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Narrow Garden Issue

I have a really narrow garden at 16' wide and am struggling with suitable trees for a wildlife garden. My border to the right of the path is 1.2m wide and backs on to a fence, so I'm massively restricted there, though it is the sunny side of the garden. The left side of the path is probably only 3m wide and I have it all lawn as I have a child and a dog. I'm getting really fed up, because whenever I see 'Ideal tree for a small garden' headlines, I look at the size and they are generally no smaller than 5m x 10m. That's as wide as my entire garden!

Has any one got any advice please because I'm really struggling to think what I can put in, as even Sorbus trees tend to be about 4m+ wide.



  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 20,443


    What about a Prunus Amanogawa? It is a very slender flowering cherry. This is a pic from Google.


    Dordogne and Norfolk
  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,114
    It may be slender but no good for wildlife.

    You may be better-off planting something like teasels, or buddlia or cotoniaster or honeysuckle.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 82,266

    I would go for a crab apple - one of the best is Golden Hornet - in my experience it's growth is quite upright for at least the first 10 to 15 years, and although it does start to spread a bit as it gets older, it would be quite possible to prune it to keep it to the size and shape you want without it looking silly.

    Crab apple blossom is loved by pollinating insects and of course many birds and insects love the fruit, but one of my favourite memories of the Golden Hornet outside my window is of flocks of Longtailed tits hopping around in it's branches after insects.


    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • Domestic Fruit trees are good too, most can be kept to a very small size if you need to, i have a smallish garden and 19 fruit trees! I grow most of them as cordons, so i promise, it is possible to have trees in a small space image

    I dont know what surrounds your garden or what the neighbouring gardens are like, but food in isolation wont attract a massive range of things as they need cover from predators and somewhere to breed, would you consider a mixed hedge? I know its a scary thought but it can be kept very narrow, so wouldnt take up masses of room. I imagine you could do a similar thing with a row of climbers along your fence image
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,574

    You don't have to plant your tree in the border do you?  Plant it in teh middle of the lawn towards the end of your garden at half the distacnce of its final width from your rear boundary.   It can later become a place to sit in shade or grow shade loving plants as your garden and children and dog mature.

    Have a look here for suitable trees - 

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 20,443

    Crab apple is my normal choice for small gardens, but I thought it might be too wide for this one. My daughter has a small garden and they have an espalier apple tree on one wall. You could always hang bird feeders on that Prunus!

    Dordogne and Norfolk
  • xx Posts: 100

    A Holly. Prune it to your taste, evergreen, berries in winter. Perfect for birds.

  • SalinoSalino Posts: 1,609

    ..I had a garden smaller than Mr Young's here, with narrower borders too... my choice then and now would always be Sorbus vilmorinii, providing your soil is reasonably good... has a narrow head, and can be planted near a fence with no trouble... it'll never be in anyone's way...some people advocate planting 3 together as they are so small, about 6 foot apart in a triangular arguably they lack stature... but one was enough for me... they're not cheap...

  • Prunus looks great and Crocus is local to me, so could be a good option. I'm tempted by a Malus and 'Golen Hornet' is one of two I'm considering at the moment. Have looked at Sorbus vilmorinii, but it says it's 5m x 5m, which tends to be the size for most of the small trees on Crocus. I wonder if it's a case of popping them in and seeing what happens.

    Hedges - I'd love a hedge, but our dog was attacked by our previous neighbours dog, and the new neighbours also have dogs, and where as before our dog didn't mind, now he's very scared and I fear would attack, so a hedge is a no go unfortunately, that and I've only just replaced the fencing after this years storm.

    Please keep the advice coming, it's been really helpful so far.

  • Buddleia - more of a large shrub than a tree.  Quick growing but can generally be hard pruned to keep to size.  

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