One of the questions that our customers frequently ask us is about plant spacing; how far apart should trees and shrubs be planted?

There is no uniform recommendation for precisely how far apart plants should be spaced as actual spacing depends on

  • what effect you want to achieve
  • the ultimate mature size of a plant, and
  • how it is to be pruned and maintained

Before selecting the exact spot for a tree or shrub, determine each plant’s ultimate size and how long it will take to get there.


Trees take time to grow, and many can and do grow large, so when planting a tree, it is worthwhile to take some time and use a measuring tape when choosing that planting spot. Don’t get caught 20 years from now by a hasty choice. Trees, especially large shade trees, should be placed well away from the home to avoid later maintenance problems. Trees should be planted at a minimum of half of their width away from structures, overhead lines, and property lines.

Other things to factor:

  • Visual scale – Do I want the tree to grow taller than my house?
  • Light – Where will the shadow fall? Will it block out the light?


Plant shrub roses, deciduous shrubs, and evergreen shrubs as far apart as the mature width. When they have reached full size, in theory, they will end up “side by side” without gaps or overlap. If you would like to allow space to walk between, separate the plants an additional 24 inches apart. If you prefer a dense “full” garden look, plant slightly closer together, so the plants fill into one another when they have reached full size.

If immediate screening effects are desired, plants should be spaced in two rows, with the back row spaced at the appropriate center-to-center distance. The front row will then be spaced at half the width away from the back row and in between each back row plant. Initially, this will be a zig-zag pattern, but as the plants mature, they will grow together with enough space to mature properly. (See picture above)

Placement from the house or other similar shrubs is about one-half the ultimate width. For two different plants, placement from each other is one-half of the total width for both plants.

Please Note: All plants grow at different rates. Save yourself future headaches by taking the time to mark out your spacing correctly.