Appletons Tree Nursery Ltd, 1748 Main Road South, Wakefield, Nelson, Phone 03 541 8309, Fax 03 541 8007
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Platanus orientalis

Quercus coccinea

Tilia cordata

Poplar Avenue

Hagley Park

Avenues - Symmetry & Perspective

The relaxed informality of a country property is often the ideal setting for an avenue of trees. Such a feature gives strength and structure to a garden throughout the changing seasons.

The scale, style and choice of plants will dictate the long-term effect that is created whether formal with one species, or a mixture of shapes, forms and species.

The use of a building, water feature, gate or seat at the end of the avenue draws the eye onwards and invites exploration.

Informal avenues use groups of plants clumped together at irregular intervals, permitting views from the avenue into the surrounding landscape.


  • Deciduous to allow winter sunlight to filter through
  • Small leafed lime Tilia cordata
  • Horse chestnut Aesculus hippocastum
  • European beech Fagus sylvatica
  • Plane tree Platanus x acerifolia
  • Oak Quercus species


As a general rule the longer the avenue the wider the spacing between the trees. The ultimate shape of the tree will also dictate the overall effect, whether it is tall upright individual trees, or a canopy of overarching crowns. Often the amount of room either side of the drive limits spacing across the avenue. Planting in adjoining paddocks may be an option. Planting at a close initial spacing may give the desired effect.

Form pruning to ensure a good straight leader is important, with removal of lower branch to allow vehicles especially trucks to drive under. Spacing drums or pegs along a proposed avenue will help create the effect before planting, 10-15m apart for a formal avenue would be suitable for most situations.

Poplar clones such as ‘Crows Nest’, ‘Kawa’ and ‘Veronese’ have narrow crowns, are deciduous and extremely fast growing. Productive fruit and nut trees can also be used, the walnut being a prime example of a magnificent tree, which bears edible nuts.

In areas of adverse wind and dry soils, Sequoiadendron giganteum – giant redwood make a real statement, with their conical shape and dark green foliage. New Zealand natives such as kowhai Sophora tetraptera, cabbage tree Cordyline australis, ribbonwood Plagianthus regius, and in moist sites NZ kahikatea Dacrycarpus dacryioides can be used in conjunction with understorey plantings to create a more informal effect.