15 Best Landscaping Ideas Around Tree Roots with Pictures

Looking for practical landscaping ideas around tree roots for your garden? You’ll find plenty of ideas and gardening tips here! A garden design without trees is like a sea without fish: it lacks soul. The shady area under the trees often appears dreary – with attractive underplanting, you can revitalize the so-called tree disk and make the best possible use of landscape ideas.

For perennials and shrubs to thrive properly, it is important not only to select plants carefully but also to prepare the soil well. With our professional tips, you can transform the tree discs into flourishing zones.

How to Landscape Around a Tree with Exposed Roots: DO’s and DON’Ts

DOs: Rules for landscaping around a tree trunk

Landscaping around the exposed area under the tree helps to control erosion, reduces the growth of weeds, and prevents the formation of a crust on the soil surface.

Consider the tree species, its growth habit, root system, and the landscape accordingly.

If the tree is young, then avoid under-planting and only cover the area around the tree with a layer of mulch in the first few years.

You can grow shade-loving perennials that help to add colors to your lawn or garden.

If you want to grow some plants around the tree roots, it’s better to select plants that can grow under shade or low light. This is an example of growing philodendron in the border around tree roots in my neighborhood:

You can and should do mulching under a tree; it helps to retain soil moisture and moderate soil temperature variations, also prevents weeds.

Small rocks and stones can be considered as alternatives to plants.

You can add colorful ground covers to your landscaping under trees.

Landscape lighting can be used that helps to enhance the appearance of planting areas.

You can also add relaxing elements such as a bench or a swing under your trees. It would make the whole landscape softer and more useful for the family!

DON’Ts: Rules for gardening around the trunk

Don’t cut the exposed roots; most of the woody roots are feeder roots that tree needs to stay alive.

Don’t plant too close to the tree trunk, it can compete for nutrient resources and damage to roots.

Avoid any kind of paving and make a walkway over exposed roots that may also result in damaging the roots.

Avoid parking your vehicle under a tree with exposed roots, because the weight of your vehicle can cause damage to the roots of the tree.

Do not raise the existing soil level around the trunk, which can reduce the moisture level in the root zone.

You cannot mulch close to the trunk. Keep mulch depth at around 2-4 inches and maintain a gap around the trunk.

Wood should not be used as a load-bearing structure for a deck or patio, heavy weight of the deck can cause damage to tree roots.

To avoid creating heavyweight deck, consider making an alley or a wooden bridge around your trees, as in the example below:

Landscaping with Rocks around Trees

Landscaping around the tree with rocks is my favorite method!

You just have to dig a trench about 5 cm to 8 cm deep and lay in the first layer of stones.

Continue adding layers of bricks until there are no gaps and you are happy with the height.

You can also add gravel for an even more dramatic look.

The only thing you need to be careful about is placing the stones about 20cm away from the tree trunk.

Incorporating plants into this design is another way you can create a captivating landscape.

Landscaping around the tree planter

A flower planter around a tree looks impressive, and this idea seems simple and easy to implement.

However, when creating it, it is necessary to take into account the compatibility of the type of tree and the ornamental plants growing under it.

There are some species that do not tolerate any vegetation in the tree trunk area. Such individual trees include birch, willow, spruce, walnut, larch, maple, serviceberry, thuja, and pine.

How to landscape around a tree with exposed roots: Planting ground cover under a tree

Groundcovers are an easy solution for adding color to areas under large trees, slopes, and other challenging areas. In addition, these plants act as living mulch, protecting the soil from erosion and drought. 

Landscape borders around trees

When designing the surroundings of trees, tree borders are usually created because this is the most straightforward and beautiful technique.

Attaching various elements around the tree trunk is inexpensive and not time-consuming, which is exactly what all gardeners want.

Anything from the stones mentioned above to flowering perennials, statues, pine cones, or succulents can be used for tree borders. This depends entirely on your personal preferences and the type of tree.

Raised bed around tree

A raised bed is a smart way to use the space around trees.

This way, you avoid damaging the roots of the trees while getting an impressive image. There are many types of plants that thrive in raised beds if you provide them with proper soil.

Another easier way to use raised beds is to plant grass or Hostas; these plants gives a unique look and is easier to maintain.

Mulch-around tree ideas

For those who want to keep it simple, all you need to do is apply mulch around the tree. This simple idea helps you get a clean and attractive area with little effort. Another advantage of this method is that it is inexpensive.

You can choose the type of mulch yourself. There are many different textures and colors to choose from.

For example, wood chips, coconut shells, or redwood mulch are a perfect and valuable addition to the space around the trees. 

Related posts:


What is the best landscape edging for tree roots?

If the tree is in its early years (the first 1-3 years), edging the tree roots with mulch is the best idea. 
Then, in later stages, you can start edging flower plants, colorful ground covers, and rocks. When planting, be careful not to damage the roots and bark. Interfaces make young trees, in particular, susceptible to fungi and other diseases.

How do you landscape around trees with exposed roots?

Landscaping around a tree with exposed roots is a challenging task. Only very few flowers, ground cover, and foliage plants can withstand dry, nutrient-poor soil, a shady location, and strong root competition. Try Hostas and Philodendrons in this case.

How do you decorate exposed tree roots?

It all depends on the gardener’s capabilities and visual preferences; you can decorate it with flower beds, ground covers, rocks, or by building a deck around it. Planting plants with a deep and branched root system next to the trunk is unacceptable, as they require constant watering.

Should you cover exposed tree roots with dirt?

Covering with dirt is not recommended. Instead, you can use mulch. The tree roots are an essential part of the trees and are necessary for their health. The tree’s roots provide the tree with essential nutrients and water. It is all the more critical that the root area of ​​the trees is intact and that the roots have enough space to anchor themselves firmly in the ground.

Should you build a deck around trees?

Yes, deck around a tree is a comfortable place for active recreation and communication and can also provide owners with extra space to enjoy in your garden area. Garden furniture, chairs, tables, and benches can be added to this sitting area.

Landscaping Ideas Around Tree Roots: What to Remember

Landscaping around tree roots is a great way to make bare areas functional and attractive. The main thing you need to know is that the size of the trunk circle should be proportional to the diameter of the crown; it is at this distance from the trunk that the tree roots are located. 

Most of the methods described above are inexpensive, do not take much time, and the result is worth it. So, let’s grab your gardening gloves and embark on a fun and enriching journey!