A woodland garden provides your landscape with a dynamic edge and allows you to make the most of the trees in your garden. It also offers a place to relax and unwind, surrounded by towering trees and lush greenery that can eclipse the everyday hustle and bustle.
The garden resembles a small forest that grows naturally and requires little maintenance. However, you have to plan the planting process meticulously to mimic the stunning wildness of a forest. So, if you want to create your woodland garden, here are some tips!
1. Design the Garden
A woodland garden consists of trees that form the overhead canopy and plants and shrubs forming the ground cover. The first step is to take cues from your surroundings and opt for trees and plants native to your region. Most often, woodlands have nutrient-rich soil from the natural mulch and decomposition of leaves, which can support a variety of plant species. Thus, decide on the plants you want to include before digging the site.
Choose Your Canopy
Trees are the backbone of a woodland garden. If you have a plot covered with trees, it creates the perfect basis for your garden. You can install trees with wide, light canopies that allow the sun to filter through such as silver birch, dogwood, oak, and maple trees.
Opt for a mixture of evergreen and deciduous trees to add diversity to your garden. The deciduous trees enhance the beauty of your garden so you can enjoy the changing colors with the season. As a bonus the falling leaves provide nutrients to your forest floor as they decays so there’s less raking to do when fall comes around.
Shrubs form the second layer of your woodland garden. Choose shrubs that can cope in semi-shade and flourish in your region. They add complexity to your garden and provide food and shelter to the birds and small animals.
Create a Ground Cover
The ground layer comprises perennials, ferns, wild grasses, herbaceous plants, and bulbs. Like the shrubs, the plants you choose should survive in shaded regions and grow in your area’s soil conditions and moisture levels. You can ensure a spectacular woodland garden throughout the year by carefully selecting the plants that thrive in lower lights.
Some great ground covers to consider include bunchberry and yellow archangel.
2. Prepare the Site
Once you have a general idea of the plants you want and their placement in the garden, it’s time to prepare your site. Create your woodland garden away from any buildings, as the horizontal spread of the tree roots can affect the structures.
Clear the designated area by removing trash, fallen branches, and leaf litter. Dig out the weeds and other invasive species to give your new plants a fighting chance. Make sure to remove the roots as well to reduce the chances of regrowth.
Prepare the soil by adding compost before planting and mulch after planting to maximize nutrients and moisture retention. You can also lay a footpath to move through the garden during planting and for casual strolls once you finish the garden.
3. Plant the Garden
Since you have already selected your plants, all you have to do is start planting. Begin by installing your trees first and keep the surrounding soil clear while they establish. Introduce the shrubs and ground cover, leaving room for them to grow. However, space the plants to create a continuous cover.
Creating a diverse plant community strengthens it against invasive plants, diseases, and and supports the local wildlife and pollinators. In addition, the intricate shapes of different leaves mingling with the vibrant shades of green create a stunning tapestry.
4. Add Finishing Touches
Create a small sitting area or place a bench in your woodland garden to provide a space to cool down on hot summer days, soak in the greenery, and marvel at your hard work. You can also install nest boxes, a bee hotel, water sources, and bird baths. These will attract native birds and bees and allow you to enjoy the chirping and chittering usually heard in forests.
5. Maintain Your Garden Frequently
Generally, woodland gardens are low-maintenance and self-sufficient, as the leaf litter and rotting wood provide nutrients to the soil. Since most of the plants you choose are local, the natural rain cycle should irrigate the garden sufficiently. However, new plants may require additional watering in the initial years to establish.
Moreover, add organic mulch every year to maintain the soil richness. You can collect the fallen leaves in autumn and store them in a plastic sack, pierced for ventilation, for about a year to create mulch yourself.
Depending on the species, the plants and shrubs will also require occasional pruning to promote growth and flowering. Finally, cut the stems of trees that can grow into thick canopies to allow the light to filter through the leaves.
Enjoy Your Personal Wooded Sanctuary!
Woodland gardens are a great way to utilize the trees in your backyard or create your little forest. It also encourages sustainable landscaping and allows different plants to benefit from each other. Overall, from the planning to the execution and the results, the experience the intensely satisfying and fulfilling.
Share your thoughts, comments, and questions on woodland gardens below!