Lilacs and Landscaping Ideas

Last Updated on May 22, 2023 by Ellen Christian

Are you wondering about lilacs and landscaping? We have five or six lilac trees on our property. They’ve been here for years and I love the color and the scent of our lilacs each year.

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Before you plant a lilac tree or decide to make it a focal point of your landscaping, there are a few things that you need to consider.

Lilacs and Landscaping Ideas You Can Add to Your Yard

Lilacs and Landscaping

There are a number of different types of lilacs that range in color from pale to dark purple and even white. In the northeast, their color is unmistakable and it is one of the first flowering trees to bloom.

Since we have a lilac tree right outside our front door, I can enjoy the scent for the entire time our lilacs are in bloom.

Lilacs and Landscaping Ideas You Can Add to Your Yard

Lilac varieties

When choosing your lilac, you want to keep in mind what zone you’re in. There are lilac varieties that are suitable for zone 3 through zone 9.

The common lilac (Syringa vulgaris) typically hardy to zone 3 and is the variety that we have the most of. There are dwarf varieties and a wider range of colors like yellow that may not be as hardy.

Please do your research carefully to ensure the variety you plant will be with you for years to come.
a landscaped area of lawn with mulch, lilacs, and lilies

Landscaping around lilac bushes

Remember that lilacs can grow to be up to 15 feet tall and 15 feet wide if not larger depending on the variety you have chosen. You don’t want to landscape too closely to the tree unless you plan to prune it regularly to keep it smaller.

Otherwise, anything you plant too close to the lilac will soon be overtaken.

purple lilcs and a white fence

When landscaping around lilac bushes, please keep in mind the size of the lilac in the future.

This means that you should be careful when planting your lilac near your house, shed, fences or other permanent structures.

lily of the valley

Companion plants for lilacs

So, what should you plant around your lilac? There are several companion plants for lilacs to consider. Spring flower bulbs make a wonderful choice as companion plants.

They will naturalize relatively quickly which will help keep the weeds down. And, they provide spring color before your lilac blooms.

Options include lily of the valley, tulips, daffodils and grape hyacinth.

Lilacs and Landscaping Ideas You Can Add to Your Yard

Landscaping with lilacs ideas

The Korean Lilac is a smaller variety of lilac tree that is ideal for small gardens. You can easily create a garden with a Korean lilac in the center surrounded by plants like Columbine, Phlox, and Meadow Rue.

This combination should be relatively low maintenance and is perfect for attracting butterflies.

Try grouping several lilac varieties together to stagger bloom times. Our common lilac blooms much earlier than our white lilac.

By staggering your bloom times, you’ll be able to extend the color in your lilac garden much longer.

Are lilacs a bush or a tree?

I’ve seen this question several times. The answer is that it depends. The definition of a tree is that it stands over 13 feet tall and has a single trunk.

While there are varieties that grow over 13 feet tall, lilacs have many trunks unless you prune them otherwise. Technically, lilacs are a bush.

Check out the video above for some handy tips on how to prune a lilac. I admit that I often simply let ours grow wild. Since we’re in the country, that works well for our yard.

Are you wondering about lilacs and landscaping? We have five or six lilac trees on our property. They've been here for years and I love the color and the scent

Are lilacs poisonous?

Are lilac flowers edible? As a pet mom, I worry about what plants and trees I add to our property. Many different growing things are poisonous to cats and dogs.

But, luckily lilacs are not poisonous to animals. I’ve never eaten them myself. But, if your pet wants to nibble on them, no worries.

Lilacs and landscaping can work well together if you keep in mind the eventual size of your lilac tree. Don’t be afraid to be creative and add a sundial, garden bench or even a fountain if you have the room.

You may want to plant a few of these full sun flowers.

If you’d like more gardening inspiration, take a minute to visit DIY Idea Center for National Gardening Month. And, be sure to sign up for their updates.

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23 thoughts on “Lilacs and Landscaping Ideas”

  1. I am interested in planting a lilac on the front side of my home. It's an area that gets 6+ hours of sun in the late morning-dinner time. The location is at a corner of my house. There is more than enough vertical space as other plants in this area are only 3-4 feet high. So once the plant ages, there will be plenty of airy space for its flowering limbs. My real question is around the roots. Is there a concern about the roots penetrating the foundation? My foundation at this portion of the house is 6 feet deep. I would be able to plant it in an existing mulch bed allowing the current root ball to be 2-3 feet away from the homes foundation. Would love your insight.
  2. Thank-you for the recipes! I hope my daughter will soon plant one, but her husband is allergic to bees and does not want any flowers. I am not sure I will have the opportunity to plant any near my home. Hopefully, I can find a distant relative has a bush in their yard. I particularly want to make Lemonade.
  3. I was horrified, one year, when at my request my husband hired a temporary landscaper to work in our yard and I asked the man to prune our Lilac. I would only produce 3 blossom heads a year. He trimmed it about 3 feet from the ground. It took 3 years to bloom, again! I was so sad, for those 3 years! We moved before the full impact of what we had done was realized, but at least we gave a "gift" to the next owners. I thought he had cut too vigorously, but this was at my request. He asked me for the exact height I wished. So your video about pruning has exonerated both of us, :) Thank-you!
  4. Thanks for pointing out that you can use lilacs to give an extra aesthetic to your landscape since they grow really tall. My uncle is looking for ideas on how he could improve the look of his garden. We should probably leave the designs to a landscaping expert who can take care and design it for him.
  5. I love Lilacs but I have to keep them outside due to asthma. These look beautiful. I love Lilies of the Valley too.
  6. We have a big Lilac tree in our back-yard and we also have The Lily Of The Valley out in our front yard in a nice shady spot. I made the mistake of giving the lilac bush some bat guano about four years ago, because that thing took off in growing like a monster. :)
  7. Pleasant memories of the Lilac Hedge around our home as a child and carrying bouquets of Lilacs to the teacher every spring! I bought one bush for my deck for the aroma and the memories!
    • You are another lucky lady! My grandmother had a hedge around the front yard, with a gate at the sidewalk. I have many happy memories, as well, from this time! At home, I used to sit under our own, tall lilac bush and watch the world go by. Sadly, both homes have suffered at the hands of new owners, who removed all of them! Dad used to prune them every year, for Grandma, so I knew they were a lot of work. What a gift he provided for her and for us!

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