How To: Choose a Tree For Small Gardens

Would you like to grow a tree or two in your garden, but don’t think you have the space? There are actually plenty of trees to choose from even if you have a small garden! Whether you’re looking for flowers, fruit or foliage there will be a tree to suit you and your garden. There are several things to consider before purchasing your tree including the total potential height and whether it may end up blocking out light or even damaging the foundations of your home.

How To: Choose a Tree For Small Gardens

How to Choose a Tree

It’s worth taking some time to ascertain why you would like a tree. Do you want a colourful focal point, a habitat or supply of food for nature or perhaps a tree to give you some privacy? 

It’s always a good idea to choose trees with berries to attract birds and wildlife to the garden where possible. Or if you’d like trees that produce fruit then cherry, pear or apple trees are a great idea. 

It is also possible to grow some varieties of trees in large pots which could be a solution if you’d like to move it around the garden, protect it during the winter or even take it with you should you move house. 

If you’re looking for something even smaller then perhaps a shrub would be more suitable. Many types can be “crown lifted” to give the appearance of a small tree whilst just being shorter in stature. This look can be achieved with Lilac, Viburnum and Elaeagnus.

Fruit Trees For Small Gardens

Fruit trees can be both beautiful and a great source of food throughout summer and autumn. Some of the best include:


  • Cherries: Their spring blossom is stunning and the fruit is delicious. Just make sure to opt for a cherry on a dwarfing rootstock to ensure it grows well in a small space.
  • Peaches: These fruits make wonderful small trees and are surprisingly hardy in nature. To bear fruit, be sure to plant in a sunny, warm and sheltered spot.
  • Figs: Although native to Syria and Persia, they have been grown in the UK for a long time. The fruit can be unreliable but the foliage is striking and will grow to around 3-4m in height.
How To: Choose a Tree For Small Gardens

Trees to Attract Wildlife

Having a wildlife-friendly environment in your garden is important as many of our native animals need all the help they can get. These trees are best if you’re looking to support the local wildlife:


  • Hawthorn: One of the most animal-friendly trees you can possibly grow and native to the UK. It is a source of food for caterpillars and months, bees will visit the flowers in spring and birds will flock to the berries in autumn. 
  • Crab Apple: With lots of varieties to choose from they are also great all-rounders. There is plenty of food for wildlife and they bloom with wonderful blossoms in the spring. 
  • Rowans: Most of these trees have lovely pinnate leaves, and the tree will produce spring flowers and berries in the autumn. One of the species, the “Rosiness”, will grow to around 4m tall.

Small Evergreen Trees

If you’re looking for something that stays green all year round then these evergreen trees will work best in a small space:


  • Snow Gum: This tree has evergreen grey-green leaves with grey, green and cream patchwork bark. The leaves will grow longer and narrower with age and bears small white flowers in the summer. It is one of the larger evergreens at around 8 meters tall.
  • Loquat: These glossy evergreens can thrive in sheltered microclimates which is great for patios and city balconies. They are grown for their scented flowers and can reach between 5 and 8m tall. 
  • Strawberry Tree: This type of tree will provide small, plump red fruits and white bell-shaped flowers. These plants thrive well in coastal areas and can be crown-lifted to improve their appearance.

There is a wide range of small trees suitable for gardens short on space, which can even include some varieties of palm trees. If you’re looking to add a tree to your garden but aren’t sure where to start, speak to us at Holt Garden Centre where we can recommend the best trees for your space and your needs. 

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