Berceau, Charming 3D Garden Element

A berceau , or foliage , is an overgrown garden path. On either side of the walking path, trees or shrubs have been planted which are linked above the path to create a tunnel. You can grow a berceau with evergreen and / or flowering plants. espaliers with fruit trees are also possible.

Table of Contents

Different kinds of Berceau


A berceau in the strict sense has a frame made of metal (or possibly wood). The arc shapes are usually interconnected , but can also be separated. Some also consider two rows of trees whose crowns overlap as a "berceau", without the use of a load-bearing construction. This variant of the berceau is also called tree leaf or tree vault . Please note that the load-bearing construction is a permanent part of the berceau. The strength of a berceau must be adapted to the wind load (wind sensitivity) on the one hand and the weight of the plants on the other. Wisterias in particular can get very old and heavy.


The plants of a berceau can have a open or completely closed growth .

In the first case, the shape of the openings can vary:

  • web-shaped openings (parallel to the arc shape)
  • arcuate openings (‘ports’ on the sides)
  • small windows (in the sides)

Types of Planting

  • Haagberceaus A tunnel hedge is ideal for a tightly closed growth habit. This gives a cool, shady spot in summer. A completely closed hedge bank is so dark on the inside that hardly any leaves grow. A more open tunnel hedge can be created by making "window openings" in the hedge or by placing the tunnel arches separately.
  • Berceaus with espalier fruit Espalier fruit is only suitable for open growth. After all, sunlight must illuminate the crop well on both the inside and the outside to get tasty fruits and to prevent branching. The wind must also be able to blow freely through the foliage, so that the leaf dries up quickly after rain and fungal diseases are prevented.
  • Flowering berceau A flowering berceau is an eye-catcher in the garden during flowering. A berceau overgrown with, for example, roses or wisteria flowers several weeks or months a year. The fruit bank also flowers in the spring, but the flowering period is quite short (a few weeks).
  • Evergreen berceau A berceau covered with ivy ( Hedera ) is evergreen. This variant is used as a carport. Tip: Use mesh mats against the guide construction to allow plants to climb against them.

Appearance of the Berceau

Appearance of the Construction

A berceau construction is a spatial, 3D element in the garden that creates air and space. In winter, when the leaves are on the plants, the lines of a berceau look stylish.

The appearance of the frame is determined by:

  • frame size
  • frame thickness
  • form of frame
  • decorative elements on the frame
  • frame color

The size of the frame ( scale ) must be adapted to elements in the environment (for example, a house). In addition, the height must take into account the plant height (minimum and maximum) of the plants that you plant there.

A thin, arc-shaped, black frame looks minimalistic, elegant and exclusive . A silver-colored frame is the least noticeable; takes on the color of the environment. A thick and solid wooden frame looks heavy and imposing.

Appearance of the Planting

The appearance of a berceau depends strongly on the planting:

  • a fresh green hedge bank has a powerful, timeless look
  • a rose bouquet a romantic look
  • a fruit bar a nostalgic, romantic look.

Seasonal Effects

Leaf fall

The appearance of a berceau (frame & planting) changes during the year. During the growing season, the frame becomes overgrown by the planting. In the autumn and winter periods, on the other hand, the frame is clearly visible, in case of a deciduous crop. With evergreen plants, the frame is permanently hidden behind the plants and the berceau looks the same all year round.

Spring and Autumn Colors

Deciduous woody crops with a flaming yellow or red fall color can provide spectacular color transitions.

Plants with beautifully colored young foliage in the spring are also conceivable.

Choice of Planting for the Berceau

You can plant a berceau with one, two or more different cultivars. Using one cultivar looks more uniform, looks neater and is the easiest to maintain. Still, there are situations when you want to plant two or more cultivars.

Aantal Cultivars van Haagberceau

A hedge beau will consist of one breed in 9 out of 10 cases. Simply because that gives a tight end result and requires the least maintenance. In other cases, two breeds are almost always used, with one breed being a mutant of the other. They then have almost the same growth properties but still look different. A well-known example of this is a combination of red and green beech.

Photo: Red and green patches of a green beech ( Fagus sylvatica ) and a red-leaved mutant thereof ( Fagus sylvatica 'Atropunicea' )
Tabel 1: Haagberceau aanleggen
Synonieme termen van haagberceau: tunnelhaag, groen gewelf.
Plant:Aantal cultivars
per berceau:
(Fagus sylvatica)
1 (of 2)Gebruik eventueel paarsbladige en groenbladige cultivars door elkaar.
(Tilia cordata)

A hedge bank , also called tunnel hedge or green vault , looks like a green tunnel. Most popular are small-leaved tunnel hedges of Fagus sylvatica and Tilia cordata .

When constructing a hedge bank, you can plant out the planting material in 1 or 2 rows. With one row, the hedge remains flatter, which saves space. A double row has the advantage that the hedge will close earlier.

Number of Cultivars of a Fruit Berceau

For a fruit store, one variety is easiest to maintain and looks the most tidy. However, the pollination (and fruiting) leaves much to be desired. For a fruit bereau, it is therefore a better option to take two cultivars, planted alternately. A fruit crop with two cultivars is the best compromise between good pollination on the one hand and a sleek appearance on the other. Using three or more fruit varieties often looks messy. A sleek and uniform appearance is certainly desirable for espalier fruit. A fruit store with only two fruit varieties, you must check that both cultivars pollinate each other and have a similar growth habit. They should have a similar vigor, and bear fruit on a short crop. An alternative method to realize a good pollination with a fruit berry with 1 fruit variety and is to plant next to the berceau another fruit variety. For example, a row of two-arm cords on both sides (that looks nice too). Or one or a few ordinary fruit trees (half-stem or high-stem). For the best pollination, plant the trees on the wind side of the berceau.

Tabel 2: Fruitberceau aanleggen.
Aanbevolen plantensoorten en aantal gebruikte cultivars per berceau.
Plant:Aantal cultivars
per berceau:
(Pyrus communis)
2 cultivarsT.b.v. kruisbestuiving twee cultivars planten met overlappende bloeiperiode en gelijksoortige groeiwijze.
(Malus domestica)
2 cultivarsT.b.v. kruisbestuiving twee cultivars planten met overlappende bloeiperiode en gelijksoortige groeiwijze.
(Prunus domestica)
2 cultivarsT.b.v. kruisbestuiving twee cultivars planten met overlappende bloeiperiode en gelijksoortige groeiwijze.
(Vitis vinifera)
1 cultivarCv. ‘Boskoops Glorie’ geeft ook druiven. Cv. ‘Purpurea’ heeft aantrekkelijk blad.

A fruit bar is possible with different fruits. Pear and apple are most common, but grape, plum and citrus are also possible. Pear is easier to lead to espalier than apple. Pruning espalier trees requires knowledge and craftsmanship.

During flowering, a fruit cellar has a romantic appearance.

Aantal Cultivars van Bloeiend Berceau

With a flowering berceau it is mainly a matter of personal taste whether you choose one or more cultivars.

With a berceau roses, multiple cultivars are usually chosen, in different colors. This way you not only provide more color, but also that flowering periods overlap.

Plant combinations are also possible. Rose with Clematis is a classic example of this. A light-filled and airy location is then desirable.

With a berceau Wisteria you can choose cultivars with blue, pink and / or white flowers.

Tabel: 3 Bloeiend berceau aanleggen.
Aanbevolen plantensoorten en aantal gebruikte cultivars.
Type berceau:Aantal cultivars
per berceau:
meerdereGebruik meerdere cultivars met verschillende bloeiperioden. Evt combineren met Clematis.
Clematis berceaumeerdereGebruik meerdere cultivars met verschillende bloeiperioden. Evt combineren met rozen.
Gouden Regen
(Laburnum anagyroides)
1 cultivar
(Akebia quinata)
1 cultivar
Blauwe Regen
1 of meerdereBlauwe, witte of roze bloemtrossen.
(Trachelospermum jasminoides)
1 cultivar

Voorbeelden van Berceaus

Berceau geleide fruitbomen met leifruit. Perenlaantje, Hendrik Ido Ambacht.

A fruit berceau of trained pear trees (6 cultivars) of 550 meters.

The longest berceau in the Netherlands.

Location: Perenlaantje 3344 HA Hendrik Ido Ambacht (walk out of the residential area and cross the Vrouwgelenweg).

Free access.

Berceau de la Reid / Haagbeuklaan van Haut-Marêt

A hedge plateau of 573 meters with 4700 hornbeams from 1885. The longest berceau in Europe.

Location: 4910 La Reid (Theux), between Chemin de Quarreux and Rue Hautregard, Belgium.

Admission: Free, from sunrise to sunset.

Berceau De Prinsentuin in Groningen

Circular hornbeam berceau from 1626 in a walled city garden.

Location: Turfsingel 41, 9712 KJ Groningen

Admission: Free, from sunrise to sunset.

Berceau De Groene Bedstee in Landgoed Mariëndaal.

A natural berceau 650 meters long with double rows of hornbeams dating from 1865. The trees are planted at an angle and the tops are tied together with iron wire at 4 meters.

A deciduous corridor of trees, without a frame, is also known as a tree leaf or tree vault.

Location: Landgoed Mariëndaal, Arnhem / Oosterbeek

Admission: Free, from sunrise to sunset.

Afbeelding: Haagberceau. De bogen van de loofgang staan los van elkaar.

Image: Haagberceau.

The arches of the foliage are separate from each other.

A foliage of freestanding vaulted arches with beech.

Location: Stationsweg 166A, 2161AM Lisse, in front of the Oranje Nassau building.

Access: see De Keukenhof; only open in spring.

Berceau op Landgoed De Braak in Paterswolde.

Natural beech bereau with treetops intertwined.

Location: Hoofdweg 266, 9765 CM Paterswolde. Admission: Free, from sunrise to sunset.

Afbeelding: Berceau Fagus sylvatica.

Image: Berceau Fagus sylvatica.

Hornbeam berceau with imposing wooden beams.

Location: Royal Park 1, 7315 JA Apeldoorn

Access: see website Paleis Het Loo




Aesthetic Relationships

The proportions of a foliage walk are determined on the one hand by visually attractive proportions of the berceau construction and on the other hand the scale of the construction in relation to objects in the environment, such as a house. The growth properties of the plants (plant height, etc.) also have an influence.

For fruit desks with espaliers, the chosen dimensions of the berceau strongly depend on:

  • espalier type
  • cultivar (properties)
  • soil type

A fruit bar looks the best by keeping only one espalier . For example, two rows of vertical cords or slanted palmettes.

Need Advice about building a Berceau?

Contact Den Delft for advice about construction and planting of a berceau.

More Inspiration? See our Pin board on Pinterest


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