Best Trees for Small Gardens UK

Best Trees for Small Gardens UK

A common site in many town gardens are trees that have outgrown their space. Large native trees like Oaks, Copper Beach, Planes, Weeping Willow and horse chestnuts are wonderful, but to be really enjoyed they need suitable space, like in a park. If they are planted in the garden they will

  • Create too much shade
  • Create too much ‘water shade’ – their canopy can make a garden quite dry.
  • Planted too near the house, they can also undermine the foundations of a house as their roots spread deeply into the structure.

To remove these trees is a big job. But, it’s better to do now, rather than leaving until it is even higher. (Though you may have to be careful and check planning regulations before cutting old trees down – some may be protected)

However, though some trees are too big to enjoy, there are many excellent varieties which will be good for the small garden.

Best Trees For Small Gardens

Acers – There are a huge varieties of acers. They can be very attractive in the small garden. They are also ideally suited for the small garden.


Acer Palmatum – a great tree for small gardens. They are very slow growing so stay nice and small. I’ve found they can be a bit tender in a cold windy winter. More on Acers

Birch – Betula Pendula


Birches make excellent garden trees, there canopy is not too dense, providing a lovely dappled shade. There small delicate leaves and bark can also be quite attractive, especially the white barked silver birch.

Hawthorn Tree. Can be used in hedges or used as a specimen tree. Will not grow too tall and provides good blooms in May or June.



The Laburnum provides a wonderful display of yellow flowers in May / June. It shouldn’t grow too tall (though this tree from Italy has grown as tall as house. One important point is that its leaves and flowers and bark are all poisonous. If you have young children, it may not be suitable unless closely supervised.

The best variety is Laburnum wateri vossii’ which produces long blooms of flowers.

Malus – Flowering Crab.


Try the variety Malus – floribunda for attractive blossom

Prunus – Flowering Cherries


Closely related to the Malus and a a manageable height for most small gardens. There is a wonderful variety of flowering cherries and are prized for their blooms from January until June, depending on variety. A great addition to any garden.

 Sorbus aucuparia, Rowan or Mountain Ash

Suitable for any normal soil and position  Ultimate Height 40ft  annual growth per year 1ft  so a small tree will look good for 20 years +. Love it or hate it scented flowers followed by bird friendly berries.
Dry Shade windy areas or other locations. A vertical habit with an unassuming branch structure that will not over power

Nyssa – Tupelo – Not so well known but provides lovely colour in late autumn when its leaves can change colour dramatically.


2 thoughts on “Best Trees for Small Gardens UK

  1. Best Trees for Small Gardens UKJune 13, 2010 at 9:00 am · Filed under Trees and Shrubs

    On this web page the lower picture shows two purple flowered trees. Can you please tell me what the tree is to the right of these, as that is exactly the shape of tree I want.

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