Of all the plants we can add into our home landscapes, trees probably offer the widest range of size, shape, form, and textures to choose from.
Smaller plants, such as annuals, are generally planted into designated beds, borders, or containers. As such, we can’t go too far wrong in the plants we choose, our choices being limited to the plants being offered by our local garden centers just in time for spring planting.
An additional advantage to having a ready selection of these smaller plants to choose from right in front of us in these garden centers is that we can observe the colors of blossoms we want to use together.
Further, the information on the tags that are almost always provided with the in-store annuals helps us to see each plant’s need for sunlight or shade, and tells us the height and spread each plant is expected to achieve.
The same is true for smaller shrubs (like azaleas, dwarf nandina, etc.) and plants used for borders (liriope, etc.).
What we are getting at here is that the addition of annuals and smaller shrubs into your home landscape is not necessarily a permanent or difficult to reverse decision. Plant different colors of annuals next year if you’re unhappy with this year’s selection, or simply dig up and move the smaller shrubs to another location if they feel too crowded or inappropriate where you have placed them.
But what about trees? Not so easy to move if they have grown to an undesirable height or spread. So, one of the first and most important considerations in tree selection is “how big will it get?”
Other considerations are: How well will the tree or trees fit in with the other plants in my landscape? Do I want evergreen or deciduous? (leaves to rake?). Do I want showy spring blooms? Or brilliant leaf color in the autumn?
Here are some suggestions for desirable trees to add into your home landscape.
Flowering dogwood grows small to medium height and spread, also produces colorful spring blooms, and can be used as a stand alone specimen tree or to provide a focal point in beds.
Japanese maple for its smaller to medium size, and its colorful and distinctive leaves.
Weeping cherry for their unique “flowing” form and plentiful beautiful spring blooms.
Dwarf magnolia (if available) for small to medium size, glossy year-round leaves, striking and distinctive shape and form.
One home landscaping tree that has fallen out of favor and that we don’t recommend is the Bradford pear. You might want to read our article Bradford Pear: The Old Standby