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Landscaping with Deciduous Trees - Subtropics

For Brisbane it’s the Jacaranda, Poinciana or Leopard tree.

For Cooler districts it’s the Maple, Liquidamber or Flowering peach.


These are just some of the common deciduous trees used in southern Queensland to create stunning design effects that compliment seasonal changes.


Unlike evergreen trees which are mainly appreciated aesthetically for their green foliage, flowering season, fruit, tree shape and shade production; deciduous trees are appreciated for additional attributes such as seasonal foliage colouration, plus naked trunk and stem features.


All these features are therefore considered when designing with deciduous trees.


Large stately trees like those listed above are best located in dominant positions to maximize their appreciation.

Placed in the centre of a garden bed, they can be underplanted with low growing shrubs and bulbous plants for an harmonious effect; or underplanted with grass for a  contrasting statement.


Alternatively, the tree can be situated at the end of a long garden to draw visitors out into the garden.


The thermal benefits of deciduous trees should not be overlooked as it compliments the outdoor lifestyle we share in Queensland.

As deciduous trees loose leaves in winter (either as a result of cold temperatures or seasonal-drought induced), the warmth of the sunshine can penetrate onto decking, tables and chairs. Trees should therefore be positioned to the north or north-west of the entertainment area, and close enough to guarantee some degree of branch spread over the area.

If planted to the south, then the entertainment area will be in sun during winter and summer. 


For maximum design impact:

  • place the tree to the north west of the house or outdoor entertainment area for maximum thermal benefit
  • provide a backdrop of evergreen trees so that the naked limbs in winter will be camouflaged by surrounding foliage
  • use up-lights in the garden to gain night effects during autumn and winter
  • Autumn toned trees need to be located where they can be appreciated
  • look for deciduous trees that have nice foliage colour in spring and autumn
  • if you wish to emphasis seasonal variation, seek out spring flowering deciduous trees.

If space is limited, then smaller deciduous trees are best. Ask your local garden centre for suitable plants.



  • place deciduous trees close to the house unless you have gutterguards
  • place any large tree near foundations, pavement or other structures
  • plant a deciduous tree near pathways that will drop fruit that may cause a safety problem

Autumn toned trees

-         Crepe myrtles (Lagerstroemia indica)

-         Liquidamber

Spring-flowering deciduous tree

-         Pink trumpet tree (Tabebuia rosea)


By: Paul Plant F.A.I.H. writer for the HOME magazine, Courier Mail

For more information, refer to subTropical Gardening magazine - www.stgmagazine.com.au

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