How to Add Landscaping Under Trees Where Grass Won't Grow - 7 Solutions

August 30, 2023

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Can you add landscaping under trees where grass won’t grow? The good news is that there are many solutions property owners might try. With the right landscaping option, you can enjoy a stunning space no matter its sun exposure.

Ideas for landscaping under trees where grass won’t grow include:

  1. Mulched beds.
  2. Plants that love shade include ferns, impatiens, and bleeding hearts.
  3. Ground cover like lamium.
  4. Natural stone or pavers.
  5. Ornamental items or hardscaping.
  6. Boulders or rocks.
  7. Herb gardens.

Any of these ideas are sure to work well on your property. Also, knowing a bit more about them and why they’re such good choices can help you choose the right one! Additionally, a landscaping installation contractor can advise on good options for your property. In turn, you can finally enjoy a focal point even under a tree and where grass struggles to grow.

add landscaping under trees where grass won’t grow

7 Ideas for Landscaping Under Trees Where Grass Won't Grow

Landscaping under trees where grass won't grow can be a creative and visually appealing project. Check out these ideas and more in greater detail:

  1. Create mulched beds around the base of the trees. Use organic mulch like wood chips, shredded bark, or leaves. Mulch not only suppresses weed growth but also retains moisture for the tree roots.
  2. Choose shade-tolerant plants that can thrive without direct sunlight. Some options include hostas, ferns, astilbes, impatiens, and bleeding hearts.
  3. Opt for ground cover plants that spread and fill in the area. Ground covers like vinca, ajuga, pachysandra, and lamium are great choices for shaded areas.
  4. Create a pathway or a small patio area using natural stone or pavers. This can provide a clean and functional space while reducing the need for grass.
  5. Add a decorative focal point such as a small statue, bird bath, or ornamental bench. This can add visual interest to the area and draw attention away from the lack of grass.
  6. Incorporate large boulders and rocks into the landscape. These can serve as natural focal points and complement the tree's surroundings.
  7. If the tree's canopy allows some sunlight to filter through, consider creating a small herb garden. Herbs like mint, chives, and parsley can do well in partial shade.

When making your decision, remember to select native plants that will thrive under the tree's canopy. Native plants typically require less maintenance and water. Remember to consider the soil type, moisture levels, and the amount of shade when selecting plants and materials. Combining several of these ideas can help you create a visually pleasing and functional landscape under your trees.

How Do You Landscape Under a Tree?

Landscaping under a tree requires careful planning and consideration of the tree's health. You also need to consider existing conditions such as soil type and your preferences for your property’s appearance. Consider a more detailed, step-by-step guide to help you landscape under a tree:

  • Ensure that the landscaping won't harm the tree's roots or health.
  • Understand the amount of shade the tree provides, as this will influence your plant choices.
  • Remove any existing grass, weeds, or debris from the area.
  • Gently remove any surface roots that might interfere with your landscaping.
  • Test the soil. Check the soil pH, drainage, and nutrient levels. Amend the soil, if necessary, based on the plants you intend to use.
  • Add organic matter. Incorporate compost or well-rotted manure to improve soil structure and fertility.
  • Choose plants that thrive in the level of shade the tree provides.
  • Place taller plants towards the back and shorter ones towards the front to create depth.
  • Incorporate ground covers, shrubs, perennials, and possibly even small trees to create a diverse and visually appealing landscape.
  • Mark out the bed edges. Use a hose or spray paint to outline the shape of the landscaping beds.
  • Use edging materials like bricks, stones, or metal edging to define the beds and prevent grass and weeds from encroaching.
  • Dig holes that are slightly larger than the root balls of your plants.
  • Position your plants in the beds according to your design.
  • Ensure that plants are planted at the same depth they were in their nursery containers.
  • Water the newly planted area thoroughly to settle the soil and help plants establish their root systems.

Remember that each tree and location is unique. In turn, your approach to landscaping under a tree will depend on the specific conditions of your site and your personal preferences.

landscaping edges

How Do You Grow Grass In a Yard With Trees?

Growing grass in a yard with trees can be a bit challenging. Shade, competition for nutrients, and root systems can choke grass growth. However, with proper care and consideration, you can establish a healthy grass cover under trees. Check out some helpful tips on how to grow grass in a tree-filled yard:

  • Identify the level of shade each tree provides. Different grass varieties have varying shade tolerance. Choose grass types that are suited to the amount of sunlight the area receives.
  • Test the soil. Check the pH and nutrient levels and adjust them as needed. Also, aerating the soil helps improve water penetration and root growth.
  • Fall is the best time for seeding as the soil is warm, and there's less competition from weeds.
  • Lightly rake the soil after seeding to cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil.
  • Keep the soil consistently moist until the grass establishes. Water lightly and frequently to prevent the seeds from drying out. Once the grass is established, water deeply and infrequently to encourage deep root growth.
  • Apply a starter fertilizer to provide nutrients for initial growth.
  • Wait until the grass is about 3 inches tall before the first mow.
  • Set the mower blade to a higher setting to shade the soil and retain moisture. Never remove more than one-third of the grass height at a time.

Remember that growing grass under trees may take time and effort. Be patient and persistent in your care routines. Keep an eye on the grass as it grows, especially right after seeding. You can then adjust your mowing, watering, and fertilizing schedule accordingly.

A Word From Our Landscaping Crew

Denver Landscaping and Design is happy to explain about landscaping under trees where grass won’t grow. If you’re near the city and are looking for expert services, call our Denver landscaping contractors. We offer design, installation, and maintenance services. For more information, call us today!


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