Many gardeners like to plant living Christmas trees in their yards. From the standpoint of good landscape design these trees are too often misplaced. Frequently, they are placed in the exact center of the front lawn on each side of the front sidewalk.
Too many do not realize that many of the evergreens chosen eventually grow much too large for the size of the property and eventually the homeowner has to make the heartbreaking decision of either removing the tree or allowing it to grow and monopolize the front yard. It is difficult to grow lawns under many species of evergreens. Careful pruning will help to restrain growth but this should be started a few years before the tree grows out of balance, with an annual maintenance program followed after that time.
Personally, I prefer to place the tree in a spot where it will have freedom to grow without much pruning over a long period of time. In studying the average home grounds we usually find a location somewhere near the front corners of the yard, diagonally out from the front corners of the house, or towards the side or back of the yard are good places for the large evergreen. In the latter plantings, these trees will serve as excellent backgrounds for the home.
Try not to locate the low branching types of evergreens like spruce and fir too near sidewalks, where they might eventually spread over the walks making it necessary to remove lower limbs to allow use of the walk. It hurts my esthetic sense to see such trees spoiled by having lower limbs removed unless it is a very large specimen. Spruce and fir appear most beautiful to me if the lowest limbs start close to the ground level and carry good fullness right up the tree.
One should consider ultimate spread and height of the tree in considering its placing in order to show it of to best advantage. When a tree is small the use of temporary small or medium shrub plantings around it will help fill in space left for the expansion of the evergreen limbs.
For smaller growing types, the many varieties of red cedar, Rocky Mountain juniper, and arbor-vitae serve as excellent accent plants for corners or on either side of the doorway of the dwelling. Hardy, lower growing evergreens especially useful for the low ranch style homes of today include Pfitzer and Savin juniper and the Mugo pine. Some excellent very low ground cover types include such varieties of creeping junipers.