In larger yards, planting a mix of deciduous or evergreen trees, shrubs, and perennials creates a more naturalistic look, especially if you layer plants, grouping them in odd numbers. “Stagger evergreens in the background, and in the foreground step down the height with deciduous material to provide texture, depth, and color,” says Elliott Brundage, a landscape architect in Andover, Massachusetts.
Planting deciduous shade trees—which generally grow from 25 to 60 feet high, depending on the species—is a good way to obscure a neighbor’s view from a second-story window or terrace. Positioned over a deck or patio, the canopy provides privacy and shade in the summer. In the winter, the trees’ bare branches allow the sun to shine into the house.