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Small gardens are a landscaping gem, and so are trees. No matter how tiny your outdoor space is, there is always a way to enjoy beautiful greenery. Evergreen or deciduous, tall or short, tropical or forest-inspired, the tree options for your small garden are endless.
Keep on reading for some essential tips and advice to help you choose the best trees to plant in your limited outdoor area.
Why plant a tree in your backyard?
Trees come in so many sizes, colors, heights, and variations that with some extra thought they can be specifically selected to fit your landscape design. They make your small garden stand out and could complement all the right features of your tiny outdoor space.
Everyone needs fresh greenery that can fix any bad day just by chilling under the shade or relaxing on a hammock in your own backyard. You can enjoy the seasonal leaf colors, inspiring spring blossoms and some can even retrieve juicy fruits. But what makes trees so great is the fact that they give off oxygen and significantly improve the air we breathe.
What you need to consider beforehand?
Before you go tree shopping, take a step back and think about the best type of trees that will work wonders for your small garden. Consider your exterior, local weather conditions, actual available space, and most importantly – tree specifications. Sometimes the best trees might be the worst for a specific garden.
Height and Spread
The height and spread of a tree are always a deal-breaking factor of huge importance, especially when it comes to the availability of small spaces. It’s essential to set ultimate size limits because maintaining a nice small garden with trees can be quite tricky.
Most trees could grow too big and start causing problems in your homestead and even with your neighbors. Even small ornamental trees can grow extensively and become problematic over time. Whether it dries the soil out, casts too much shade, or its branches start to get in the way, a single tree that once brought you joy can start bringing you a headache.
The strong roots of big trees could cause physical damage to your property. That is why most outdoor and garden enthusiasts pre-consider the risks and avoid planting a tree too close to a building. Sometimes slow-growing trees with huge spread seem like a great idea but they could also disrupt the peace in your small garden. They can damage your house foundations, block out sunlight, and take over precious space in your tiny backyard.
With all these precautions in mind, the best fit for any small garden would be a weeping-form tree or a big and tall shrub. These options leave you with unproblematic and pretty short-height greenery. If your main concern is the spread, a nice columnar tree could do the work for your restricted garden area.
Other tree factors
Some small garden locations are not suitable for ground planting. Spaces such as urban backyard and patios could rarely sustain a classic type of garden. In such cases, you better consider getting a small tree in a pot or container.
Many trees are only able to grow in a certain climate or a specific type of soil. This is another important factor that needs to be considered. So if you like a certain tree but would not be able to provide sufficient growing conditions for it, better change your mind before you invest in pretty greenery you cannot take care of.
Choose your season of interest – when will you spend the most time in your garden. Think about foliage, flowering, fruition, and bark. This way you can narrow the tree options down to greens that thrive during your favorite season.
Popular types of trees to plant in a small garden
Crab apples are a great feature to a tiny garden because they are small-sized, all-rounders, give small ornamental apples and have beautiful white and pink blossoms in springtime. Their fruits are not edible in their raw state but make a great addition to tasty sauces.
These trees grow healthy in partial shade and full sun exposure but require moist and well-drained mixed soil, especially during dry periods. Crab apples thrive when you take care of their soil with a mulch of compost or manure. You can plant them bare-root in autumn and do not forget to prune them in late winter.
Magnolia is probably the most famous tree for garden spaces with exotic appeal. It looks stunning with its white and pink colors, glossy dark green leaves, it also smells amazing, brings positivity, and is rarely problematic for tiny outdoor areas. This ornamental tree tolerates humid weather, wet and damp soil. Always keep the base of the tree moist. A healthy Magnolia requires routine lawn maintenance and seasonal pruning.
Peaches are medium-sized fruit trees that can bring life and color into a boring backyard. The sunny aspect, along with warm weather and a sheltered location encourage Peach trees to bear fruit. Note that fruition comes 2-4 years after a tree is planted.
No need for excessive watering with Peach trees, all that is expected of you is to provide good drainage and water them once a week for the first year. Afterward, water them once every 3 weeks. Seasonal pruning is also required for a healthy crop.
Everybody loves ornamental cherries. They fit the small garden expectations perfectly – they are mid-sized, produce sweet cherries, and are blossoming in spring. Plant them on a sunny site with good air circulation, away from other trees and buildings that might throw shade.
Plant your Cherry tree in early Spring or late Autumn, it requires deep and well-drained soil. Schedule the watering process for once a week. Add compost and low nitrogen fertilizer for the best cherry fruit result.
Figs are great small garden plants. The trees are usually grown for their lobed foliage and extra sweet edible fruits. Figs will grow healthy at a warm but sheltered spot with access to natural sunlight. If you are wondering about where to situate a fig tree, plant it against a wall – this way the greenery could soak up the wall heat during night time.
Either in a pot (to restrict root growth) or in the ground, a fig can survive in any tiny garden. To plant it, you need to dig a hole, fill it partially with manure to restrict the roots. Fill up with compost, firm into place, and water the tree.