Make sure your building design won’t clash with your landscaping design. Any basements, foundations, underground parking and utility layouts will need to allow for tree root spread.
Trees shouldn’t be put where growing conditions are inappropriate (for example in the shadow of tall buildings) and don’t plant an oak or other tall trees below powerlines. Consider what you want from your trees — they can be planted to provide fruit, nuts, or wildlife interest as well as for aesthetic reasons.
The right tree in the right place can reduce your energy bills. A deciduous tree can shade and cool a building in summer, but allow in light and warmth during winter, creating a natural heating system.
The soil in hard landscaped areas is often poor, so bear in mind that soil compaction needs to be limited in the tree pit and adequate nutrients supplied, and use species that are tolerant to these limitations. Check if there is a history in the area for the use of particular species that could be reflected in the planned planting.
Imagine you are preserving or planting the ancient trees of the future — provide the conditions that will allow large species of trees with a long lifespan to flourish. Saving existing trees and incorporating new ones into your design will increase the value of the development.
By Richard Barnes, conservation adviser at the Woodland Trust, and contributor to Design for London publication The Canopy, a guide to planting trees for designers and developers