A woodland garden replicates a forest’s atmosphere, sounds, and tapestry, celebrating nature in all its glory. It’s also great to utilize the tree-filled part of your yard to offer you a place to unwind and relax. The best part is that the immersive garden is mostly low-maintenance, allowing nature to do most of the work.
Whether you have already started creating your garden or want a little nudge in the right direction, here are some design ideas for your woodland garden!
1. Choose Appropriate Trees
Trees are the basis of your woodland garden, and choosing the right ones can set the tone for the prosperity of your oasis. Since trees form the top garden layer, look for those with light canopies that allow light to filter through to the ground-level plants, such as silver birch, rowan, and malus trees. Planting varieties that are native to your area is also a great way to start.
In addition, crown-lift the trees to allow more sunlight to pass through the branches without having to rip up your lovely tree. Remove the lower branches to make your yard look well–maintained and groomed instead of an overgrown mess.
Another factor to consider when choosing trees is to keep a healthy balance between deciduous and evergreen trees. The former will provide your garden with mulch and nutrients as the leaves fall, while the latter will keep the garden visually appealing throughout the year.
2. Plant Different Shrubs
Just like trees, opt for evergreen and deciduous shrubs to enjoy interesting leaf shapes, textures, and colors. You can also add flowering shrubs to enhance the view further. Go for bloomers like rhododendrons, elderberry, Virginia sweetspire, and flame azalea.
Consider shrubs with different shades of foliage to add a different dimension to your garden. Some of the shrubs with colorful leaves include Japanese barberry, silver queen, and dog hobble.
3. Focus on the Forest Floor
Since the woodland ground receives partial, filtered light, you need to grow plants that can survive in low light. Fortunately, many flowering plants can survive in the shaded woodland. These vibrant plants include the Chinese ground orchid, wild geranium, Virginia bluebells, and snowdrops.
Add foliage and ground cover with shade-loving ferns, perfect for adorning the woodland ground. These include lady fern, Japanese-painted fern, holly fern, and southern maidenhair.
4. Go for Dense Diversity
Plant diversity ensures the community’s survival and protection against insect and disease attacks since many common pests target individual species. Moreover, placing the plants close together eliminates empty spaces susceptible to weed growth. You can also look into companion planting, to see which plants will naturally aid one another.
Finally, when you plant different plants, they have a healthy competition for resources instead of a well-established plant dominating a new growth.
5. Source Locally
One of the prerequisites of a lush, flourishing woodland garden is that it’s self-sufficient and low-maintenance is choosing plants native to your region. The local plants are adapted to your area’s growing conditions and used to sharing nutrients and water. Thus, you do not have to take extra measures, apart from watering the plants until they are established, to make them grow and survive.
Moreover, the native plants provide a habitat to the local wildlife, such as bees, birds, frogs, butterflies, and other small animals. The right plant selection can offer shelter and food to these tiny creatures, helping your garden’s ecosystem run efficiently.
6. Create a Sitting Space
The woodland garden is ideal for relaxing when the sun becomes unbearably hot. The shade from the trees and lush greenery can reduce the peak summer temperatures by around 2 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit, making the woodlands cooler than open areas.
Therefore, include a sitting space in the heart of your garden where you can escape from the heat and relax. Depending on your spare area, you can do an elaborate setup with tables and chairs for leisurely lunches or place a simple plank bench to the side.
Regardless, a place to sit down will allow you to appreciate your tiny forest with all the sounds, colors, and smells.
7. Lay a Path
If you have ample space, lay down a path through the garden. The meandering walkway will prevent you from stepping on your plants and guide you through the growth. Make sure to add a path that gives you access to all your plants for tending and grooming. Depending on your preference, you can use gravel, stepping stones, or bark chips.
8. Invite Birds and Bees
To make your woodland garden a haven for the birds and bees, install nest boxes and bee hotels that provide them with a place to breed and rest.
The best time to install the bird boxes is by February in the south and late March in the north when the breeding season begins. You can keep small nest boxes on metal poles or PVC pipes to make it difficult for the predators to climb.
You can also place bee hotels around the property to support their populations. These hotels are akin to birdhouses for insects, providing a nesting place for solitary bees and wasps.
An Oasis in the Middle of the Concrete Jungle
A woodland garden is an ingenious way to make the most of your small space by incorporating towering trees, flowering shrubs, and a stunning ground cover. It allows you to create biodiversity that celebrates the local flora and fauna and provides you with a relaxing retreat.
What is a must-have feature for your woodland garden? Share in the comments below!