I actually did this at my mother's place in El Cajon just before I left in 2006. Before creating a cool forest floor scene, you first need to architect a design which may take a few years to accomplish. Like anyone else, I have that same impatient human desire for instant landscape. And I want it yesterday! Unfortunately urban landscape life or even life in the real wild world doesn't exactly work that way. So you need to create a woodland tree shaded canopy before those soft delicate plants can be installed where you want them.Now again, I'm as impatient and excited as much as the next person, but for me I personally like to choose plants that are in one gallon pots. I know the temptation is to get a Five Gallon Container or even a large Box Tree if you can afford it, but I plead with you, please resist that temptation!
That is pretty much the size I planted in my mother's backyard. They were all no more than six inches tall. No seriously, they were! What I did was create two large curved raised planted beds. What I did was plant them in groupings of three to a bed spaced five foot apart. I wanted to replicate what you see in nature where California Sycamores can often be seen growing in groups of several individuals or at least the same older trees are actually multi-trunk as a result of some suckering from decades previous. Even some storm damage event may have caused this picturesque scene, but nevertheless, that was the design I wanted. So Six, six inch high one gallon Sycamore Trees were planted in groups of three at 4 or 5 foot apart from each other. Here is what they looked like in the Spring of 2011 at five years of age.