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Wooded Landscaping Ideas

By Fern Fischer ; Updated September 21, 2017
Landscaping in the woods
wooded path image by Cathy Kovarik from Fotolia.com

Typical landscape design focuses on the appearance of a home and its surroundings, frequently from an approach viewpoint, or how the home appears from the street. Wooded landscaping design can take a similar approach, but it can also be used as a means to blend the home with the surrounding rustic environment. If a homeowner builds or buys a home in the woods, then the landscaping ideas should spotlight the natural wooded perspective.

Use Layers

Layers in wooded landscaping
woods image by Grzegorz Kołodziej from Fotolia.com

Layers of vegetation will create texture and color in a wooded setting. With tall, canopied trees as a backdrop, the foreground should focus on lower growing shrubs and flowering plants. Different colors of foliage, even if they are all shades of green, will add texture to the view. Plan landscaping to take advantage of native flowering trees like redbud or dogwood. Select shrubs and trees that will erupt into a vivid display of colorful fall foliage. Repeat low growing trees and shrubs at the edge of the woods and closer to the house to create an organic, connected impression.

Use the natural contours of the land to draw the viewer’s eye gradually from the tall trees of the woods to the lower elements of yard, patio and home. Avoid incongruous elements that distract from the appeal of the woods. For example, a chain link fence is out of place and can be replaced with a wooden fence.

Natural Building Materials

Use natural building materials
stone wall image by Benjamin Jefferson from Fotolia.com

Natural building materials complement the atmosphere of the woods. Native materials offer an inclusive feel to a landscape design. A natural wood timber deck and native stone walkways are more in tune with the wooded setting than a painted deck and concrete sidewalk. Incorporate natural building materials for planting beds, driveways and as accents throughout the yard.

Native Plants

Native wildflowers in woods
Bluebell Woods image by Octavius from Fotolia.com

Wooded landscaping provides an ideal chance to plant native wildflowers, bulbs and shade-loving shrubs and flowers. Once native woodland plants are established, they grow from year to year with very little maintenance. Fallen leaves create beneficial mulch and continue important soil building tasks that improve the health of the trees. Leaves should not be raked in naturalistic wooded areas.

Haven for Wildlife

Cottontail at edge of woods
eastern cottontail rabbit (sylvilagus floridanus) image by Bruce MacQueen from Fotolia.com

Wooded areas are ideal places to landscape with wildlife in mind. Plant shrubs that will provide shelter for nesting birds in the spring. Include plants that produce fall and winter berries that will attract hungry birds. Include bird feeders and nest boxes to attract the native birds in your area. Besides birds, wooded areas support other wildlife. Rabbits, squirrels, opossums and deer are common in most areas of the U.S. Know the local wildlife, and be prepared to add fences to your landscaping if necessary, to keep animals from eating garden plants or valuable ornamentals.

Water Effects

Shady pond
pond image by Nicola Gavin from Fotolia.com

A small garden pond or water garden can create a peaceful atmosphere. A water garden provides opportunities to landscape with water plants and moist bank plants, and it adds another element to the outdoor living space. Keeping fish in a water garden will contribute to the natural ambiance of a wooded area. A water source will also attract birds and small animals.


About the Author


Fern Fischer's print and online work has appeared in publications such as Midwest Gardening, Dolls, Workbasket, Quilts for Today and Cooking Fresh. With a broader focus on organic gardening, health, rural lifestyle, home and family articles, she specializes in topics involving antique and modern quilting, sewing and needlework techniques.