The 5 Layers of Landscaping

Layers from a PA Landscaping Company

Perhaps because there are so many aspects within your landscape, it can often be difficult to fully wrap your head around all its various elements.

But understanding your landscape can be important, particularly if you’re planning to complete a landscape assessment before undertaking a project with a landscaping company in PA.

That’s why we’re so fond of a mental trick that many gardeners use to help them better understand their landscape, and to more clearly organize its many elements in their minds. It’s often referred to as The 5 Layers of Landscaping. Use it yourself, and you’ll likely find that organizing and explaining the sort of work you want a landscaping company in PA to complete will become significantly simpler.

The Sky Layer

Landscaping elements that exists at the Sky Layer include very tall trees that start at about 40 feet high. Trees in this realm include oak, pine, spruce, beech, maple, oak, and birch trees.

Any living landscape element in the Sky Layer should be worked on only by professional arborists familiar with the dangers of this sort of work, and who have the proper tools. Tempting though it may be, non-pros should never attempt to work in the Sky Layer.

The Under-a-Story Layer

As with the Sky Layer, trees are what you’ll find in the Under-a-Story Layer. Technically, any trees under 40 feet fall into this category, although in a residential landscaping situation, most are around 15 to 25 feet on average.

When planning your landscape assessment, keep in mind that many of the trees in this layer will stay at this height for the duration of their lives.

And because many of the trees here will act as a visual anchor that naturally attracts the eye, you’ll want to be sure you’re choosing trees that will blend well with the rest of your landscape. The right landscaping company in PA can help you make those sorts of crucially important decisions.

Finally, if you’re wondering whether you’ll need to hire professionals to maintain this layer, we’ve found it generally comes down to each gardener’s level of expertise. If you have the training to do the gardening that trees in this layer require, there’s a good chance you’ll know it. Completing work in this layer of your landscape is challenging, but also gives you the opportunity to sharpen your skills.

If you’ve never worked in this realm before, or if you’re not sure what sorts of skills this work requires, you’ll want to bring a professional on board.

The Middle Story Layer

This large layer could just as easily be referred to as the Shrub Layer—nearly every shrub you can think of fits this important category. Whether it’s the lower-level hydrangeas and roses, or the significantly larger lilacs and witch hazels, you’ll find them all in the Middle Story Layer, which for most of us sits directly at eye level.

Assuming you’ve managed to put this layer together properly, it’ll quickly grow into one of the loveliest layers of your landscape, which is why it’s so important to make sure it’s arranged with care and skill.

If you’re a pruner, or if you’re interested in expanding your pruning skills, this is the landscape level that will give you that opportunity.

Some homeowners choose to bring in gardeners with pruning expertise to keep their shrubs looking as perfect as possible. Still, there’s really no reason an amateur gardener can’t use the plants in this layer as an opportunity to learn the art and science of horticulture.

The Ground Layer

If an element of your landscape sits on the ground or otherwise covers the ground, there’s a chance that it falls within the Ground Layer. Your lawn is a part of your landscape’s Ground Layer, as are perennial gardens and low shrubs.

Of all a landscape’s layers, the Ground Layer is the most welcoming to amateur gardeners. That’s because it consists of forgiving elements—elements that won’t easily die if they’re treated improperly or poorly.

This is also a consistently changing layer, which gives you even more opportunities to improve your gardening skills. If you’re going to spend money on a qualified landscaping company in PA, this is one area where you’ll save by doing the work yourself.

The Soil Layer

Because this is the one layer of your landscape you don’t actually see, it’s easy to forget about its importance to the other four layers. The Soil Layer is literally the foundation of everything above it, and it needs to be treated properly if you expect the rest of your gardening elements to hold up.

When planning your landscape analysis, or when consulting when a landscaping professional, consider whether you should invest in soil analysis and testing.

Remember: If you’re going to be spending a fair amount of money on your landscaping efforts, you’ll want to be certain that the actual foundation of those elements is as healthy as possible.

Be sure to ask any of the landscape companies in PA you’re considering if their employees are trained in soil management, and if they have experience dealing with serious soil issues such as drainage or compaction.

Partnering with Realty Landscaping

One of the largest privately held landscape contracting firms in the region, Realty Landscaping Corporation specializes in honesty and integrity in its relationships, clear and honest communication at all times, and creativity through the free exchange of ideas.

We’ve been offering exceptionally high-quality, service-oriented landscape construction for both residential and commercial clients since 1985. We encourage you to get in touch with us today to discuss your landscape needs. We think you’ll be very glad you did.

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