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"Island" landscape plantings are very effective for screening an undesirable view or to add some interest to an open lawn area.  It's important to have the island in scale with the area around it so that it doesn't appear to be only an after thought.

Below we see 'before and after' photos of an "island" planted by Donnan Landscape Services in Spring 1999, using Norway Spruce evergreen trees and Northern Bayberry shrubs, to provide a screen from a large 'Fort Apache style' playset in a neighboring yard. This island planting was mounded with soil and then contoured, using 9 tons of shredded and screened topsoil.

The fast-growing Bayberrys (which are semi-evergreens) will rapidly fill in the gaps between the evergreen trees.  Norway Spruce are also fast-growing evergreens and can be sheared to shape anytime of the year. Using Pines would have limited the tree trimming period to a period of a few weeks in early summer (primarily June in the northeastern US). 

The island was then mulched with double shredded bark. Annual maintenance will include a fresh application of mulch and fertilizer to help ensure good growth.



Before planter

After planter




There are definite advantages to installing 'mounded' plantings and raised beds. Initially, mounds can save extra digging into hard ground while also adding soil that provides a better growing mix. Raised beds also add interest to landscape plantings, taking them more toward 3D. Keep in mind that it requires a fairly large amount of topsoil to create an impact, especially over larger areas. Attention should also be paid to water drainage, ensuring that new mounded plantings don't cause problems with water run-off. Below are 'before' and 'after' photos of a mounded planting of Norway Spruce trees and Bayberry shrubs.

Mounded 'island' landscape bed with evergreen trees


Norway Spruce trees
Same group of Norway Spruce 15 years later. The 'filler' shrubs have been removed, having served their purpose until these evergreen trees grew larger and completely filled the raised bed. Annual shearing has kept these trees very full and shapely.



Landscape Design


Shrub Plantings



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