Welcome to our gallery of fabulous backyard tree ideas. There is so much more than a backyard tree can offer than just shade or beautiful flowers. Trees provide so much to their community, animal, insect, and human life.
Yards and gardens are often filled with many varieties of flora. Flowers and bushes are often the go-tos when one is looking to decorate. But sometimes you want to fill more than just airspace! Trees are the perfect companion plant for nearly any plant species.
Trees are excellent additions to landscaping. They can provide some wonderful looks to your space as well as build great shade to combat the sun on hot days.
There are many kinds of trees that can accomplish a wide variety of looks and functions. If you want a full and lush tree that will last all year, pine trees can serve your needs. If you are looking for an interesting design, you may want to consider palms; and shady oaks are your friend if you are looking for canopy coverage. You can get Kratom extracts powder from the mitragyna speciosa tree or delicious fruits from a fruit tree species.
Whatever need you have, there is likely a tree that can get the job done. There are plenty of trees that would work wonderfully in your backyard. In this article, we will go over the different types of trees to consider and of course, a wonderful gallery of backyard trees.
Types of Trees for your Backyard
When choosing a new tree species for your green space, it is important to ask yourself a few questions first. This will help narrow down the options. Ask these questions:
- How much maintenance are willing to put into this tree?
- How long are you willing to wait for it to grow/flower?
- Do you want a tree to create a mess or no mess?
- What size would you like your tree to be?
- Is it important that the tree provides a lot of coverage?
- Are you more focused on beauty or what the tree provides?
- Is it important that the tree contributes to the health of the surrounding plant life?
- What type of climate do you live in? What types of trees can exist there?
Related: We’ve created an absolutely enormous list of 101 Different Types of Trees. There you can discover all kinds of different tree species, where they grow, tips on tree planting, and why they should be incorporated into your landscape.
In the next section, we’ve provided some uses of trees, and some core examples of each type. Hopefully, this will give you some inspiration for your next tree member!
If you happen to live in a hotter climate, chances are that you’re going to want a shade tree for your property. Shade trees are not only a great way to help you stay cool when you’re outside, but they are also a very important resource for insect and animal species as well. Shade trees are a source of refuge for everybody!
A shade tree is a tree that is usually quite tall and it has densely clustered branches with plenty of foliage. This dense canopy helps create more shade coverage, though you can choose a tree type that has less coverage for more partial shade coverage.
Oak trees are great shade trees because they’re enormous and have large leaves. Magnolia trees are wonderful for the same reason, and we can’t forget about the tulip tree! Sugar Maple trees and birch trees are also very popular in North America because of their rapid growth and beautiful fall colors.
There’s no reason why I can’t be beautiful and fruitful at the same time. Though creating a backyard orchard is a massive project, there’s no reason why you can’t incorporate dwarf trees or semi-dwarf fruit trees into your landscape! Who doesn’t want to harvest backyard fruit!?
A fruit tree tends to have more specific growing conditions than other trees, and it is important to know what tree will perform best in your native area. A native tree to Australia may not perform very well in North America, and vice versa.
Pecan trees grow very prosperously in the deep south of the United States, as well as orange trees and lemon trees. Apple trees can grow nearly anywhere, though it takes a true green thumb to be able to grow a fig tree. Just be sure to pick a tree that you are willing to maintain and the proper cultivar for your native region.
There are certain trees that bear more beautiful flowers than others, and those are the ones we want. A flowering tree on your property will bring enchantment in the early spring, and a much-needed splash of color after the long winter.
The magnolia flower emerges before the spring foliage does, and brings with it an incredibly intoxicating fragrance with it. It would be difficult to find a sight more stunning than a row of flowering cherry blossoms, and though it is a small tree, the trumpet flowering tree bears some of the most striking flowers one might ever see!
Though all trees flower, there are certain types that bear flowers that are larger and more attractive — not only to humans but to pollinators as well! Providing a source of nectar for bees and wasps is extremely important in the current climate crisis, and not to mention, decaying flowers are also great for soil health.
Flowers are not the only ornamental quality to a tree. An ornamental tree is that way because of its attractive growth habit, attractive leaves, and changing fall colors as well. Some folks like the look of bare root trees, with the bare root spreading all around the yard, creating a rather wild look.
One of the most beloved ornamental trees is the weeping willow. There are few trees that are as mystical and unique as the weeping willow. The Japanese maple or silver maple is valued not only for its neat and tidy growth habit but because of the shape and color of its leaves.
And sometimes leaves aren’t the only attractive aspect either! Winter buds can be wonderfully charming as well, and bring an unexpected burst of texture and color at certain times of the year, like the redbud tree species. One of the best ornamental trees is the crepe myrtle (sometimes spelled crape myrtle) because it is a small tree that is easy to maintain and exceptionally beautiful.
It is also important to factor in whether you want your tree to create either no mess or if you’re willing to deal with some mess. These are the differences between deciduous trees and evergreen trees:
A deciduous tree is a tree that has foliage that will usually change color and fall away as winter approaches. The tree will go dormant during the colder months and spring up again in the early spring when it will grow new foliage.
Something to keep in mind is that deciduous trees can create a lot of debris. Though this is very good for insects to help protect and insulate them during the cold winter, it may not be ideal for the neatness of your property.
That being said, deciduous trees have foliage that can turn absolutely stunning colors in the autumn season. Yellows, goldens, reds, oranges, and purples will grace the tree canopy for just a short period of time, but the display is well worth the subsequent mess.
An evergreen tree is a tree that has foliage that will persist and remain green on the tree all year long, regardless of the season. This is appealing because it creates ornamental interest all year long, and also provides a pop of color while the rest of the landscape is either dead or covered in snow!
Depending on where you live, evergreen trees can have huge and glossy green evergreen leaves, like in the tropics, or they will be a coniferous tree with needle-like leaves that never fall off, like the pine tree.
Particularly in North America, where folks like to have their yards separated with an emphasis of privacy, there are plenty of privacy tree options as well. These are also called hedge trees or coverage trees.
Privacy can be a shorter tree or a large tree, but the idea is that it provides tons of coverage, not only in the canopy but closer to the ground as well. Coniferous trees are very common privacy trees.
The dogwood tree is a very popular hedging tree because it is dense and provides tons of view blockage. A bald cypress is also a great option because the tree roots are fine with getting tangled, and you can plant trees rather close to one another to create a screen.
Things to Consider When Planting Tree Species
- Shade – Trees are fantastic at providing shade on hot days. There is nothing like hanging out under a shady oak when you want to be outside. Without trees, you must rely on hats and umbrellas to keep the sun out of your eyes.
- Homes – Trees can provide great homes for neighborhood creatures. Birds, squirrels, and bees will all appreciate you providing a great place for them to set up their homes.
- Fall colors – While conifers do not lose their leaves, most trees change colors and lose their leaves in the fall. This can provide a great bloom of color that will brighten up your autumn. Many people love the changing of the leaves as fall brings a lovely display of color and a cool breeze that preempts winter.
- Raking – Not all trees lose their leaves in the fall, but many do. If the trees you choose do shed their leaves you may have to worry about raking and leaf disposal come fall.
- Branches – When a tree gets large enough there is a chance that branches will fall off. Large branches can cause damage if they are hanging over buildings or cars. The chance of this increases with windy weather. You can prevent this by keeping up on removing dead branches and trimming, both of which can cost money and time.
- Space – Many trees take up a good deal of space. Not only can tree trunks grow thick, but many trees have extensive root systems. Extensive roots can interfere with plans if they involve excavation. Roots can also damage underground pipes or irrigation systems if your planning is not careful.
When it comes to trees there are countless varieties. Some trees are rare and more expensive than others. Trees also have specific environments in which they flourish. Planting trees in environments where they are not suited to grow may cost you more. There are sites that can give you a good price range to expect for specific trees and the areas where those trees are best suited.
Find more backyard ideas in our definitive guide to backyards!
Backyard Trees Gallery
This tree is a great addition to this green plant garden. The tree is not tall enough to provide much shade but does create an amazing piece of punctuation for this garden. It works to give focus and a center to the space.
Large and lush pines can build a nice privacy wall. Their branches start low and fan out to interlace with others nearby. This makes it difficult to pass through and disrupts sightlines.
With a few well-placed trees you can create a nearly full canopy that will give shade to your entire yard. This can make your outdoor time very pleasant during a warm summer. Source: Beatrice Murch / Flickr
A few trees dotted across a large yard can break up wide open spaces. Putting a tree or two around a lake is great for this purpose. Lakes can leave spaces wide open and trees can help fill some of that area.
With enough trees, you can create a forest effect. The forest effect is great if you want to feel like your home is out in the woods. If you are lucky enough, you can have a wilderness home with countless lovely trees to enjoy. See more of this home here. Designed by Boom Town
By mixing trees of different colors and sizes you can compose an interesting and varied profile for your treeline. This will be very evident in the fall when the leaves turn and reveal a wide range of colors.
Some trees have interesting trunk structures that can be used as design elements. The twisted bodies of these trees are fun for climbing. Placing a bench around a tree is also a great way to make use of them as design features.
With smaller trees, you can incorporate them into organized and neat landscaping. These trees all look very orderly. They are cultivated to stand at the corners of the pool to emphasize and add some depth to the design.
Even in very orderly and minimalist designs trees with wild foliage can look very sharp. These trees help keep the lower area around the bench clear and neat while also providing some light and scattered coverage overhead. Designed by Boom Town
Different trees can provide different textures. Not only do different leaf structures and colors vary but many trees have differing barks. Some are smooth while others are incredibly textured. Find the right combination of bark and foliage that suits your space.
If you prefer your plants to have function and form, opting for fruit trees is an amazing idea. Trees are a low-maintenance way to provide some extra products for you and your family. This kind of tree can earn its own keep by bearing edible fruit. Source: Badly Drawn Dad / Flickr
Trees can break up a large field and give some variety to the space. Some trees are not quite as predictable as others, and trunks and branches can grow in many arrangements and directions. This is great for spaces where natural and wild elements are desired.
Trees are a great way to outline your property. Your property line will be clearly marked as well as beautiful with a line of towering trees. The right selection of trees can also provide an element of privacy with their thick cover.
Some trees are great for trimming. They retain shape very well and thus can be perfect for the design. You can trim and shear them into any shape you wish.
There are plenty of interesting and unique trees to choose from. Here is a yard that has two pine trees that are nearly blue in color. These kinds of trees can really separate your yard from the rest of the block.
Trees do take time to grow. Sometimes you will not see the full potential of a young tree for many years after planting. Because of this, very large species of trees are more of an investment in the future. Source: Marcel Oosterwijk / Flickr
This lovely yard uses a variety of diverse trees to make a visually interesting skyline. Variety is the spice of life and these trees are making this yard quite spicy.
If you want to cultivate a tropical aesthetic the best tree option is the indomitable palm tree. Palms are classic trees that always look amazing near water. You only need one or two palm trees to build a great oasis-like vibe in your yard.
If you are looking for a simple accent to your outdoor design you can find smaller trees that fit in planters. These trees are great for lining entrances and pathways and adding a touch of life to your space.
With enough mature trees, you can build a complete canopy that will act as a ceiling to your outdoor eating area. You will be completely covered by natural shade in this magical space. Source: Wonderlane / Flickr
There is a variety of trees that have blossomed. Blossoms can really light up an area with color when they bloom. This is a spectacular way to brighten up your yard.
Here we see some properties lined with short trees. These trees do an amazing job working as a fence by lining the space and funneling traffic around to desired openings. See more of this home here. Designed by Omar Gandhi Architect INC
If your space is limited or you simply don’t want a massive tree in your yard, there are plenty of small species of trees. These trees are not only visually pleasing but they do not take up too much space.
Medium-sized trees are a great compromise between massive giants and small potted trees. These trees still provide some shade but are still climbable for the little ones. Source: Rachel Kramer / Flickr
Here is a great backyard with a variety of trees lining the manicured lawn. The trees around this yard provide nice privacy and create a thick forest feel that can make you feel at home and in the wild at the same time.
This yard is littered with a litany of diverse trees. They vary in color, texture, and size. This creates a wide contrast among the trees and makes this space appealing and fun.
As the sun moves, the shade from your trees will shift and move across your yard. If you plan for this, your relaxation will experience minimal interruptions with the shifting shade.
Large shady trees are great for most yards. These trees provide great coverage that can keep the sun at bay while still allowing cool breezes to pass through.
The positioning of your trees can help negotiate traffic as well as direct gaze. Even without a constructed path, people are drawn to walk between lines of trees to their destination.
Trees can also be used as functional structures. Here there is a hammock between two trees. Trees are sturdy enough and well-suited for this job. Tall and sturdy trees are perfect for performing work of this nature.