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The Best Trees for a Small Yard

Posted on September 06 2018

Sometimes, less is more… and these little beauties are here to prove it for decades to come. Read below to learn more about the best trees for a small yard. 

Seeking the best tree to beautify your small yard or landscape? Look no further. You’re seconds away from a purchase that will bewitch your senses and help transform your small landscape or yard into a botanical wonderland! Picking through a myriad of great options to choose the perfectly tailored tree for a small yard can be tricky. That’s why we’ve collected a spectrum of absolutely breathtaking, reliable, and easy-to-grow varieties that are sure to delight you and embellish your small yard for many years to come.

Check out ten of our best small yard trees below and pick your favorites!



  • Chinese Pistache. As the Ugly Duckling of the arboreal realm, the awkward little Chinese Pistache evolves into a beautiful, majestic, sun-loving, and tough-as-nails tree, growing to become the gorgeous talk of the town and maturing to a moderate height of 25-35 ft. It is distinguished by its impeccable umbrella-shaped canopy that graces the landscape without obnoxiously consuming your small yard. Pistacia chinensis’ dense patchwork of lustrous green leaves provide exemplary shade; these transform into a blazing canopy of copper and crimson fall color. Shop Chinese Pistache. 




  • Tonto Crape Myrtle. For an explosion of fantastic color without the hassle or hoarding size of a large tree, look no further than the charming little Tonto Crape Myrtle. Maturing to a compact size of 8-15 ft., the deciduous Lagerstroemia indica “Tonto” is easily cultivated as a multi-stemmed shrub or a single-trunk tree with an elegant wide spread. Its exquisite fuchsia-crimson blossoms and vivid fall color make it an excellent flowering tree for a small yard; use it as a landscape accent or as a colorful privacy wall. It has decent drought tolerance, is resilient against subzero temperatures and mildew, and has a commendable growth rate once established. Shop Tonto Crape Myrtle.



    • Kousa Dogwood. A compact flowering tree that thrives in urban areas and small yards, Cornus kousa is aesthetically pleasing during every season; its bright red berries, starry-white blossoms, vivid fall color, and sheltering leaves also attract a variety of wildlife. Compared to other Dogwood species, the Kousa Dogwood showcases outstanding resilience to most pests, diseases, and moderate drought. Under optimal conditions, this tree has a medium growth rate and can reach a moderate height of 15-25 ft. with a generous 25 ft. spread, making it a brilliant choice to include in any small yard. It can be grown either as a sole-trunked small tree or cultivated as a multi-stemmed tall shrub. Shop 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 urban, cottage, and courtyard gardens. Shop Red Japanese Maple. 




    • Krauter Vesuvius Plum. Characterized by its seasonal eruptions of color and beauty, the spindly little Prunus cerasifera “Krauter Vesuvius” grows to become a fantastically rounded and densely-leaved flowering tree that can otherwise be cultivated as a shrub, growing to a moderate height of 15-30 ft. Its branches erupt in a profusion of wonderfully fragrant blossoms, five-petaled and snow-white or pastel-pink, that festoon the tree throughout early spring; the tree’s fabulous royal-purple leaves remain on the tree from spring to winter (ensuring amazing fall color). This sensitive specimen’s jaw-dropping beauty ensures its place as a phenomenal and envy-worthy option for any small yard or garden. Shop Krauter Vesuvius Plum. 




    • 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. 




    • Royal Purple Smoketree. Sometimes seeming more heavenly cloud than tree, the delightfully resilient Royal Purple Smoketree is a fashion-forward specimen that adorns itself in mesmerizing foliage and ethereal smoke-like clusters of dark pink flowers. Its leaves darken over time to become the rich scarlet-purple of delectable wine; its fall colors mark the leaves’ reversion to their former maroon-red vibrancy. Cotinus coggygria “Royal Purple” typically scrapes heights of 10-15 ft. with a 15-20 ft. spread. Given its spectacular tolerance to major pests, diseases, deer, and a variety of soil conditions, this flowering tree is a no-brainer when it comes to choosing a reliable standalone specimen or a shrub border for your small yard. Shop Royal Purple Smoketree. 




    • Flowering Dogwood. Thanks to its year-round beauty, Cornus florida is an all-American favorite prized for its gorgeous flowers, its vivid fall colors that range from burgundy to reddish-purple, and its glossy berries. As one of the nation’s most popular understory trees, this flowering tree’s 15-30 ft. height and respective spread make it an excellent specimen for small yards. Broadly pyramidal, it blooms from April to May, annually crowned with a beautiful array of pastel-colored blossoms that contrast handsomely against its dark leaves and highlight the tree’s shapely rounded canopy. Shop Flowering Dogwood. 




    • Ann Magnolia. Cute, compact, and colorful, the adorable Magnolia “Ann” is an absolute charmer in the springtime when its fragrant chalice-shaped blossoms erupt in a gorgeous profusion of magenta and lavender-pink colors. Growing at a moderate pace, this flowering tree develops a rounded structure and typically reaches a height of 8-10 ft. when fully mature. Its compact structure makes it an extremely elegant little specimen for small yards, including city or cottage gardens, and it can easily thrive as an understory species. Shop Ann Magnolia. 




    • Sassafras. For sugar and spice and all things nice, look no further than the stunning patchwork of fall colors on the Sassafras tree, a fragrant beauty that gives your yard an annual pop of pigments.  This tough, round-canopied species is characterized by either three-lobed or unique “mitten” leaves that shift from quiet green hues to bewitching autumn colors ranging from spicy golden-orange and bronze to crimson-purple and burgundy. Graceful and low-maintenance, Sassafras albidum can be cultivated as a multi-stemmed shrub or a single-trunk tree within your small yard, typically growing 1-2 ft. per year. Shop Sassafras. 



    • American Hop Hornbeam. The slow-growing American Hop Hornbeam (also known as the “Ironwood”) extends to heights of 25-40 ft. with its branches spanning out to encompass approximately 20-30 ft., rendering it a magnificent statement tree that may reign over the arboreal kingdom of your small yard. Ostrya virginiana’s long slender limbs are decked with yellow-jade foliage, featuring alternate leaves. This canopy transforms into a tapestry of golden-beige fall colors. Serviceable and self-effacing, the American Hop Hornbeam makes for a brawny small yard tree  due to its sturdy build, charming fall foliage, and symmetrical rounded structure. 




    • Sourwood. Don’t let the Sourwood’s name fool you; this tough little tree produces sweetly fragrant blossoms and erupts in fiery fall colors, bursting with chromatism every summer and autumn. Hailed as a tree for all seasons, the Sourwood is easy to care for; it thrives in a variety of conditions and is resilient against major pests. Oxydendrum arboreum is an optimal choice as a specimen tree or as a hedge for your small yard, steadily growing to become a handsome medium-sized tree (growing to heights of 25-30 ft. with a 20 ft. spread), and enlivening every autumn landscape with its leafy patchwork of crimson, purple, and golden-bronze. Shop Sourwood. 


    Within our lush nursery, we cultivate and provide a healthy and vigorous array of dependable and gorgeous trees that are most optimal for your small yard; we’re here to help you tailor your selection to your exact needs. We know that, sometimes, less is more. If you’ve got a small space in need of gorgeous fall colors or impeccable spring blossoms, you are sure to find the perfect tree that will suit your budget, taste, and the scope of your small yard. Great things come in small packages!