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5 Top Trees for Small Spaces

Small trees are perfect for tight spaces, such as the area between your home and drive, along a fence, or to create privacy. Making use of vertical space is the best way to expand a small garden and add another dimension and layer of interest.

1. The Space Saver

Plant an espalier-trained tree (usually an apple or pear) against a wall or fence - it's a great way of saving space, as the tree is flat against the surface, and they look stylish too. Trees are usually trained in horizontal lines, and only need a light prune in late summer to keep their decorative shape.

The best bits:

  • Perfect for grown flat against a wall in a tight space
  • The decorative shape provides year-round structure
  • They're easy to maintain once planned
  • You'll be rewarded with blossom in spring followed by tasty fruit

Blossom (Aprin - May)
Fruit (August - October)

2. Pretty and Productive

You can't beat a fruit tree for versatility and a long season of interest. Spring blossom will be followed by beautiful foliage and a delicious harvest - some fruit trees have colourful autumn leaves too. Apples, pears, plums and more are all on offer.

The best bits:

  • The combination of blossom and fruit
  • There's a fruit tree for every size garden - you don't need an orchard!
  • Some fruit trees can be grown in a patio container
  • You're guaranteed a harvest for years to come

Blossom (Aprin - May)
Fruit (August - October)

3. The Show Stopper

Ornamental crab apples (also known as malus) have pretty spring blossom followed by masses of vibrant, cherry-sized fruits. They’re available in all shades of red and yellow, and the fruits last from autumn into winter. This tree is ideal for a small garden and makes the perfect focal point in a border.

The best bits:

  • The fruits are adored by garden birds
  • Crab apples are perfect for a tight space
  • The ornamental fruits provide a long-lasting, colourful spectacle
  • Many varieties have great autumn leaf colour

Blossom (Aprin - May)
Ornamental fruit (September onwards)
Autumn leaf colour (October - November)

4. Some Autumn Colour

Plant an acer for guaranteed autumn colour. They’re perfect for pots or borders, with many turning a fiery red as temperatures dip and autumn arrives. Grow acers in a semi-shaded spot and water regularly if growing in a pot – they don’t respond well to drying out.

The best bits:

  • You're guaranteed a spectacular autumn display
  • Acers make a stylish focal point on a patio or doorstep
  • They look good year-round - even their skeletal form in winter
  • They're an investment, with many years of interest to come

Autumn leaf colour (October - November)

5. Go Native

Silver birch trees are native to the UK and deserve a place in any garden. Their white trunks steal the show, with golden autumn leaf colour to bring interest at the end of the year. Grow one as a specimen in a border or plant several in a small group to create a contemporary look.

The best bits:

  • A striking white trunk - polish to make them brighter!
  • Great for nesting birds and supporting beneficial insects
  • Spring catkins and autumn leaf colour add to the appeal
  • Perfect for creating a focal point

Catkins (April - May)
Autumn leaf colour (October - November)