The Right Tree in the Right Place

Medium density housing can range from about 25 to 80 dwellings per hectare, though most commonly the density is between 30 and 40 dwellings/hectare. Such developments typically consist of detached, semi-attached and attached (or multi-unit) housing. Current housing density means gardens are smaller than ever before, which in turn means that choosing the right tree is all important.


There is much to consider – No matter how well you plant and maintain your tree, if the initial choice is not properly thought through, the outcome will always be a disappointment.

A Few of the Factors to Consider when Choosing your Tree:

  • native, naturalized or introduced species
  • small, medium or large ultimate height
  • spring, summer, autumn or winter interest
  • broadleaf or conifer
  • deciduous or evergreen
  • smooth, peeling or rough bark
  • edible or ornamental fruit
  • soil type and drainage
  • position – sheltered/exposed site, hard/soft landscaping
  • to provide shade, screening

The factors listed often make the difference between a tree thriving or merely surviving and between a tree being an asset or a liability.

Half a Dozen of our Favourite Trees for Small Gardens

Cornelian Cherry (Cornus mas)
A compact, often but not always a multi-stemmed tree with small yellow flowers that appear in February on bare stems. The bright red, cherry-like fruits are edible, and the green leaves turn a delightful reddish purple in autumn; tolerates most soil conditions.

Dwarf Field Maple (Acer campestre Nanum) – This tree has dark green leaves that turn to a beautiful burnt gold in the autumn, slow growing and super tolerant of virtually any soil type, drought, soil compaction and air pollution.

Leonard Messel Magnolia (Magnolia x loebneri Leonard Messel)
A fantastic, multi-stemmed tree. The velvety cased buds begin to swell from January onwards and produce a magnificent display of pink tinged delicate flowers in April / May; the green leaves turn yellow in the autumn. Prefers a free draining soil in a sheltered sunny position and it is reasonably lime tolerant.

Silver Wattle (Acacia dealbata)
A pretty evergreen tree with a profuse yellow floral display in early spring. The feathery foliage resembles the ‘sensitive’ plant sometimes sold as a houseplant in garden centres. A super attractive tree that is super sensitive to cold winters and only worth planting in the most sheltered of south facing positions.

Snowy Mespilus (Amelanchier arborea Robin Hill)
A profusion of white flowers emerge in spring covering the tree from top to bottom. The leaves open a coppery colour, which then turn bright green and finally a fabulous red colour in autumn; prefers well drained, lime free soil though will thrive in most soil types.

Red Filbert (Corylus avellana Zellernus)
A purple leaved variety of the popular Common hazel nut with the long pink catkins that develop throughout the winter period and open in spring. Autumn produces a plentiful crop of filberts; tolerates most soil conditions.