Trees for the urban landscape

For some people, the thought of mass planting trees in a small garden space is inconceivable, however here at E-GA it is the use of plants that really encapsulates the essence of an E-GA garden.  The way that being enveloped in greenery and enjoying a true garden can elicit an emotional response.  The use of tree canopies is integral to this philosophy and it’s this approach which requires the use of the right tree for the right situation.

One of my favourite smaller growing species is the Dwarf Snow Gum – Eucalyptus pauciflora ‘Little Snowman’ (7x5m).  Many people are apprehensive of planting gums, and the mere mention of their presence in urban landscapes conjures up images of huge, scary looking limb droppers. Unfortunately, it’s this reputation which makes it difficult for designers to convince clients that there are suitable options.


Left to develop in a gnarled habit, the smooth cream-grey trunks can offset nicely amongst harder edged architectural elements.  This can add an organic and sculptural element to more ridged and contemporary layouts.


Eucalyptus mannifera ‘Little Spotty’ – Dwarf Brittle Gum has a similar habit with the sculptural contorted limbs, however growing to a maximum height of 8 metres it is perhaps a more suitable variety in smaller suburban gardens.


When planted close together they will extend and grow in a more upright manner.  With this in mind, it makes for a great choice in narrow beds along boundaries where height is required to provide screening quickly.  This positioning also allows for the boundary planting to be visible through the tall trunks.  Their clear slender trunks provide interest with mottled bark ranging from pink and brown tones through to cream and greys.


Banksia integrifolia – Coastal Banksia are another favourite native tree.  They can be used as a small evergreen tree or mass planted in clusters to provide strategic screening.  They feel at home planted amongst strict indigenous plantings or in more gardenesque landscapes.


The brown tones of Banksias do not universally appeal, however when planted alongside exotic species the bold greens of these exotics can help to counteract the browns.  Ruscus hypoglossumMackaya bella and Plectranthus ecklonii are all good options with the ability to tolerate the dry shade when planted beneath Banksias.


Melia azedarach – White Cedar is one of the few deciduous trees native to Australia.  It is essentially a tropical dry season deciduous tree.  Melias put on a beautiful Autumn display of yellow foliage with lilac coloured flowers.  These flowers appear during autumn and proceed to lime coloured drupes which are held on the plant into spring as they begin to darken.


We use the Melia as a singular shade tree in medium to large gardens, however when planted en masse the canopies can also combine to provide dense screening along street frontages.


Hymenosporum flavum – Native Frangipani have dark green glossy leaves with white flowers that mature to butter yellow, then burnt orange.  Slightly scented and bird attracting, these natives are a nice addition in a small garden space.  When mass planted the Hymenosporum offers screening at higher levels while leaving room to plant beneath.