Choosing the Right Trees for Your Yard: 5 Factors to Consider

Maybe you’re pining for a giant maple tree with a tire swing, but you have a small city yard.

Want to branch out and add some great fall color, but you’re stumped?

How to choose trees for your yard?

Outback landscape designer Kirk Jeppesen shares the factors he keeps in mind when he ponders what trees are best for a property.

1. How Windy Is It?

Is every day a bad hair day once you step out onto your patio?

“Idaho is pretty windy,” Jeppesen says. So he often chooses trees that can be a good wind break.

“Evergreens, such as spruce trees, are always a great option for that,” he says. “Not only do they limit the wind, they also limit snow from drifting in the winter.”

CC - Candian Hemlock

Jeppesen often opts for evergreens over deciduous trees since they serve a purpose throughout all the seasons.

“They also offer a nice winter framework when everything else dies back,” he says. “So we’ll incorporate them throughout the property.”

He loves Colorado Spruce If the property is large enough to accommodate its towering height. Dwarf varieties like Baby Blue Eyes Spruce are great for smaller properties.

2. Sizing Up Trees for Landscaping

Be sure to research the size of a tree at full maturity before you plant it, Jeppesen says.

Do you want it to shade your patio or your backyard playground? Make sure it’ll get tall enough.

What trees are best for shade? Jeppesen loves the fast-growing Honey locust and the Greenspire Linden, with its tall and wide canopy.

CC -Swedish Aspen Tree

If you have a small yard, is there enough room for trees? Sure!

How to choose a tree for small spaces? Think dwarf varieties that stay on the small side so they don't overwhelm your small yard.

Dwarf Mountain Ash tops out at about 13 feet, and offers pretty white flowers in the spring and fall berries birds love.

Ivory Halo Dogwood is a dwarf variety prized for its brilliant red winter stems, pretty variegated foliage, and compact size.

Columnar trees are another great small-yard choice.

They grow up instead of spreading out, adding majestic height without taking up too much space.

Columnar Norway Maple produces yellow flowers in the spring and yellow leaves in the fall.

Chanticleer Pear Trees aren’t exactly columnar but are narrow, taking up less space than most trees. Bonus: Dazzling white flowers in early spring.

Read our Detailed Guide to Planning your Landscape Design in Idaho

3. How to Choose a Tree? Think Seasonal Color

“We definitely look at fall colors when choosing the layout of trees,” Jeppesen says. “Bouncing the yellows, reds, and oranges across the property is always appealing.

“But fall isn’t the only season we look at,” he says. “Spring is great for flowering trees. They’re some of the first things to bloom, so we try and place them in areas that accent or frame a house or entrance.”

4. What Trees Are Best for Low Maintenance?

Ask anybody if they want a high-maintenance tree and you won’t get many takers, Jeppesen says.

But everybody loves a flowering tree.

prairiefire crabapple tree

Crabapples are stunning, but they drop messy fruit, he says. The good news: there are fruitless varieties.

Try a Spring Snow Crabapple, he suggests, or a fruitless ornamental pear.

5. Need Privacy? What Trees Are Best?

Sometimes you need a tree for a specific purpose — like to screen your blissful patio from the noisy neighbors.

You’re in luck: several great trees for landscaping offer a nice buffer:

  • Swedish Aspen is hardy and offers pretty fall color. Its rounded leaves rustle in the breeze, adding a soothing sound to your private oasis. Plus, it’s narrow, so it’s great for small spaces.
  • Green Giant Arborvitae is a vigorous, fast-growing evergreen that grows as much as 3 feet per year. In a hurry for that privacy screen? It’s perfect. Its rich green foliage is resistant to wind once it’s established, and it can withstand heavy ice or snow.
  • Canadian Hemlock is a great privacy tree for picky conditions. It thrives in the cold, doesn’t mind poor soil and is happy in sun or shade. Plant a few of them together and they’ll grow into a dense privacy hedge that also offers protective winter cover for birds and small furry critters.

How to Choose Trees for Your Yard? Trust Outback

Stumped about how to choose trees for your yard? We’d love to help. We love this stuff.

And remember, once you’ve decided on trees for your landscaping, there’s still important work to do.

Landscaping services in Idaho Falls, ID include proper planting of trees, too. And it’s a whole big thing.

If planted in the wrong spot, a tree’s roots can penetrate the joints in pipes and grow into cracks in foundations. You could end up with a compromised basement wall, septic system or sewer connection, which can be expensive to fix.

poplar trees as a windbreak

Proper spacing is important, too. Make sure all of your trees have the proper room to grow both canopy and roots.

Put a pro on the job.

Outback Landscape is a full-service landscaping company offering landscape design and installation in Idaho Falls, ID and throughout Southeast Idaho and Wyoming.

We install beautiful, functional landscapes. But our work doesn’t stop there. We’ll stay with you for the long haul, taking care of your property through all four seasons.

We serve residential and commercial properties in Idaho Falls, Rexburg and Pocatello, Idaho, as well as Bonneville, Madison and Bannock counties.

Call us at 208-656-3220 or fill out our contact form to schedule a no-obligation meeting with one of our team members. 

We can’t wait to hear from you.

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