Choosing the right tree for your yard takes a lot of planning and consideration. You should start this process by asking: What reason do I want or need a tree? Is it for shade, privacy, or appearance? Many trees start out looking great and only get better as they age. Others have the potential to create a generation of issues as they may drop messy bark, sap, acorns, etc. Therefore, it is very important to take your time and choose a tree that offers the best combination of everything you are looking for.
How fast a tree grows should also be taken into consideration. Do you need shade or privacy now, or can you wait several years? Slower growing trees are hardwoods and they tend to live longer. However, if you need shade or other benefits soon, you best choose a fast-growing tree. Typically, these types of trees are smaller, have soft wood, and might not live as long.
You should also choose a tree to fit its surroundings. If you have a smaller home, it’s recommended to choose a small or medium size tree. We also recommend planting smaller trees near the house and taller ones farther out in the yard or near its edge. Not only do trees balance the layout of any outdoor space, but deciduous trees can block between 60% and 90% of the summer sun’s rays. This valuable shade can help other plants or shrubs that may not fair well in direct sun and help decrease your cooling bills. Here are a few trees to consider:
Crabapple: The crabapple tree is the perfect first tree to have in your yard, as it produces beautiful blossoms as well as fruit. When spring comes, you’ll first see vivid pink buds sprout all over your crabapple tree. These buds will turn into white blossoms and small apples that ripen in late summer and fall.
Japanese Maple: With the Japanese maple’s striking colors and size versatility, these trees are a classic staple for gardeners everywhere. A Japanese maple typically reaches its peak colors in November, when the leaves blaze in yellows, oranges, and reds. These trees range in heights, from anywhere between 3 and 20 feet.
Dogwood: A smaller ornamental tree, produces both blossoms and fruit. However, if you have small children be careful as the small red berries on a dogwood tree are not edible, despite their strong resemblance to raspberries. Before the tree produces these berries in the fall, it will display branches full of beautiful white flowers in the early summer.
Pine (Pinus): Foliage is evergreen for year-round beauty and is composed of bundles of soft, long needles. Though some pines are a bit brittle in harsh weather, they’re often used for wind and privacy screening.
Fig Tree: Have you ever wanted to grow your own Mediterranean treat? A fig tree allows you to do just that. These trees need plenty of sun to produce their sweet and chewy fruits. They also need plenty of patience, as figs begin to form in the autumn and are ready to harvest the following summer.
Redbud: While the name suggests a reddish color, an eastern redbud tree will give your landscape a lovely pop of pinkish-purple flowers in early spring. These flowers then take on a smokey tone as the season turns to autumn. No matter what time of year it is, you’ll be delighted at the redbud’s vibrant tones.
Honey locust: Is tough and adaptable, grows 30 to 50 feet tall, and beware it also drops pods. Its foliage turns yellow in fall. The honey locust, also known as the thorny locust, is a deciduous tree in the Fabaceae family, native to central North America where it is mostly found in the moist soil of river valleys. We recommend choosing the thornless variety.
Willow oak: This tree has narrow and pointed foliage, and forms a fine-texture, dense conical canopy, rising to about 50 feet at maturity. It makes a good street and shade tree and is easy to transplant. Foliage turns yellow before it drops in the fall.
Grigg Design is one of Northern Virginia’s premier landscape design build company. Established in 1986 we have been providing award winning designs and installations for over thirty-two years to clients in Fairfax, Arlington, Alexandria, Prince William County and the surrounding areas. We can help you choose everything from the right trees and placement, to a complete backyard renovation.