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Small Garden Trees

Many of us live in urban areas or have limited space in our gardens. Making small gardens look good can be challenging, especially if you're worried about how much your beautiful plants will grow. Plants are one thing, when you consider trees, many small garden owners are reluctant to consider trees because they are worried that trees will take up too much space. Selecting the right tree however can transform your small space and you don't need to worry about overcrowding. What trees are they though? Read this guide about small garden trees to discover more and shop the full range of small trees at Gardeners Dream!

What Are the Best Trees for Small Gardens?

In deciding which tree is best for your garden, there are a number of things you should consider.

  • How much sun does your garden get?

  • What soil type do you have?

  • What type of look are you wanting?

  • Do you want fruits/flowers/berries?

  • Do you want an evergreen tree/deciduous tree?

  • Do you want a tree that is easy to maintain?

Once you have answered these questions you should have a pretty good idea about which tree is best for your garden. This guide details a large range of trees that fall under the abovementioned categories so if you're finding it tricky to decide - read on.

Decorating Smaller Gardens

Small gardens present challenges that mid-sized and large gardens don't. First and foremost, space is almost always the primary concern when trying to decorate your small garden. You want to fill your garden space with lovely plants, trees and flowers but at the same time need to be careful with how you do that.

A small garden can go from well-presented to overcrowded without much margin for error in-between.

Other than space, smaller spaces tend to also have issues with getting adequate sunlight. Urban gardens are often quite boxy, and fences can cast a lot of shade on areas where we would otherwise prefer sunlight. It is rare to find urban gardens with light shade or full sun.

Instead, it is very common to find town/city gardens marred by full shade or at best partial shade.

Whether you have partial shade, full-shade, or no shade, we have great tree options that will thrive in your garden - even climbing trees! Shop these at Gardeners Dream.

Flowering Trees for Small Gardens

One of the single best ways to transform your garden into a beautiful and interesting place is to plant flowering trees.

Flowering trees provide focal points that can easily distract from any lack of space you may have. They also add bursts of colour that adds dynamism to your small garden.

Below we have outlined the different types of trees you can plant to add various colours to your garden - with a specific focus on smaller spaces.

If you want to jump right in, explore our wide range of flowering trees at Gardeners Dream.

White Flowers/White Spring Flowers

White flowers add a clean and pure aesthetic to your garden. If you're looking to create a tranquil retreat, then white flowers are perfect. Here are our favourite white flower trees for small gardens;

  • Kousa Dogwood - This tree is a small gem, rarely reaching over 10 metres and it can be easily managed/cut back to keep it to a preferable size.

  • Star Magnolia - A small tree with large white flowers that has a very respectable stature of 6 metres.

  • Flowering Crab Apple - If you're looking for white spring blossom then you can't go wrong with a flowering crab apple tree.

We also stock a big range of other trees as well as these that produce decadent white blooms. Check out Gardener's Dream for our white flower tree selection!

Lovely Spring Blossom

It is amazing to have a tree that welcomes in spring with lovely spring blossom. These trees are showy throughout spring and sometimes hold their blossom well into the early summer. We love selling these to Gardeners Dream customers!

  • Hawthorn

  • Blackthorn

  • Wild Pear

  • Sallow

All of these trees can be utilised in small spaces, but some will need a bit of management to stop them overgrowing. Check out our range of spring blossom trees on Gardener's Dream!

Yellow Flowers/Long Yellow Catkins

Yellow flowers are cheery and can brighten gardens in ways that other colours don't. Yellow flowers are perfect for attracting wildlife such as bees who are drawn to them for the nectar. Here are some of our favourite yellow flower trees;

  • Angel Trumpet Tree

  • Golden Chain Tree

  • Golden Rain Tree

  • Witch Hazel

For trees that produce long yellow catkins;

  • Pedunculate Oak

  • Hazel

Oak trees can grow extremely large, but they are slow growing in general which can be an advantage if you do intend to plant them in a smaller space. You will need to be hands on with an oak tree, but if you tackle overgrowth year on year and cut back the tree you can contain an oak tree.

We have many other yellow flower and catkin trees so make sure to visit Gardener's Dream for a wider selection!

Pink Flowers

Pink flowers can add an element of mystery and romanticism to our gardens. Our picks for the best pink buds and pink flowers are;

  • Kwanzan Cherry

  • Flowering Almond Tree

  • Jane Magnolia

  • Crepe Myrtle

Some of these trees prefer full sun, so if your small garden isn't particularly sun-blessed it might be best to choose another tree. You can read full descriptions of the trees and their growing conditions on our store at Gardener's Dream. It makes finding a suitable tree very easy!

Ornamental Cherry Trees

Ornamental cherry trees are incredibly popular and absolutely perfect if you have a small garden. They tend to be small trees or smaller trees that offer a lot of colour and look stunning in general.

If you have wanted an orchard cherry tree, then ornamental trees can be a great alternative - predominantly chosen for their showy flower displays. These trees often serve as a specimen tree or centrepiece for small gardens.

We have a large selection and if you're looking for an ornamental cherry check out Gardener's Dream!

Low Maintenance Trees for Small Gardens

Our lives are becoming busier and for some gardeners it can be difficult to find the time to get green-fingered. If you're pressed for time but still want beautiful small trees, then these low maintenance trees are our favourite trees;

  • Olive Trees

  • Mountain Ash

  • Japanese Maples

  • Crab Apples (Apple trees in general are typically smaller)

These trees are easy growers although olive trees tend to need plenty of sun or a sunny spot. If you're planting an olive tree or a crab apple tree, they can also produce edible fruit (this is rarer for an olive tree in the UK). That means providing you have the time to go out and pick the fruit, these low care options are excellent.

To see what other trees produce edible fruit trees (plum trees/apple trees) are great for small gardens check out Gardener's Dream.

If you don't want to collect the fruit, having a fruit littered floor from a small tree is perfect for attracting wildlife (birds love fallen fruit).

Slow Growing Small Trees

Slow growing trees have a number of advantages when used in small gardens.

They are easier to care for because they don't grow as quickly, and they don't need to be cut back as often. This will also allow you to carefully cultivate the slow growing small tree to fit the area you want to grow it in. What's more, slow growth doesn't mean dull, these trees are captivating and worthy of any garden showpiece.

Here are our favourite trees that are slow growers;

  • Japanese Maple

  • Paper Bark Maple

  • Olive Trees

  • Fig Trees (perfect if you want to attract birds)

There are so many trees that grow on the slower side, so check out Gardener's Dream for our full selection.

Evergreen Trees/Year Round Interest

Evergreen trees are some of the best trees for small areas. They provide colour all year round and have distinctive and attractive light green leaves/foliage. The beauty of evergreen varieties is they can be cut back easily and moulded to fit your garden space. Many people opt to use evergreens for hedges for this exact reason.

Most deciduous trees begin to shed their leaves in the early autumn, whereas evergreen types retain theirs. In the UK there is a rule about keeping two or more evergreens in a row to a maximum height of 2 metres - something that gives you the perfect excuse to plant them in your small garden.

Another advantage of evergreen types is that their root networks tend to be more contained and less intrusive, meaning you don't need to worry about interference with existing structures. Here are some evergreen options;

  • Conifers (a broad range and often considered the best evergreen tree family)

  • Bay Tree

  • Cottoneaster (produces bright red berries/red berries and crimson berries)

There are so many evergreen varieties to choose from so check out our Gardener's Dream store for more!

Interesting Bark

An often-overlooked aspect of garden trees is the bark and glossy foliage.

Having a tree with intriguing bark can provide an additional focal point. From peeling bark to bark that presents in unusual shape or colour, having a bark type that is interesting can transform your garden space.

Here are some of the best trees with unusual bark;

  • Silver Birch Trees

  • Paper Bark Maple

  • Crepe Myrtle

Bark adds colour at times when the tree is dormant as well, so if you're looking for winter or autumn colour you can't go wrong. We have an extensive selection of bark types to transform your outdoor space so check out Gardener's Dream for more!

Growing Conditions for Trees

Your tree growing conditions will vary depending on the type of tree. With many trees you can plant with bare roots and the tree will turn from a sapling to a mature tree with no problems at all.

Other trees aren't suitable for bare roots planting and may need to be pot grown initially to create a controlled initial growing environment.

Soil Types for Tree Growth

Some tree species need moist soil while others love damp soil. Other trees prefer drier growing conditions or well-drained soil.

The soil type that is most suitable for your tree will be detailed on the grower's guide label attached to your tree or if you're shopping online on Gardener's Dream, we provide detailed soil information before you purchase.

Tree Height (Ultimate Height)

You will notice many tree descriptions give an ultimate height. Sometimes these heights can be staggering and despite being an indication of the height a tree can reach - more often than not they will fall short.

This is for a number of reasons;

  • Maximum heights are only really achieved in optimal growing conditions so you shouldn't be overly concerned with vertical space.

  • Trees are typically slow to grow, even if you have optimal conditions, it can take hundreds of years for a tree to approach a maximum height.

To calculate the most accurate height and ensure your vertical space is sufficient, you should look at the expected rate of growth per year.

When to Plant Trees for Small Gardens?

To get the best trees you will want to plant them at the right time. Again, it will depend entirely on the tree/large shrub you have chosen.

Some trees prefer to be planted in their dormant phase while others are best planted from pots when they have had a little time to develop a root network and establish.

Height and Spread Concerns

Following on from our section about heights, you may also be concerned about how much spread your trees for small gardens will have.

Your tree description will give you a maximum spread and allow you to plan accordingly. Both height and spread can be curtailed with cutting back the tree.

Sunlight Concerns

It isn't uncommon for small gardens to have dappled shade or be an altogether sheltered spot. We all want trees with glossy green leaves and lots of health, so it is important to select the best trees for small areas with limited sunlight if possible.

It could be the case you avoid planting in a sheltered spot and plant in a sunny spot instead. Tiny gardens are notoriously difficult to plant trees in because the sunlight reaching them is limited.

If you're trying to kit out your tiny gardens with trees check out our store which has plenty of solutions! We also offer free standard delivery across the UK on all orders - even bulky trees! It's much easier than shopping at the nearest garden centre. Browse the full range of small trees at Gardeners Dream to learn more.

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