun to thrive. Hang lanterns from the overarching branches for an enchanting look when dusk falls – LED candles have all the benefits of real ones without the safety hazards.

How do you landscape around a tree?

landscaping around trees advice: tree with surrounding short hedge on lawn

Try using a circle of clipped hedging for an orderly approach to landscaping around trees

(Image credit: Mark Bolton Photography/Future)

By now, you've hopefully found some landscaping around trees ideas that you love. However, for an extra slice of expert advice, CEO of Bowles & Wyer and leading garden designer John Wyer shares his tips, especially when it comes to planting...

'Landscaping around trees can be difficult as it is often dry and shady. Have a good splash of color from bulbs and early season perennials that do their thing before the leaves are on the trees – hellebores are good for this,' he says. Find out how to grow hellebores in our guide. 

'Ferns, ivy and other evergreen groundcover such as periwinkle and pachysandra are also good,' John continues. 'Liriopes give a late season cheer-up and are super tolerant of low light and dryness.'

John also comments on how to add extra visual interest beneath your trees: 'Avoid large shrubs, but do consider feature pots or sculptures – especially those that will look good if they get a bit mossy.'

Is it OK to put rocks around trees?

Yes, it's perfectly fine to position rocks around trees – it creates a natural effect that can mirror the natural landscape. 'Mossy rocks or small boulders can add a great sense of drama in these shady spaces where you sometimes have shafts of sunlight penetrating,' says John Wyer of Bowles & Wyer. However, avoid anything that looks like a 'twee' rockery, he warns.

To keep yours looking current, head over to our small rock garden ideas.

Holly Crossley
Acting Deputy Editor

The garden was always a big part of Holly's life growing up, as was the surrounding New Forest where she lived. Her appreciation for the great outdoors has only grown since then. She's been an allotment keeper, a professional gardener, and a botanical illustrator – plants are her passion.