Trees For Small Spaces: Choosing The Best Trees For Urban Gardens

Wooden Bark Around Small Tree
small urban tree
(Image credit: tiler84)

Trees can be a fantastic garden element. They’re eye-catching and they create a real sense of texture and level. If you have a very small space to work with though, especially in an urban garden, your choice of trees is somewhat limited. It may be limited, but it’s not impossible. Keep reading to learn more about picking trees for small spaces and the best trees for urban gardens.

Picking Trees for Small Spaces

Here are some good small urban garden trees: Juneberry– A little large at 25 to 30 feet (8-9 m.), juneberry trees are full of color. Its leaves start out silver and turn bright red in the fall and its white spring flowers give way to attractive, purple berries in the summer. Japanese Maple– An extremely popular and diverse choice for small spaces, many varieties of Japanese maple top out at under 10 feet (3 m.) tall. Most have striking red or pink leaves all summer long and all have dazzling foliage in the fall. Eastern Redbud– Dwarf varieties of eastern redbud reach just 15 feet (5 m.) in height. In the summer its leaves are dark red to purple and in the fall, they change to bright yellow. Crabapple– Always popular among trees for small spaces, crabapples usually don’t reach more than 15 feet (5 m.) in height. A wide number of varieties exist and most produce beautiful flowers in shades of white, pink, or red. While the fruits aren’t tasty on their own, they’re popular in jellies and jams. Amur Maple– Topping out at 20 feet (6 m.) tall, this Asian maple turns brilliant shades of red in the fall. Japanese Tree Lilac– Reaching 25 feet (8 m.) tall and 15 feet (5 m.) wide, Japanese tree lilac is a little on the big side. It makes up for this, however, by producing clusters of beautiful, fragrant, white flowers. Fig– Topping out at around 10 feet (3 m.) tall, fig trees have big, attractive leaves and delicious fruit that ripens in the fall. Accustomed to hot temperatures, figs can be grown in containers and moved indoors to overwinter if need be. Rose of Sharon– Usually reaching 10 to 15 feet (3-5 m.) in height, rose of Sharon can easily be pruned to make it look more tree-like. A type of hibiscus, it produces plenty of flowers in shades of red, blue, purple, or white depending on the variety, in late summer and autumn.

Liz Baessler
Senior Editor

The only child of a horticulturist and an English teacher, Liz Baessler was destined to become a gardening editor. She has been with Gardening Know how since 2015, and a Senior Editor since 2020. She holds a BA in English from Brandeis University and an MA in English from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. After years of gardening in containers and community garden plots, she finally has a backyard of her own, which she is systematically filling with vegetables and flowers.