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Your front yard provides guests with their first impression of your home. While most homeowners aim for at least a tidy yard, others might not give their landscaping much thought. Of course flowers and shrubs can provide color and shape to any yard, but don’t discount the power of trees.
Planting trees can feel a bit daunting – they are an investment that can outlive most homeowners – but they are a low maintenance way to add beauty and interest (and perhaps some function like shade) to your yard. While there is nothing to distinguish one type of tree as a “front yard” tree or “back yard” tree, there are some varieties that are more popular than others and proven winners when added to your front yard landscape.
Before choosing the exact tree to plant, ask yourself a few key questions. Do you want a fast growing or slow growing tree? Do you want a tree that will flower at various points in the year? Do you want a deciduous tree that will shed its leaves in the fall? Do you want a tree that will grow tall or wide? What types of trees are best suited for your hardiness zone?
Once you have thought through the answers to these questions, you can start to think about where you might want to plant your tree (or trees). Be sure to consider things like proximity to your house, your property line and any potential issues you foresee with the tree’s root system (like septic tanks).
While those considerations might narrow your list a bit, we’ve got 10 types of trees that are great for almost all kinds of front yards. These popular varieties are popular choices you should definitely consider for your outdoor space.
Japanese maples come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes making them a great choice for many families. Two of the most popular varietals, Bloodgood and Redleaf, will add rich color throughout the year – not just in the fall. When their leaves do drop, their branches and limbs offer strong lines and structure that can look beautiful with or without snow. In full sun, their signature red leaves can turn green.
These fairly slow growing trees can grow to be as tall as 15-20 feet and spread wide. With periodic trimming, you can manage and shape their growth to best suit your needs and preferences.
Like Japanese Maples, there are several different varieties of crabapples trees and all of them are equally stunning in spring. These medium to slow growth, hardy trees make excellent front yard trees because with minimal pruning, they grow into a nice, round shape and they attract wildlife like birds and pollinators. Crabapple trees change with the seasons, blooming brilliantly pink flowers in spring and developing their telltale “apple” fruit in the fall. These popular trees need plenty of sunshine, moderate rain and will live for many years.
While holly is commonly associated with Christmastime, the American holly tree is way more versatile than simply used as holiday trimming. This hardy tree can grow in every hardiness zone and flourish across the United States (all 50 of them). They are an excellent choice to plant as a privacy hedge. Bird watchers will delight with the addition of holly trees. The distinctive red berries in winter will attract birds such as goldfinches and cardinals.
American Holly trees can reach heights of 15 to 30 feet and will keep their rich green leaves all year long.
Another popular front yard tree is the flowering dogwood. Like the crabapple tree, flowering dogwoods are notable for their gorgeous springtime flowers and bright autumn colors. They are known as an ornamental tree because with their classic rounded shape, they provide an interesting focal point to any landscape.
Flowering Dogwoods can grow to 30 feet tall, though are not known as fast growers. They require plenty of sunshine and water, only require occasional pruning, and grow best in hardiness zones 5-9.
For a tree that is a bit more drought tolerant but still will provide a burst of summertime color, try the crape myrtle. This tree, popular in many southern front yards, can grow up to 40 feet tall. The leaves will turn shades of orange, yellows, and reds in the fall and provide interest to an otherwise barren winter landscape. These resilient trees love the sun, require minimal care, and will provide a good detail of shade to any front yard.
No list of best front yard trees would be complete without the iconic hydrangea. These stunners bloom in a variety of colors from pinks to purples to blues and have a robust rounded shape. They look great lined up against fencing or on their own in a corner of your property. They thrive in soil that is moist and can be cut back nearly to the ground in late winter or early spring for maximum blooms in summer.
Azaleas are another flowering shrub that will add drama to any front yard. These shrubs prefer shade and can grow quickly and tall of not trimmed or pruned. These plants grow best in hardiness zones 5-9 and don’t do well in excessive heat and sun. If you have a shady spot in your yard that just needs a little extra something, try azaleas.
Birch trees can be a good choice for smaller yards as they provide beauty all year round and can grow to 70 feet (meaning you don’t need to plant much more). You’ll love the peeling bark in winter and yellow shades in the fall. Many birch trees grow tall and narrow but be sure to familiarize yourself with the different varieties as there are several. If you love the look of the lighter bark but prefer something smaller, try a dwarf birch or bog birch.
If you want a low to no maintenance tree that still looks usually appealing, try a sunburst locust. The pretty, small leaves do not need to be raked. These trees help to add dimension and texture to any front yard landscape. Sunburst Locusts like full sun and moderate moisture. They can grow to 40 feet and spread to 25 feet.
Weeping Cherry Trees
For a tree that makes a statement, look no further than a weeping cherry tree. These cascading trees can provide a dramatic entrance to any front yard, welcoming gusts into the home with their feminine blooms. These ornamental trees grow best in hardiness zones 5-8 and like full sun. They are slower growers but will add a graceful elegance to your home.
These 10 trees will make a great addition to any homeowner looking to add color or personality to their yard. They are all popular varieties that will bring you years of joy.