How to landscape over tree roots without damaging them or your design

When designing a garden, driveway or any other landscaped area, a common issue that can affect your planning is tree roots, particularly if they are high up in the soil or on the surface.

Here we look at three ways you can landscape around or over tree roots without damaging the tree or having to take your design back to the drawing board:

Include the tree and tree roots in your landscape design

Trees are beautiful and an elegant asset to a garden or landscape, so one solution is to incorporate the tree and its roots into your design.

You can create a tree ring – literally ring the tree and the roots with suitable plants, such as groundcovers or ferns – or design a large circular border featuring carefully chosen stones or paving blocks. Alternatively, you can put in a simple flower bed – perennials such as asarum (wild ginger), aquilegia (columbine) and dicentra (bleeding heart) grow well under trees.

These herbaceous halos will act as a natural barrier, collecting leaves and other debris that fall from the tree. Be careful not to build up the soil around the base of the tree – this will suffocate it. And keep your creation weed-free by installing a suitable geo fabric membrane.

Move your landscape design away from the tree and tree roots

If tree roots are really proving a major obstacle to your landscaping design, and if it’s possible, you could consider moving your design away from the tree.

On the vast majority of jobs, getting rid of a tree and its roots just isn’t an option. The tree might be covered by a protection order, it may be integral to the look of the area or the client may love it. If your landscape design can work away from the tree and its roots all of these issues will be resolved.

Install a sub-base that covers the tree roots

Another option is to install a sub-base that covers the roots, such as Earthworx Groundcell from Growtivation’s Product That Works range of professional landscaping materials.

Earthworx Groundcell is a new landscaping system that protects tree roots while providing a stable and solid base for your design. Its honeycomb-shaped structure creates a base above the roots which spreads the imposed load from any traffic, thus preventing soil compaction and the risk of suffocation. The Earthworx Groundcell panels should be secured using Earthworx J Fixing Pins.

Earthworx Groundcell can also be used to prevent soil erosion on slopes and embankments.

Find out more about the Growtivation Product That Works range by downloading our Product Guide and your free copy of our Landscaping That Works guide to geotextile fabrics.

To find out where you can buy Growtivation products visit our online Where to Buy facility or contact the friendly team at Growtivation for advice on 0800 197 8885 or email