If you have a small garden, you might think that planting a tree is out of the question. However, there are many trees that are perfect for small gardens in the UK. Choosing the right tree can add beauty and interest to your garden, without taking up too much space. In this post, we will explore the 15 best trees for small gardens in the UK, and provide you with all the information you need to choose and care for your tree.

Understanding small gardens is key to choosing the right tree. When you have limited space, you need to choose a tree that won’t outgrow its space or overwhelm your garden. You also need to consider the tree’s shape, size, and growth rate, as well as its suitability for your climate and soil type. By doing your research and selecting the right tree, you can create a beautiful and functional garden that you’ll love for years to come.

Choosing the right tree for your small garden can be a challenge, but it’s well worth the effort. Whether you’re looking for a flowering tree, a fruit tree, or an evergreen, there are many options available. Throughout this post, we will explore the 15 best trees for small gardens in the UK, and provide you with detailed profiles of each tree, as well as tips for planting and care.

Key Takeaways

  • Choosing the right tree for your small garden is essential to avoid problems in the future.
  • There are many trees suitable for small gardens in the UK, including flowering, fruit, and evergreen trees.
  • By doing your research and selecting the right tree, you can create a beautiful and functional garden that you’ll love for years to come.

Understanding Small Gardens

When it comes to gardening in a small outdoor space, it can be challenging to know where to start. Whether you have a small garden, patio, or balcony, you can still create a beautiful outdoor space with the right trees.

Small gardens have their unique challenges, including limited space, light, and soil quality. However, with careful planning and the right selection of trees, you can create a stunning and functional outdoor space that suits your needs.

One of the most important things to consider when choosing trees for small gardens is their size. You will want to select trees that will not outgrow your space and become a problem in the future. Opting for smaller trees or dwarf varieties is an excellent way to ensure that your trees will not take over your small garden.

Best Trees For Small Gardens: 5 More Great Ideas For Trees For a Small Garden

Another important consideration is the amount of light your outdoor space receives. Some trees thrive in full sun, while others prefer partial or full shade. Understanding the light conditions of your small garden is crucial when selecting trees that will thrive in your space.

Soil quality is also an essential factor to consider when selecting trees for small gardens. Some trees prefer well-draining soil, while others require moist soil to thrive. Understanding the soil quality of your outdoor space will help you select trees that will grow and thrive in your garden.

In summary, when selecting trees for small gardens, you must consider the size, light conditions, and soil quality of your outdoor space. With careful planning and the right selection of trees, you can create a beautiful and functional outdoor space that suits your needs.

Choosing the Right Tree

When choosing trees for your small garden, it’s important to consider several factors to ensure that you select the right species that will thrive and enhance your outdoor space. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind

Height and Shape

One of the most important factors to consider is the height and shape of the tree. For small gardens, you want to choose trees that won’t grow too tall or wide and overwhelm the space. Columnar trees, such as the ‘Fastigiata’ Hornbeam or the ‘Skyrocket’ Juniper, are great options for small gardens because they grow tall and narrow, taking up less space while still providing a focal point.

Structure

The structure of the tree is also important to consider. Some trees have a more open, airy structure, while others are denser and more compact. If you’re looking for a screening tree to provide privacy, a denser tree like the ‘Emerald’ Thuja or the ‘Compacta’ Holly might be a better choice. If you want a more open structure, consider a tree like the ‘Golden Rain’ Tree or the ‘Crimson Queen’ Japanese Maple.

Deciduous or Evergreen

Deciduous trees lose their leaves in the winter, while evergreen trees retain their foliage year-round. If you want a tree that provides shade in the summer but lets in more light in the winter, a deciduous tree like the ‘Amber Jubilee’ Ninebark or the ‘Royal Star’ Magnolia might be a good choice. If you want a tree that provides privacy year-round, an evergreen like the ‘Green Giant’ Arborvitae or the ‘Castlewellan’ Gold Leyland Cypress might be a better option.

Flowering Trees

If you want to add some colour to your small garden, consider a flowering tree like the ‘Royal Burgundy’ Cherry or the ‘Butterfly’ Magnolia. These trees provide beautiful blooms in the spring and summer, adding visual interest to your outdoor space.

Suitable Species

Finally, it’s important to choose trees that are suitable for the UK climate and soil conditions. Some great options for small gardens in the UK include the ‘Golden Full Moon’ Maple, the ‘Globosa Nana’ Cedar, and the ‘Amber Glow’ Dawn Redwood.

By considering these factors, you can choose the right tree for your small garden that will thrive and enhance your outdoor space for years to come.

The Best Trees For Small Gardens – Top 15

If you have a small garden, you might think that having a tree is out of the question. But the good news is that plenty of trees are suitable for small gardens in the UK. Here are 15 of the best trees for small gardens that you might want to consider:

  1. Acer: There are many different types of Acer trees that are suitable for small gardens, including Acer griseum, which has beautiful peeling bark, and Acer palmatum, which has stunning autumn foliage.
  2. Magnolia: Magnolia trees are known for their beautiful flowers, and there are many varieties that are suitable for small gardens, such as Magnolia stellata.
  3. Cornus kousa: This tree is also known as the Japanese dogwood and is a great choice for small gardens because it has a compact size and beautiful flowers.
  4. Sorbus: Sorbus trees are also known as mountain ash or rowan trees, and they are a great choice for small gardens because they have a compact size and beautiful autumn foliage.
  5. Apple: Apple trees are a great choice for small gardens because they have a compact size and produce delicious fruit.
  6. Pear: Pear trees are another great choice for small gardens because they have a compact size and produce delicious fruit.
  7. Cherry: Cherry trees are known for their beautiful flowers, and there are many varieties that are suitable for small gardens, such as the Amanogawa cherry.
  8. Acer griseum: This tree is also known as the paperbark maple and is a great choice for small gardens because it has beautiful peeling bark.
  9. Styrax: This tree is also known as the snowbell tree and is a great choice for small gardens because it has beautiful flowers and a compact size.
  10. Malus: Malus trees are also known as crabapple trees and are a great choice for small gardens because they have a compact size and produce beautiful flowers and fruit.
  11. Acer palmatum: This tree is also known as the Japanese maple and is a great choice for small gardens because it has stunning autumn foliage.
  12. Amelanchier: This tree is also known as the serviceberry and is a great choice for small gardens because it has beautiful flowers and autumn foliage.
  13. Forest Pansy: This tree is a variety of the redbud tree and is a great choice for small gardens because it has stunning purple foliage.
  14. Crataegus: This tree is also known as the hawthorn and is a great choice for small gardens because it has a compact size and produces beautiful flowers and fruit.
  15. Lilac: Lilac trees are known for their beautiful flowers and fragrant scent, and there are many varieties that are suitable for small gardens.

No matter what type of tree you choose for your small garden, be sure to do your research and choose a variety that is suitable for the climate and soil in your area. With the right care and attention, your tree will thrive and provide beauty and shade for years to come.

Tree Profiles

Acer (Japanese Maple)

Acer trees, also known as Japanese maples, are a popular choice for small gardens due to their stunning foliage and compact size. With a height and spread of up to 4m, they are perfect for adding a splash of colour to your garden. Some popular cultivars include Acer palmatum, Osakazuki, and Acer griseum.

Best Trees for Small Gardens in the UK - Red Japanese Maple Acer Tree - palmatum osakazuki

Best Trees For Small Gardens: A Beautiful Japenese Maple – Acer (palmatum, Osakazuki)

Magnolia

Magnolias are a beautiful addition to any garden, with their large, showy flowers and attractive foliage. They are available in a range of sizes, with some smaller varieties such as the Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’ reaching a height of just 3m.

Best Trees for Small Gardens in the UK - Red Japanese Maple Magnolia Tree - Cercis canadensis 'Forest Pansy'

Best Trees For Small Gardens: ‘Magnolia’ Cercis canadensis the ‘Forest Pansy’ Grows to Just 3m High

Cornus Kousa (Japanese Dogwood)

Cornus Kousa, also known as the Japanese dogwood, is a small tree with stunning white or pink flowers. It has a height and spread of up to 5m and is perfect for adding some interest to a small garden.

China Girl White - Cornus-kousa

Best Trees For Small Gardens: The Japenese Dogwood – Cornus Kousa (China Girl)

Sorbus (Mountain Ash)

Sorbus, or mountain ash, is a great choice for a small garden due to its compact size and attractive foliage. The tree features lots of white clusteredflowers in spring, with an explosion of orange-red berries lasting into well into winter Some popular cultivars include Sorbus aucuparia and Sorbus koehneana.

European Mountain Ash - sorbus aucuparia

Best Trees For Small Gardens: The Sorbus or European Mountain Ash is a Very Attractive Tree Throughout The Year.

Apple, Pear, and Cherry

Fruit trees such as apples, pears, and cherries are a great addition to a small garden, providing both beautiful and delicious fruit. Popular cultivars are (Malus domestic) Apple, (Pyrus communis ) Pear and the eye-catching flowers of (Prunus Amanogawa) the Japanese flowering cherry tree which rarely bears fruit, but has stunning ornamental foliage. Most fruit trees can be trained to grow in various shapes and sizes, making them ideal for small spaces.

Best Trees For Small Gardens: The Japanese Flowering Cherry (Prunus Amanogawa)

Acer Griseum (Paperbark Maple)

Acer griseum, also known as the paperbark maple, is a stunning small tree with attractive peeling bark and beautiful autumn colour. It has a height and spread of up to 8m and is a great choice for adding some interest to a small garden.

Acer Griseum - Paperbark Maple

Best Trees For Small Gardens: The Beautiful Autumn Colours of The Paperbark Maple.

Styrax (Japanese Snowbell)

Styrax, or snowbell, is a small tree with beautiful, white/pink fragrant flowers in late spring or early summer. It has a height and spread of up to around 6m and is perfect for adding some interest to a small garden.

Japanese Snowbell Styrax-japonicum

White And Pink Fragrant Flowers of The Styrax (Japanese Snowbell)

Malus (Crab Apple)

Malus, or crab apple, is a great choice for a small garden, with its attractive foliage, stunning flowers, and edible fruit. Some popular cultivars include Malus ‘Golden Hornet’ and Malus ‘Red Sentinel’.

Crab-Apple Tree

The Crab Apple Are Generally Sour But Are Ideal For Fruity Jams and Jellies

Amelanchier (Serviceberry)

Amelanchier, or serviceberry, is a stunning small tree with beautiful white flowers in spring and attractive foliage. The Serviceberry has a height and spread of around 6m and is perfect for providing additional interest to a small garden.

White Amelancheir Tree - Canadensis

Amelanchier Canadensis – A Profusion of Star-Shaped, White Flowers. In Autumn it Has a Striking Red Display.

Forest Pansy (Weeping Redbud)

Cercis canadensis ‘Ruby Falls’ forming a dramatic ‘weeping’ small tree. Grown for its beautiful foliage and for the profuse blooming, it is a stunning small tree with attractive purple foliage and beautiful pink flowers in spring. It has a height and spread of up to around 2m and is perfect for adding some interest to a small garden.

Forest Pansey - Weeping Red Bud

Forest Pansy (Weeping Redbud) is Mostly Grown For Its Beautiful Foliage And Profuse Blooming

Crataegus (Hawthorn)

Crataegus, or Hawthorn, is a great choice for a small garden, with its attractive foliage and stunning flowers. Some popular cultivars include Crataegus ‘Paul’s Scarlet’ an ornamental Hawthorn which grows to around 6m (20ft) and Crataegus ‘Crimson Cloud’.

Ornamental Hawthorn  - crataegus-Pauls-scarlett

Hawthorn Paul’s Scarlet: Physically Its a Rounded Shape Tree, With Lobed Leaves Forming a Good Screen During The Spring/Summer.

Lilac

Lilacs are a beautiful addition to any garden, with their stunning flowers and attractive foliage. They are available in a range of sizes, with some smaller varieties such as Syringa meyeri reaching a height of just 2m.

Pink - Lilac _Syringa meyeri

A Beautiful Small Lilac Tree That Produces a Profusion of Lilac-Pink Flowers in May And June

When choosing a tree for your small garden, it’s important to consider its height and spread, as well as its autumn colour, berries, flowers, and foliage. Look for cultivars with the AGM (Award of Garden Merit) to ensure they are suitable for your garden. Some popular choices include Koehne Mountain Ash, Kousa ‘Miss Satomi’, Cornus Kousa var. Chinensis, Salix exigua, and Larix decidua.

Tree Planting and Care

Planting a tree in a small garden can be a great way to add beauty and interest to your outdoor space. However, it’s important to choose the right tree for your garden and to take proper care of it once it’s planted. Here are some tips to help you get started:

Planting

When planting a tree in a small garden, it’s important to consider the size of the tree at maturity, as well as its growth rate and root system. You don’t want to plant a tree that will outgrow its space, or that will damage nearby structures or plants with its roots.

If you have limited space, you may want to consider planting a tree in a pot or container. This can help keep the tree’s size in check, and make it easier to move if necessary. Just be sure to choose a pot that is large enough to accommodate the tree’s root system, and to provide adequate drainage.

Watering

Proper watering is essential to the health and growth of your tree. When planting a new tree, thoroughly water it to help settle the soil around the roots. After that, you should water the tree regularly, especially during dry spells or drought conditions.

However, it’s important not to overwater your tree, as this can lead to root rot and other problems. As a general rule, you should water your tree deeply once a week, rather than giving it frequent shallow waterings.

Wind and Maintenance

Wind can be a significant problem for trees in small gardens, as it can cause branches to break and damage the tree. To help protect your tree from wind damage, you may want to consider staking it or providing some other form of support.

Regular maintenance is also important for the health and appearance of your tree. This may include pruning dead or damaged branches, removing suckers and water sprouts, and fertilizing the tree as needed.

Habitat

Finally, it’s important to consider the habitat needs of your tree when planting and caring for it. Some trees prefer full sun, while others do better in partial shade. Some trees require well-drained soil, while others can tolerate wet or clay soils.

By choosing the right tree for your garden, and taking proper care of it, you can enjoy the beauty and benefits of trees in even the smallest of outdoor spaces.

Special Trees for Special Spaces

When it comes to choosing trees for small gardens, it’s important to select the right tree for the right space. Whether you have a sunny or shady garden, want to create a topiary or prefer a more natural look, there are plenty of options available.

Best Trees For Small Garden - Green Trees and Garden Scene

When Choosing Trees For Small Gardens Ensure You Choose The Right Tree For The Space.

One popular choice for small gardens is the hazel tree. With its distinctive catkins and edible nuts, the hazel is a great addition to any garden. It can be grown as a single-stem or multi-stemmed tree and is also suitable for coppicing.

Another option is the box tree, which is ideal for creating topiary shapes. It’s a slow-growing evergreen that can be pruned into a variety of shapes, from balls and cones to spirals and pyramids. Box trees prefer a sunny or partially shaded spot and well-drained soil.

For a Mediterranean feel, consider the Arbutus unedo, also known as the Strawberry tree. It’s an evergreen tree with attractive bark and produces small, edible fruits that resemble strawberries. It prefers a sunny spot and well-drained soil.

If you’re looking for a palm tree that can survive in the UK climate, the Mediterranean fan palm is a good choice. It’s a slow-growing palm that can reach up to 4 metres in height and prefers a sunny spot and well-drained soil.

For a more traditional look, the yew tree is a popular choice. It’s an evergreen tree that can be grown as a single-stem or multi-stemmed tree and is also suitable for topiary. Yew trees prefer a sunny or partially shaded spot and well-drained soil.

The Bay tree is another popular choice for small gardens. It’s an evergreen tree that can also be grown as a single-stem or multi-stemmed tree and is also suitable for topiaries like the Box and Yew trees. Bay trees also prefer a sunny or partially shaded spot and well-drained soil like Yew’s.

If you’re looking for a weeping tree, the Weeping Willow is a good choice. It’s a deciduous tree that can reach up to 20 metres in height and prefers a sunny spot and moist soil.

Finally, the Silver birch is a beautiful tree that is well-suited to small gardens. It’s a deciduous tree that has attractive bark and produces catkins in the spring. Silver birch trees prefer a sunny or partially shaded spot and well-drained soil.

Whether you’re looking for a tree to create a topiary shape or simply want to add some greenery to your small garden, there are plenty of options available. By choosing the right tree for your space, you can create a beautiful and functional garden that you’ll enjoy for years to come.

Seasonal Considerations

When selecting trees for your small garden, it’s also important to consider their seasonal features. Here are some things to keep in mind.

Spring

Spring is a time of renewal and growth, and many trees put on a stunning display of flowers during this season. Consider trees such as the Japanese Cherry Blossom or the Magnolia for a burst of colour in your garden.

Summer

In the summer, trees provide welcome shade and relief from the heat (when we get some). Look for trees with dense foliage, such as the Crab Apple or the Silver Birch. These trees will keep you and your garden cool and provide a lush backdrop for your outdoor activities.

Autumn

Autumn is perhaps the most spectacular season for trees, with many species putting on a show of fiery reds, oranges, and yellows. Consider trees such as the Acer or the Rowan for their stunning autumn foliage.

Winter

In the winter, many trees lose their leaves, but some species offer interesting bark or berries to add interest to your garden. Look for trees such as the Dogwood or the Holly for their attractive winter features.

It’s also worth considering edible fruits when selecting trees for your small garden. Many fruit trees, such as the apple or the cherry, offer a delicious harvest in the autumn. If you’re short on space, perhaps consider a dwarf fruit tree or a fruit bush, such as the raspberry or the blackcurrant.

Overall, by considering the seasonal features of trees, you can create a garden that is beautiful and interesting all year round.

Rowan Tree Berries Foliage

The Fiery Red Berries of the ‘Rowan’ Tree Put on a Great Autumn Foliage Display

FAQs

What are some of the best small flowering trees for UK gardens?

If you’re looking for small flowering trees to add some colour to your garden, consider the Japanese cherry blossom tree, the crab apple tree, or the magnolia tree. These trees are all small enough to fit in a small garden, but they produce beautiful and vibrant blooms.

What are some fast-growing, dwarf trees suitable for small UK gardens?

If you want a tree that will grow quickly but won’t take up too much space, consider the dwarf cherry tree, the dwarf apple tree, or the dwarf pear tree. These trees are all small enough to fit in a small garden, but they grow quickly and produce fruit.

What are some evergreen trees with non-invasive roots for UK gardens?

If you want an evergreen tree that won’t damage your property or your neighbour’s property, consider the Japanese cedar, the dwarf Alberta spruce, or the yew tree. These trees have non-invasive roots and are perfect for small gardens.

What are some columnar trees that are suitable for small UK gardens?

If you want a tree that won’t take up too much space but will still provide some height and interest, consider the Italian cypress, the columnar oak, or the columnar beech. These trees are all tall and narrow, making them perfect for small gardens.

What are some of the best trees for privacy in small UK gardens?

If you want some privacy in your small garden, consider the Leyland cypress, the laurel tree, or the holly tree. These trees are all evergreen and grow quickly, providing a natural screen for your garden.

What are some of the prettiest trees that can be grown in small UK gardens?

If you want a tree that will add some beauty and interest to your small garden, consider the Japanese maple, the weeping cherry tree, or the dogwood tree. These trees are all small enough to fit in a small garden, but they produce stunning foliage and blooms.

Conclusion

In summary, there are many great tree options for small gardens in the UK. When choosing a tree, it’s important to consider factors such as size, shape, and maintenance requirements. Additionally, you’ll want to think about what you want to get out of your tree – whether it’s beautiful flowers, delicious fruit, or stunning foliage.

Some of the best tree options for small gardens in the UK include:

  • Japanese Maple – a stunning tree with beautiful foliage that comes in a variety of colours.
  • Crab Apple – a small tree that produces beautiful flowers in the spring and colourful fruit in the autumn.
  • Dogwood – a small tree with stunning red or yellow stems that look great in the winter.
  • Hawthorn – a native tree that produces beautiful flowers in the spring and colourful berries in the autumn.
  • Rowan – a small tree that produces beautiful flowers in the spring and stunning berries in the autumn.

Other great options include the Amelanchier, Silver Birch, and Weeping Willow. No matter what type of tree you choose, make sure to research its specific needs and requirements to ensure that it thrives in your garden.

Remember to also consider factors such as the amount of sunlight and shade in your garden, as well as the soil type and drainage. With the right tree and proper care, you can enjoy a beautiful and thriving tree in your small garden for years to come.

So armed with the information you have gleaned here, go ahead and choose the perfect tree for your small garden. With so many great options available, you’re sure to find one that meets your needs and adds beauty to your outdoor space.