I would like to have a couple of conifer groups in my garden like these:

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How to design them?

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    I know too little about landscaping to have an answer, but I think it is important to consider the spread of the plants when they will become mature. I have seen shrubs planted too close because they had enough space when they were young.
    – Alina
    Commented Dec 16, 2017 at 9:25

1 Answer 1


One group won't work to make this look. You would need at least 3 groupings of the same species...5 groupings using the same species but differing amounts of each species, some groups without one or two species.

I would chose 4 species; a couple that are tall and columnar, a couple that are globular and medium height and one or two that are low and spreading. No more. One group would have one of the tall species combined with 3 of the globular shape/medium height and one (using 3 or 5 specimens) of the low rambling type. The next group would have the same tall plant plus the other tall plant and 2 of the medium height globular plants and 3 of the low rambling.

In each group the majority of the plants are the same while adding others on the same list. No more species should be added. All plants on your 'pallet' should be of like needs. Same affinity for soil, moisture, sun and fertilizer.

Human minds are only able to deal with 3 different items at a time. To do more one needs to group, just like this design is doing. There are 5 or 6 elements to a composition; texture, color, rhythm, form...and a few more but here you are dealing with texture and rhythm while changing color AND form...ideally in any composition, the artist has to keep these elements the same while tweaking one maybe two (color, form...). One of these groups of conifers would not work but 4 or 5 groups of these conifers, differing colors and shapes, work because there are only 4 species used over and over just varying the numbers of each species or eliminating a specie or two. That is why this 'design' works in this instance.

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    Such energetic answer! I like the concept of 'pallete' with plants instead of colors, this is the first time I hear about that.
    – VividD
    Commented Dec 16, 2017 at 7:44
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    Landscape Architects have to know all of the sciences, have to understand the needs of plants, animals and humans. Form follows function. And that form will be beautiful. Tweak one tiny thread of the system and that tweak will affect the entire web. There are rules that ensure beauty out of doors as long as function needs are minded. I am glad that this door opened for you, VividD.
    – stormy
    Commented Dec 16, 2017 at 9:35

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