One strategy to reduce heat island effect our cities is to plant more trees to shade buildings, pavements and other surfaces that absorb heat in summer. But how to plant trees in small gardens without filling up most of the garden space?

 Jackie French uses a layering technique for planting in her garden in Araluen that leaves plenty of space beneath the trees for people to move about. There were about 50 people in the garden when we visited.

Even though there seems be be lots of space, Jackie's garden contains a huge variety of plants.


Jackie's layering technique is to first plant a tree (usually something edible) and then plant a climber to grow up the trunk of the tree. Agapanthus are used around the base to keep the grass away from the tree. The wire tree guard protects the tree from visiting wildlife.

In many places smaller evergreen trees such as citrus and avocados were planted under the canopy of a bigger tree. Lemons seem to thrive in the shade of a bigger tree even though we are usually told that they need full sun.

Another idea was to use a circle of trees to create a living gazebo. Just think how cool this would be on a hot summer day.

For more information about Jackie's planting techniques read her article about groves.