As your grow with your home, you may start wanting to add to its landscaping. The hedge row is nice, and the annuals look pretty popping out of the mulch, but you’re ready to take the next leap in giving your yard a personalized character.

This being the case, you’ve probably considered planting a flower bed around a tree. It doesn’t take a lot of time or money, but it makes your yard pop. It’s a great idea, but don’t just go planting stuff all willy nilly. You need some tips, so here are some:

Trim Lower Branches

You want to trim away some lower branches, so that the flowers going in will get proper sunlight and space to grow. This isn’t a problem on large, well-established trees, of course, but if these are saplings or younger trees, you need to take a little extra care to make sure your plants aren’t interfering with each other’s growth.

No Raised Bed

Your first instinct will be to plant a raised bed, because raised beds look cool and raising them allows you to put down fresh potting soil. This is probably not a good idea, however. The reason is that you might kill the tree. See, the tree’s roots need oxygen, and when you cover them with all the dirt and other detritus of a raised flower bed, you run the risk of choking off the roots. This is not such a problem for old, established trees, but be careful around younger ones. And keep in mind it could take years for the damage to reveal itself.

Pick the Right Plants

This advice applies to any growing situation, of course, but make sure the flowers you’re planting will do well in the partial shade they’ll enjoy under a tree. Find a plant that needs the sunlight-shade balance it will get under your tree, and make sure you’re not planting anything that will want to grow too large. You don’t want a plant that’s going to start taking over your tree’s lower branches. And, of course, pay attention to your planting zone.

Plant in Holes

Dig a hole for each individual plant, being careful to dig it to just the right size, and to avoid damaging the tree’s roots while you do it. This is where you can give your flowers some good food in the form of potting soil or compost. You want a hole that’s just a little bit bigger than the root ball of the plant going inside it.

Once you’ve done that, give your flowers a good watering and you’re all set. Keep in mind that tree roots will steal water from the flowers, so you will lkely need to give the flowers more water than you would if you planted them in some other space.