Glorious Gardens, by Country Living | Andrea Jones / Garden Exposures Photo Library
Woodland garden designs attract and feed wildlife, celebrate nature in all of its haphazard splendor, and may require less maintenance than a more polished formal garden style.
Choosing the right ground cover filled with wildflowers, creating narrow paths through wilderness areas, and actively encouraging animals by creating habitats and setting up bird feeders are the first steps.
Reproducing the look, sounds, and atmosphere of a forest in your backyard can help ensure that your outdoor space is peaceful, relaxed, and full of bird songs.
Here are eight ways to create a woodland garden at home.
This feature is from Country Living’s Glorious Gardens special. ORDER ONLINE
1. Ground cover
Bulbs, shaded perennials, biennials and ferns form the carpet of your wooded garden. With the right soil conditions and the right light, the plants will self-seed until the area is covered with flowers in the spring, especially if you are growing native wildflowers such as bluebells, wood anemones. wood, primroses and foxgloves. Remove weeds and add large amounts of compost or leaf potting soil to impoverished soils before planting.
Read: 31 of the best evergreen garden plants and shrubs for shade
2. Modern forest
Rustic isn’t suitable for every garden, but the basics of forest gardening are the same in a more sophisticated setting and can turn a shady city garden from a problem into an asset. Use a small palette of greens or shades of a single color for planting ground cover. Neatly erected or cloud-pruned trees can form the canopy and topiary the understory. For features and harsh landscaping, use modern interpretations of traditional materials.
3. Gateways and borders
Weathered wood doors look more appropriate in a woodland setting – old ones can be found in salvage yards or you can get a new one in split oak that won’t take long to weather. For building boundaries, laid hedges, dry stone walls, and stacked logs are all suitably hardy. If your woodland garden is in a built-up area, use boundaries to create the impression of a fence; if it borders an open campaign, find a way to incorporate or honor some of the views.
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It is medium-sized growth and includes bushes and vines. In natural woods, this area is often colonized by brambles and honeysuckle. In cultivated woods, evergreen, flowering shrubs adapted to dappled shade (such as camellias and hydrangeas) can be grown alongside climbers trained to climb tree trunks. Rejuvenate existing scattered shrubs by cutting them hard, mulching and soaking them thoroughly.
When planting new shrubs, dig large holes, add compost and bone meal, and water well and regularly during the first summer. If you establish a small wooded patch under a single tree, there may not be space for shrubs, but include one or two climbers, planted at least three feet from the trunk.
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A woodland garden provides food, shelter and nesting places for many birds as well as beneficial insects. Encourage them to settle down by including trees and bushes with berries, setting up nesting boxes and bird feeders, and stacking logs for hibernating insects and small mammals. Grow weeds that you may not tolerate elsewhere in the garden – nettles for butterflies, ivy as a food source for birds and insects and, if there is room, a square of brambles.
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Whether you choose a simple plank bench or something more elaborate, wooden seats and tables will look very comfortable under a tree or in a clearing. If there are managed forests in your area, you may be able to source some locally made furniture. Think carefully about positioning – place tables and chairs where you can make the most of the dappled sunlight, for example, or enjoy the scent of a favorite plant.
SHOP GARDEN FURNITURE
7. Rustic retreats
Whether it’s a glorified shed or a luxurious hideaway, a woodland retreat works best when it subtly blends in with its surroundings. Use natural materials and protect the wood with environmentally friendly wood stains rather than paints. A colorful building can look quite cheerful in the summer among all the greenery, but can look inappropriate in the winter. A sod roof can greatly improve (and also insulate) a building, but it needs a fair amount of sunlight to thrive. To get the most out of your hideaway, position it to catch the sun’s rays.
When a woodland garden is large enough to walk around, it needs a path to keep ground cover plants from being trampled on. Keep the design fairly simple with bark or woody chippings, edged with logs to outline the route. If the path winds under trees, it is best to avoid stones, bricks or sleepers as they can become dangerously slippery, while gravel or stones look rather messy once the leaves start to fall. Whether your woodland garden is large or small, it is best to plant the first spring flowers near the path so you can admire them up close without getting wet and muddy feet.
Looking for inspiration for repotting? Country Living has launched beautiful cottage-style sheds and summer homes at Homebase – perfect for outdoor home offices. Available in Aurora Green and Thorpe Gray, they are perfect for any garden project. MORE INFORMATION
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