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Where Nature Meets Hardscape

LCN conducted an email survey of licensed contractors concerning hardscapes.

Here’s what we found:

80% have built a sidewalk, walkway, street, or driveway. Of those 80%, 91.7% have built a sidewalk, walkway, street, or driveway around trees to protect them.

– All the contractors doing hardscaping use pavers; 50% reported also using concrete and cement on sidewalks, walkways, streets, or driveways.

The Worth of Trees

– USDA studies found that healthy trees can increase property values by 10-20%.

– A 100-foot width of trees can absorb roughly 6-8 decibels of sound. Busy highways generate about 72 decibels.

– Shade trees can reduce air conditioning costs in commercial and residential buildings by 15-50%.

– Trees acting as windbreaks can help reduce heating costs in homes up to 30%.

Book Review

The Woodland Garden: Planting in Harmony with Nature, revised edition

Authors: Roy Forster, Alex Downie, Publisher: Firefly Books Ltd. 2004, Buffalo, New York

The woodland garden style, as authors Forster and Downie acknowledge in the introduction to their revised book, is not easy to define, given the wide variety of woodlands on the planet. Still, the authors do define the woodland garden as a “relatively sheltered place where there is an upper canopy of large or small trees, beneath which there is a second layer of shrubs, the understory, and a third level of herbaceous plants and other low-growing species, the woodland floor.”

A woodland garden engenders images of vastness, but the upper canopy does not necessarily require large trees; trees up to 25 feet tall can provided the necessary shade in the smaller urban or suburban gardens

The book emphasizes the temperate areas of the northern U.S. and Canada and their plant materials, but provides practical information for the climatically challenged continental interior and the South, or those areas with alkaline soils. This is a complete source book to transform a garden, or to construct and cultivate a new woodland area, be it a public garden or residential, whether in the country, suburbs or on a city lot.

The first chapter discusses the plan, including sketches and examples of well-designed gardens, plus how to avoid pitfalls in the design stage. The subsequent chapters include plant selection and placement in the woodland floor, the understory and the canopy. The authors detail the best woodland garden performers and furnish full-color photography, black and white drawings, zonal maps and a bibliography.

The book explains how to prepare the land for the anticipated growth of the plants and trees; designing a garden that takes animals and insects into consideration; avoiding or getting rid of weeds and pests that can destroy the garden; and maintaining the garden (watering, mulching, pruning).

In each section the authors delineate the plants (and fragrances) to consider for the look and ambience desired, but also the placement of pathways, rocks and streams.

About the authors:

Roy Forster is a master gardener who helped create the VanDusen Botanical Garden in Vancouver, British Columbia, a renowned woodland garden.

Alex Downie is curator of the Bloedel Conservatory, a public garden with an international reputation and North America’s second largest domed conservatory.

Formats: hardcover and softbound,
192 pages with illustrations
Contact:, (203) 222-9700


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October 17, 2019, 9:40 am PDT

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