Often in my designs, I will use standard form trees and create forest gardens by combining groups of these with their attendant guild planting. I tend to favour more naturalistic, organic style in most of my designs. But we can also sometimes manipulate nature to a greater degree while still working with nature to meet our needs.
Sometimes spaces require trees to be trained, and that is what I wanted to draw attention to with this case study. The image above is part of a design for an outdoors cafe area for an arid Mediterranean climate. The goal was to create a shaded area surrounded by lush green growth where people could enjoy dining outdoors.
What I wanted to draw attention to in this design is how trees can potentially be trained over a pergola structure. In this study, lemon trees are used, and the lemons will hang down into the space below and provide decorative appeal as well as an edible yield.
Drip irrigation supplies water from a supplemented rainwater harvesting system to raised beds around the two large pergola structures, and the lemons will be underplanted with lavender, rosemary, and a wide range of other Mediterranean herbs and flowers.
Of course, this is just a portion of the information included in this particular design. But I hope this brief example serves to illustrate how we can potentially maximise canopy cover by training trees to enhance a human environment. But also why training and other more intensive management does not need to mean that we forget to look holistically at an ecosystem, and plant for wildlife as well as ourselves.
If you would like more information about this design, or would like to discuss something similar for your own property, please do get in touch to discuss your needs and wishes.