In a suburban sized garden, trees should be planted to provide the 'ceiling' of your garden, a focal point and of course, for shade in summer. Shrubs are planted also as focal points, especially brilliantly coloured flowering shrubs and they are also planted as a background to garden beds of flowers and perhaps for privacy screens on boundary fences, often as privacy and sound screens on front fences.

A most important factor and one that determines the success of your garden is knowing what kind of soil you have and then choosing shrubs and trees that will be suited to it. Many plants will not grow well in acid or alkaline soils, so it is wise to take samples of your soil from different spots in the garden and have them tested. Large nurseries will handle soil tests it's a simple test but one that will be invaluable for the gardener when making a list of the shrubs and trees he will plant. There have been many disappointed gardeners who have planted trees or shrubs without regard to their soil preferences.

The magnolias for example, like acid soils and will not grow well in alkaline soils. Once you know what kind of soil you have, it is an easy matter to add chemicals to correct the condition to suit the type or tree or shrub you wish to plant. Don't disregard the soil preferences of plants when you make a selection because you could be wasting money in buying plants in
the first place, or being disappointed with the growth of the plant when it is planted. Similarly, it is pointless to pay good money for a tree or shrub that likes a sunny, well drained position and plant it in a semi-shaded, moist position. It will either die or never reach anywhere near its mature height and spread.

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