There’s no denying that trees and large shrubs are the fastest way to update a landscape or add drama to a new property. They add visual interest; they help lower home temperatures by providing shade, invite and shelter wildlife, and increase property value.
While the benefits of adding trees to your landscaping far outweigh away the bad, it’s important to remember that a larger plant means larger roots. One common mistake that homeowners make is planting large trees or shrubs near a poured concrete walkway. The problem for the tree is that poured concrete isn’t porous, so it decreases the water that it able to reach the roots. The problem for the walkway begins when the roots grow large and start lifting the concrete slab. This unsightly and dangerous repercussion is referred to as “concrete conflict” and the sidewalk will eventually crack under the strain.
Pavers not only look better, they perform better too. Because pavers are designed to be laid independently they are able to adjust to a changing ground base without cracking. Lifted pavers can be reset without disturbing the entire walkway. So while they may still lift when a tree’s roots outgrow the intended space, correcting the problem won’t entail demolishing and re-pouring a large portion of the project.
Consider using Eco-pavers if your landscaping plants need to be well watered. Eco-friendly pavers are designed to be installed with larger joints space. The larger space between the pavers allows water to penetrate the ground and reach the plants roots. The pavers will slow evaporation and conserve water.
Keep your distance
When planting a tree you should always know how tall you can expect it to grow. Generally, you’ll want to plant a tree that grows up to 30 feet tall at least 3 to 4 feet from sidewalks or pathways. Trees that grow 30 to 50 feet tall should be planted at least 5 to 6 feet from sidewalks. Trees over 50 feet tall should be planted at least 8 feet from path.
It may be tempting to plant larger plants to fill the space quickly and have a show-ready landscape. The downfall in doing this is that if the plants you choose are not at their maximum size, the bed will quickly become overcrowded and your plants will be deprived of life sustaining sun and water.
Be sure to review these aspects with your landscaping designer and/or hardscaping contractor when you’re in the planning phase; changing your plans or material while under contract could cost you both time and money.