Monday, November 26, 2012

Will My Client Plant a Copper Beech?

So, I have this client, a friend of a friend, and a really incredible graphic designer. And she has this AMAZING piece of property in the south suburbs of Chicago. Her lot is about 125' by 320'. Huge! Part sun in front, and full sun in back. Lots of room, and she could include basically anything in the space as far as landscaping is concerned.

This is the kind of space that makes my heart race a little! I'm used to working in spaces that make the plant palette limited - dwarf this and compact that. I love the types of challenges that those spaces present, and I love making the most out of small spaces so that my client can use every last inch. But this property? I can select something that will get BIG.

The first thought that came to mind, since the client is young, newly married, and wants kids one day - is Fagus sylvatica (Copper Beech). It's purply, coppery foliage is stunning, changing colors at different times of the year. The bark is incredible, smooth in spots and as it ages, it gets wrinkly, like elephant skin. I see this as a "legacy tree," something the client can plant now, right in the middle of the yard where they can see it from the back windows, and have it age with them as their family grows. The Copper Beech will grow to 50-60' tall and 30' wide. I can imagine a super comfy chair underneat it, providing shde and relaxation for a busy family.

The client wants to attract more birds to the property, and will do so with this tree. Copper Beech provides beech nuts, an important food source for birds.

I plan to suggest it when I present the full design, and I hope she goes for it!




  1. My absolute favorite genre of trees. There is nothing better than the presence of a mature beech tree in the yard.

  2. On Long Island where I grew up there was an old estate turned into a public park called the Planting Fields. It had plenty of giant copper beach and they are beautiful. But whatever you plant, please no more maples! There are just too many of them.