Drawing Tree Forms
There are three design elements to consider when creating a planting design: form, texture and color.
Each plant you choose encompasses these characteristics in different ways. Though you should consider all of these it is important to know that form is the most consistent, then texture and finally color.
A good planting design should start with a strong composition of forms in elevation (standing in front and looking straight on). Trees, shrubs, and perennials all have forms.
Below are only some examples of tree forms. Additional ones, not included below, are vase-shaped, weeping, and irregular.
To design in elevation it's helpful to also be able to DRAW in elevation. I've included a video below to show my simple technique, so you can begin the joy of designing right away.
A design hint: Take a photo of your house, throw on a piece of tracing paper, then try drawing some of these plant forms on top to see what combination might work for your landscape. Don't forget to layer them too (some tall plants in back, then medium and smaller plants in front). Enjoy!