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Let me walk you through our MicroWoodland design and what you can see in front of you. This is a technical drawing and may need a little explanation if you’re unfamiliar with it as the visuals also highlight a couple of aspects.

On the left-hand side, you will see a dotted gridded square marked out four metres by four metres. It has all the colours and lots of different circles in it. That is your micro woodland design. It’s designed for a four-by-four-metre area or 16 square metres. Each smaller square within is a metre by a metre, which will help guide you in the placement of the plants on the ground. I’ve created an arc that goes over one side of the square.

That would allow a bench to go underneath it or for your grass to approach it. Your lawn will no longer grow once the tree canopy has established.

I have incorporated grasses on the underside of the tree canopy. They are the Hakonechloa macra a shade-tolerant Japanese forest grass. I haven’t used native plants. I have an article all about why we don’t need to be purists about our plant choices in the modern world and how these plants contribute positively and beneficially to the environment in your localised garden. If you want to know more about this matter, follow our Substack Horti~verse.

The circles on the top right of the page are keyed with numbers corresponding to the plant names I’ve chosen for this specific planting scheme. It is very similar to the one I evolved in my back garden in the first instance, but ultimately, I have put lists of the types of plants here.

So, plant number one, the large green circle, is your pioneer tree, and you could substitute other pioneer trees if you wanted a flowering tree, for instance, or you are in a very exposed garden on a hill. This particular choice is  Betula albosinensis ‘Red Panda’. Perfect for wettish gardens. It’s a flexible choice for most garden soils but will be okay with clay or boggy environments. It loves a bit of water in the ground. So, they’re going to help absorb that. Choose a multi-stem tree for any tree choice to reduce its size.

The dark green circles are listed as an evergreen understory, I have opted for a Taxus baccata or Yew tree. You are not pruning this into any topiary; it will be a more open shrub with the reduced light, and it will do well if left to sprawl. I have chosen it because it has a lovely dark foliage, perfect for blurring boundary fence lines. I’ve put that towards the back of the scheme because the dense, dark colour will act as an excellent foil for the birch stems and the other plantings planted in front.

The lighter green circle that matches its size is a Corylus avellana, your hazel tree. These can be coppiced. We will look at pruning in subsequent courses.

That’s a great understory plant. If you don’t prune it, it will also produce cobnuts or hazelnuts, which you can harvest.

And then you’ve got a cluster of pink plantings: a shade-tolerant geranium, Geranium macrorhizum and then we have the Hakonechloa macra that I mentioned and the Lamium maculata, which is a fantastic plant for covering any kind of shade area or ground. It can easily be propagated, so it’s an excellent plant to use in these areas and one that you can reproduce cheaply.

So, that is your micro wood and planting scheme. With this complete MicroWoodland scheme, you can tuck it into a corner or bring it into the central space of the garden. Mine is right next to our patio and lovely to look through into the rest of the garden.

In the bottom right-hand corner of the plan are three squares where the design has been replicated. The idea is that you could extend this design to fit a larger space.

The basic premise is you have three more large pioneer trees and an understory set behind them: a lower canopy and a ground cover canopy at the base.

You can bring narcissi and snowdrops into this space as well, even crocus on the periphery—anything that will like those shady woodland environments. If you want to get a chair or bench into the space, place that in before you plant the trees and adjust accordingly. 

You must just get proactive – plant your trees and shrubs in the ground and watch them grow. As that grass dies back, bringing in perennials, you don’t need to cultivate the area; you need to start planting.

Below the plan, you will see the plant links to order your micro woodland now. As soon as it arrives, you can pop the plants in the ground using the spacing provided and start your woodland, micro woodland journey.




Book Your OnSite Consultation

Our first point of call is an Onsite Consultation. This is an opportunity to tap into my 18 years of landscaping and construction experience and firm up your ideas with you.  

  • This consultation will give you a guide on pricing and timescales.
  • As it will contribute to your design should you wish to go ahead we recommend all decision-makers are present for this meeting and as such we are happy to attend your property evenings or weekends, should that be required.
  • The service is followed by a Vision Board and Client Specification sheet that will be sent to your email and will bring together your needs and desires giving you a clear goal to focus on the next stages of your project. 


Once you submit the form you will be redirected to PayPal to process the £120 (Inc VAT) consultation fee.