Best Ornamental Trees for Your Yard
Beautiful ornamental trees for your home landscape with a feast for the senses…
Ornamental trees are prized for multiple reasons; like other types of trees, they can offer shade, attract wildlife, increase the value of your property, and pleasantly break the monotony of a view or landscape. The best ornamental trees also have an enduring beauty that lasts through multiple seasons, naturally and effortlessly beautifying home landscapes with colorful blossoms, brilliant fall colors, delectable fruit, uniquely hued bark and an elegant structure, distinctive leaves, or a combination of the above. Having such an ornamental tree in your garden, small yard, or large landscape is sheer joy.
Check out ten of our best ornamental trees below and pick your favorites!
- Eastern Redbud. Cercis canadensis is a gorgeous ornamental selection even for small yards, particularly given its bursts of spring and fall colors. It is celebrated for its hardiness, stability, and fire tolerance. This flowering tree’s heart-shaped dusky leaves morph into an illuminating autumnal patchwork of gold, copper, and sunny yellow-green. Its best pigments, of course, are reserved for another season: it is one of the first trees to excitedly announce spring’s arrival, unfurling decadent rose-violent flowers from its slender brown twigs. Shop Eastern Redbud.
- Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry. Harboring enough beauty, strength, and pluck to reinforce its mouthful of a title, this flowering tree is a bit more compact than other serviceberry species, emerging as a multi-stemmed shrub that can be pruned and cultivated to become a small tree, with a rounded canopy scraping up to 15-25 ft. and a respective 15-25 ft. spread. It produces lavish clusters of snow-white blossoms that faintly emit a lovely perfume, as well as edible royal-purple berries the size of blueberries. For most of the year, Amelanchier x grandiflora “Autumn Brilliance” is adorned with a lush canopy of dark green leaves, which are later traced with Mother Nature’s fiery brushstrokes to showcase fall colors of orange, copper, and burgundy. Given its ornamental value, smaller size, and aesthetic appeal, the Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry is a prevalent choice for small yards and gardens. Shop Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry.
- Kousa Dogwood. Cornus kousa is a gardener’s dream-come-true, fusing delicate beauty with surprising resilience. As a compact specimen that thrives even in urban small yards, this flowering tree is aesthetically pleasing during every single season. In the spring, its pale white bracts resemble petals; they’re so intriguingly patterned that it appears that the tree is crowned with small white stars. Later in the year, the ornamental Kousa Dogwood’s lush green foliage takes on vibrant red fall colors, transforming into a truly autumnal canopy. Kousa Dogwood.
- Red Japanese Maple. Set your small yard aflame with the majestic fall colors of the Red Japanese Maple, a magnificent specimen with enchanting beauty and natural hardiness. Charmingly structured with elegant branches and seven-lobed leaves, Acer palmatum “atropurpureum” reaches full maturity after 20-50 years. It grows to an average height and spread of 15-20 ft., with a rounded crown and spreading silhouette, and can be alternatively cultivated as a bonsai tree. The Red Japanese Maple requires little maintenance; due to its easy cultivation and magnificent ornamental beauty, this specimen is a very popular choice for small yards and gardens. Shop Red Japanese Maple.
- Dolgo Crabapple. Rich colors and flavors make the Dolgo Crabapple an undeniable favorite when it comes to picking a valuable and ornamental flowering tree for your small yard since this species guarantees both romantic spring blossoms and handsome fall color. Snow white and rose red, Malus x “Dolgo” may seem like a tree extracted from a fairy tale; peeking out of its glossy green leaves, this specimen’s spring flowers are wide, white, and wonderful, lasting for weeks on end. A shift in seasons brings on delicious scarlet apples in August and sunny gold foliage in autumn. Shop Dolgo Crabapple.
- Kwanzan Cherry. The most popular of the cherry blossom varieties and a national landmark in D.C., the Kwanzan Cherry is a gorgeous flowering tree that can add a burst of sumptuous color to any yard or landscape. Prunus kwanzan is low-maintenance and adores the sun; it is best characterized by breathtaking spring blossoms—typically pastel pink in color—which unfurl from April to May. This ornamental flowering tree’s vibrancy is enhanced by its lush green foliage, which transitions to golden-bronze fall colors. Shop Kwanzan Cherry.
- Sioux Crepe Myrtle. Tough, tenacious, and the bearer of tremendously beautiful rose-pink summer blossoms, the flowering Sioux Crape Myrtle typically doesn’t grow over 13-20 ft., making it an ideal specimen for small yards. Lagerstroemia x “Sioux”’s dense green foliage is punctuated in the summer by gorgeous coral-pink blossoms that begin blooming in June and continue to flourish until autumn. The ornamental Sioux Crape Myrtle’s fall colors tend to showcase shades of mauve, scarlet, and reddish-purple, maintaining this tree’s aesthetic appeal and providing your landscape with glowing vibrancy. Even its bark is intriguing; the older layer is exfoliated and gives way to the lighter-hued bark beneath it, with the interwoven beige-brown layers providing the Sioux Crape Myrtle’s trunk with a beautiful marbled appearance. Shop Sioux Crepe Myrtle.
- White Fringetree. Who’s the fairest of them all? The Snow White of the arboreal realm—Chionanthus virginicus—is a definite contestant. This enchanting flowering tree is prized for its fall colors, its compact size that makes it ideal for small yards, and its clusters of drooping blossoms that appear like a shimmering cloud of heavenly gold-green and white pinned in place by the tree’s branches. The White Fringetree’s leaves are unusually textured, being smooth on top and downy underneath. This foliage brightens to rich gold-yellow and cinnamon brown pigments in autumn. Note that this ornamental specimen can be cultivated either as a tall shrub with multiple trunks or as a small tree. Shop White Fringetree.
- Chinese Pistache. As the Ugly Duckling of the arboreal realm, the misshapen young Chinese Pistache evolves into a beautiful, majestic, sun-loving, and tough-as-nails ornamental flowering tree. It grows to become the gorgeous talk of the town, maturing to a moderate height of 25-35 ft. with an impeccable umbrella-shaped canopy that beautifies the landscape without obnoxiously consuming your small yard. Pistacia chinesis’ dense canopy provides exemplary shade as a patchwork of lustrous green leaves; best of all, these transform into a blazing canopy of copper and crimson fall color! Shop Chinese Pistache.
Van Gogh is quoted to have said, “If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere.” We believe that this is the case—and we believe in taking that one step further, too, by planting beauty everywhere. Within our lush nursery, we cultivate and provide a healthy and vigorous array of dependable and gorgeous ornamental trees that are most optimal for your property; we’re here to help you tailor your selection to your exact needs.
- Jackie Errico