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8 Small Trees for Your Front Yard

by Cristina Oprean
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4 min. read

The front yard is a great place to put your stamp on your home, allowing passersby a glimpse at your style. It can also be a fantastic place to relax and enjoy a touch of nature.

There are many ways you can transform your front yard into far more than simply a driveway for your car. Of course, planting flowers and shrubs is a given, but you might also find space for a small tree.

With that in mind, we’ll look at eight small trees that are guaranteed to make your front yard look stunning.

Crabapple Tree

Crabapple tree

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With its fragrant, colorful blooms, rich foliage and tart fruits, a crabapple tree makes a fantastic addition to any front yard. While the fruit itself isn’t particularly nice to eat, you can do many things with the apples. From jelly to cider and sauces, it’s amazingly versatile. You can choose from many varieties with different colored blooms and leaves. If you’re low on space, there are also dwarf crabapple trees like Cinderella (also known as CinZam) that only grow up to 8 feet tall and can even be potted.

Japanese Maple

Japanese mapple

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A classic front yard tree, the Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum) adds a splash of color and a sense of style. Besides looking great, they have shallow roots that won’t grow into your foundation, making them a top choice for any front yard. You’ll find a wide variety of cultivars available, and they typically grow slowly, up to around 6 feet. Dwarf varieties like ‘Sangokaku’ are great if space is tight and look stunning in an ornamental pot.

Dappled Willow

Dappled willow

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Willows are iconic riverside trees, but they can also look superb in your front yard. They’re low-maintenance and thrive in damp conditions, ideal if you have a wet but sunny spot around. With pink-tinged leaves and delicately arching branches, they take well to pruning and look great when rounded. They’re fast growers and can reach a maximum height of 8 to 10 feet in a few seasons. By planting several in a row, you can also use Dappled Willow to form a pretty border.

Lilac

Lilac

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With bright purple blooms that release a gorgeous scent, lilac trees are another fantastic addition to your front yard. They’re among the first trees to bloom in springtime, and with shallow roots, there’s little risk to your foundation. To be safe, just make sure to plant it at least four feet from the house in a sunny spot. On average, lilacs can grow up to 15 feet in height, but smaller varieties like Korean Dwarf lilacs tend to max out at around six feet.

Strawberry Tree

Strawberry tree

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The strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo) doesn’t actually produce strawberries, but it does make edible fruits that look very much like them. Its peeling, reddish bark and shiny deep green leaves make for a fantastic decorative piece. The strawberry tree typically grows to around 8 to 10 feet, is reasonably drought tolerant and low maintenance, and can be grown as a shrub or pruned as a single trunk tree.

Magnolia

Magnolia

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Magnolias are other early bloomers, producing large, fragrant, star-shaped flowers in early spring. Easy to care for and largely disease-resistant, they grow slowly to a maximum height of around 10 feet and are great for your front yard. You’ll find several varieties available to suit the climate where you are, though the iconic Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) is perhaps the most common.

Rowan

Rowan tree

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If you’re looking to attract birds to your front yard, then a Rowan tree is a superb choice. It produces red berries that lure birds, such as thrushes like a magnet. In addition, the gorgeous green foliage turns a deep red in autumn, which contrasts with the pale trunk beautifully. There are several cultivars available, but for the most part, it’s best to stick with native species as these tend to be more resistant to pests and disease. They can reach a maximum height of around 20 feet, but they’re slow growers and take up to 20 years to get there.

Ceanothus

Ceanothus

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Also known as the California Lilac, this stunningly vibrant shrub/small tree will undoubtedly make your front yard stand out. Known for its fabulous long-lasting blue flowers, it’s a hit with bees and other pollinators. Ceanothus loves a sunny, sheltered spot, and given these conditions, it’s relatively easy to grow. This nitrogen-fixing tree is excellent for enriching your soil and typically grows to around 10 feet tall, though some varieties can reach 20 feet.

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