A tidy kind of woods.. Suggestions, please
We have a long, gentle downhill slope from our home that has many large oak and hickory trees. Only sparse grass grows there and some dry mosses. Our neighbor to the right keeps his yard raked clean and all brush cut out under his large trees, and while it looks tidy, it doesn't have much aesthetic appeal.
Our neighbor to the left is disabled and he has let his portion go wild. A few fallen trees, dense cover of leaves on the ground, some ferns. Although it is altogether neglected, I prefer the look of his woodsy yard to my tidy neighbor's.
We would like to let our yard go "woodsy" but don't want it to look neglected or unkempt. We lost 7 very large trees during last summer's derecho (storm) and I plan to replant some trees this fall.
So I was wondering what are some of the principles that make the design of a woods view look intentional? What should we keep in mind as we return the backyard to a less sparse state? Are there particular references that would be good to read? Like, if someone were to start planning an arboretum, what principles would they have in mind? I'd like the feel of an arboretum, i like to wander and look at my plantings up close as well as from a distance. We could even put on a small circuitous path around the property. I planted 25 white dogwoods last fall, thinking I needed to get an understory developing. One of my gardening friends indicated that I needed some evergreens to balance all the leggy things. We also have voracious deer here, so they are a consideration.
I want my property to look more natural, a tidy kind of wild woodlands but prefer that it not look like I have just quit taking care of my yard.
I would very much appreciate any suggestions you might have,