Choosing Trees for Autumn Colour
Bringing Autumn Hues into your Garden
As we find ourselves in the midst of Autumn surrounded by arrays of both fiery and warm colours, we can’t help but feel inspired by the beauty of nature, particularly on a crisp sunny day. This month our Landscapes Design Team share tips on how choosing trees for autumn colour can bring blazes of yellows, oranges and reds into your own garden.
Autumn is a great time of year for planning changes in your garden. Whether you want to enhance your existing layouts or are embarking on an extension or new build that will affect and integrate with your outdoor spaces, now is the perfect time to find ideas and take inspiration from the beautiful trees in our countryside.
One of the many enjoyable elements in designing a new planting scheme is choosing the trees. Not only do trees add height, form, colour, shade and movement – all to create the atmosphere you want – but they are key to supporting wildlife and the wider environment.
Many of our projects enjoy stunning large outdoor spaces where a careful choice of trees can create a continuous symphony of colour throughout the seasons, culminating in a blaze of autumn colour. However, there’ll be a suitable tree to transform even the smallest space, and Japanese maples would be a top choice for autumn colour in a small garden.
As a garden design team, we choose trees for projects we are currently landscaping, together with future new build and extension properties where planning proposals include planting schemes.
We have a host of trees in our design palette, all intended to light up the autumn landscape. Some of our top favourites include:
- Ginkgo biloba (below left) – bright green leaves turn a beautiful autumnal gold
- Acer palmatum (below right) – many varieties with stunning spring and autumn colour
- Liquidambar styraciflua (below left) – a breath-taking range of colour creates a graduated effect
- Parrotia persica (below right) – turning yellow, then orange and a blaze of fiery red
Many of these popular trees put on an equally stunning Spring display with colourful emerging foliage that doesn’t disappoint. If you have plenty of space to include more unusual specimens there are many more to consider including Heptacodium miconoides, Nyssa sylvatica and Cornus kousa to name a few.
As garden designers we work with a host of talented nurserymen who not only grow trees in their traditional form, but spend years training varieties into architectural forms to transform the landscape and complement new architecture such as multi-stems, character espalier, pleached trees, box heads and topiary to make a real statement.
Why do Trees Change Colour in Autumn?
The green we see in summer leaves is caused by chlorophyll – the pigment which enables leaves to convert sunlight into energy via photosynthesis. As we move into autumn and daylight hours reduce, the production of chlorophyll slows down and eventually stops. When the green colour fades other colourful pigments become dominant and changes occur in preparation for leaf fall. These together cause the bright autumn colours we know and love.
Choosing the Right Trees
As well as selecting trees for their autumn colour, it’s important to check that your tree choices will suit the light, wind conditions and soil to enable them to thrive. To give them the best start in life, we advise planting with good quality compost and ‘rootgrow’, stake well and apply plenty of water in the early years whilst establishing.
When planting in the open countryside the prevailing winds are a key consideration. Our much loved native Beech, Hornbeam, Hawthorn and Field Maples (Acer campestre) are great choices for this type of landscape and blend with the surrounding countryside, provide stunning autumn colour, and support a host of wildlife too.
We provide Landscape Design services throughout London, Surrey, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and the Cotswolds. If you need a garden design to extend your outdoor living space, or if you have finished the hard landscaping and need to transform the area with planting, we can work with you to create an outdoor space that seamlessly links with your property, sits well within the landscape and will be truly unique to you.