While the days of the quarter acre block may be behind us, the dream of having a beautiful backyard to escape to on the weekends is still very much with us. Somewhere to host parties, sit with your coffee and sunday paper, or a place for kids to expend some energy and explore nature.
However you use your backyard, you are going to want to make it a beautiful and relaxing place to be. And when a garden is on the smaller side, it only takes a few changes to transform the space.
Trees are the most obvious and most impactful update you can make in a garden. They will dictate the character of the garden with their different colours, textures and forms. They can provide us with shade and interest, and food and shelter for local wildlife.
No backyard is complete without at least one lovely tree. Read on to find out our favourite trees for small backyards.
If you like a garden that is neat and formal, this is an excellent small tree with elegant form and subtle interest.Used extensively thought the great gardens of Europe for its versatility ans tolerance of the urban environment, Tilia Greenspire grows with a dense, evenly shaped canopy that is perfect for formal garden Plant four in a square to create an overhead canopy for an outdoor dining area. They are great screening plants when planted along the boundary, or set in the middle of a garden bed with a mass underplanting.
A broad and rounded tree with relaxed charm, the Chinese Pistachio is hardy and colourful. Pistacia chinensis is a great choice for when you want a low fuss, simple garden that is still full of colour and interest. The branches can be left to grow low to the ground for children to climb, or pruned up to create a cool spot to sit on a Summer’s day. The dark green foliage of Summer turns copper and crimson in Autumn, truly some of the best seasonal colours on offer.
If you have ever visited us here at The Tree Shop, you have very probably heard us singing the praises of this wonderful native tree. Not only does it grow to a super convenient 8-12m tall by 3-4m wide, it is a lush evergreen that shows beautiful seasonal colours.
New growth flushes with coppery tones, fading through lime green before maturing to a dark green with silver bloom. When old foliage is shed, it turns a bright, jewel like crimson. In late spring masses of small, blush coloured flowers cover the tree from head to toe, extending the Spring blossom season.
Elaeocarpus respond well to pruning, so if you want to maintain a smaller tree they are happy to oblige.
For later Summer flowers and fiery Autumn tones, there are few trees that are as hardy and beautiful as the Crepe Myrtles. We especially love this white flowers variety with larger leaves and a more weeping habit. The bright green foliage with plumes of white flowers is a crisp and clean effect. In Autumn the canopy is a glittering mix or reds, orange and gold and in Winter the silky, mottled trunk is a striking sculptural element.
Crepe myrtles loved to be pruned hard each Winter, so it is easy to control the shape and size of these lovely small trees.
With the elegance and beauty of a Silver birch, but a more upright habit, the Moss White Birch is perfect for small gardens. Fine, bright green foliage casts dappled shade throughout Summer and turns brilliant gold in Autumn. The bright white bark of the trunk and branches give this tree year round appeal. Instead of the branches drooping down to the ground, they are held upright, allowing the space underneath them to be utilised.
The Moss White Birch is a charming tree that adds a touch of whimsy to cottage and woodland style gardens.
With a magical display of Spring blooms and rich Autumn tones, The Eddie’s White Wonder Dogwood is a show stopping small tree. A more narrow form of Dogwood, Eddie’s White Wonder suits protected gardens or garden beds against houses, where they are protected from harsh winds and the worst afternoon heat. Large white flowers sit atop the branches throughout Spring and the large leaves are perfect for showing off the rich red Autumn colours.
A sleek tree that smells as good as it looks, this dwarf Lemon Scented Gum is sure to please you and the local wildlife.
An iconic Australian tree but in a backyard friendly size, this slender evergreen is perfect for soft screening and adding a vertical element to the garden.
Growing to a height of 7m and width of 3-4m, the dense canopy of long, pendulous foliage carries the distinctive lemon-citronella scent. In Summer nectar filled cream flowers hand in the branches, and the smooth, satin like bark is a feature in itself.
A hardy narrow tree for a sunny spot, they look great reaching up from behind shrubs, or made a real feature with nothing but a carpet of Myoporum at its feet.
If your garden is in need of some bold colour, but you don’t want to go with a deciduous Crepe Myrtle, this compact growing native may be just what you are searching for.
With a dense canopy of large gum leaves, this grafted flowering gum variety can reach a size of 6m tall by 3-4m wide. In Summer the canopy is covered in a mass of crimson red flowers, that as the season passes, develop into oversized gum nuts that are very decorative.
An excellent choice for attracting wildlife to the garden, its bold colours make it a standout in the landscape.
A hardy weeping tree that can be used as a feature or a structure, The Weeping Mulberry will add unique character to your garden.
The large foliage of the Weeping Mulberry is lime green in Spring and Summer, turning a buttery yellow in Autumn. Grown on a 1.8m standard, but capable of reaching a size of 4mx4m, the Weeping Mulberry quickly develops a contorted, woody structure, giving it a variety of uses.
It works well as a small feature tree, but if left to weep to the ground, it makes a wonderful living cubbyhouse for children to explore. Or plant 2 or 4 together, in amongst perennials and larger trees, pruning out the inner branches and cutting in a doorway to create a shaded arbor. The perfect spot to hide from the Summer Sun.
This tree is not at all what most people imagine when they think of native trees. Tristaniopsis Luscious is indeed lush, with glossy foliage, emerging copper before turning lime and dark green. It has a neat form, reaching 8-12m tall and 4-5m wide. It has a beautiful creamy grey trunk that contrasts beautifully against the darker foliage, and clusters of small yellow flowers in Summer. This gorgeous evergreen tree can be used as a stand alone, or used for informal screening.