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Ideas for two trees in front of house?

Hi there image,

I am seeking some advice and ideas.

We would like to plant two trees in front of our house. The lawn/front garden is small so looking for ideally that would grow to about 3-5m. It is also a south west facing front garden.


As we are in the corner plot, we were contemplating on planting two good screening trees (one either side of the path). I have no idea what type of soil we have - so have no clue whether it is chalky, acidic or alkaline and am therefore looking for a hardy plant that will withstand any types of soil. 

I have done some research into good screening trees and people have recommended the following:

1. Dwarf apple trees (although I am not sure having two of them would be a ridiculous idea?) - these are deciduous as well.On the plus side it is good for local wildlife.

2. Bullbay Evergreen Magnolia Trees - Our concerns are whether the roots might cause problems to the house foundations and whether these might block too much of the sunlight into the house?

Are there any better recommendations to the two trees above? And ideas or advice?

Many many thanks in advance image!



  • Hortum-cretaeHortum-cretae Posts: 979

    The magnolia wouldn't harm the house foundations, but magnolias prefer heavier soils, clay based, really. I think it would be too heavy a presence there, especially as it grew larger. Flowering cherries would be an obvious start - 'Shirotae', or 'Shogetsu' are both beautiful trees in spring, and neither is too large. What about the ornamental pear, pyrus calleryana 'Chanticleer', on one side and a cherry the other.  If the soil's good enough (and I think you ought to test it, even by digging up some), then perhaps a japanese maple would suit you.  


  • aerogaerog Posts: 3

    Thank you for the suggestions given so far. If we went down the path of wanting both sides to have the same tree, would you still suggests the above (i.e, quinces, Flowering cherries and ornamental pear) for both sides?

  • Blue OnionBlue Onion Posts: 2,995

    I would go with two of the same apples on dwarf root stock, to keep with the symmetry of your yard.  They will provide blossoms and then fruit for you and the wild life.  Another alternative would be crab apples on dwarf root stock, much lower fall maintenance due to not having to deal with fallen apples everywhere.. and a good amount more color in the spring.  

    I have a yellow delicious apple on dwarf root stock in my front yard next to the driveway, and I just kick the fallen apples under the tree onto the bark mulch I have around the tree.  The bird and critters eat what they want, and then once all the apples are down in early winter I just cover the whole lot with a fresh layer of bark mulch.  The apples compost down right there, and feed any other little tiny critters looking for a winter snack.  

    Do make sure you plan a good size area of mulch around the base of your trees.  This reduces competition with grass (Bunny on GQT mentioned something last week, or the week before, that trees grown with mulch perform 70% better than those grown in grass), AND mulch prevents mower damage to the trunk.  Get small trees, and don't stake them.  Small trees will soon out grow something planted at a more mature age, and they are much cheaper.  

    Utah, USA.
  • KeenOnGreenKeenOnGreen Posts: 1,831

    Squashed and rotting fruit on your path/lawn/driveway in Autumn may not be practical.  I'd go for non-fruiting, not fussy about being pruned/shaped, and if possible evergreen, for all year round privacy/structure/foliage. Most interesting trees however are deciduous, so lots more choice.

    Pittosporums can make attractive small trees, but you'd need to buy a sizeable plant to start with, otherwise it would take years to reach the right height.  Hawthorns are great for wildlife, with nice blossom.  We have a lovely variety called "Crimson Cloud" (see photo).  People always rave about Amelanchier's, if I could have one tree it would be that, lovely colour, blossom, and berries for the birds.


  • hogweedhogweed Posts: 4,053

    I would not go for fruiting trees outside your house - they may encourage hordes of kids!  Perhaps something a bit less obvious like crab apples or the new rowan cultivars which have prettily coloured berries.  Acers with nice bark or the white barked birch Jacquemontii? My favourite small trees are Amelanchiers - blossom, fruit for birds and autumn colour. 

    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,789

    I'd steer clear of apple trees for that very reason hogweed!

    Hard to beat Amelanchier for almost any situation, but be sure to pick a nice specimen that you can keep as a 'tree' shape. They're often multi stemmed as they're really shrubs rather than trees.

    The spindle tree - Euonymous europaeus - is another nice option. Birches too - light canopy so won't block light. I love the ornamental pear - Pyrus salicifolius which does eventually get reasonably big, but can be pruned quite easily. 

    Evergreens can be tricky for that sort of situation  - you'd need to keep on top of pruning from early on. If they get to any size, they'll be very solid looking and will be very dense.

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • ForestedgeForestedge Posts: 3,650

    At least one amelanchier.

  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Posts: 8,299

    Spindle trees are lovely but their fruit is poisonous, which might not go down well in the neighbourhood...  

    I'm curious to know why you don't eat your apples, Blue Onion?  None of my business, of course...  You can, of course, use crab apples too, for delicious jelly, which would save them from falling off the tree and rotting on the ground.  I had 'John Downie' crab apple in my last garden, a small tree with attractive flowers and fruit.  'Harry Baker' is a gorgeous crab, with deep pink flowers, reddish leaves and bright red fruit which "jellies" beautifully.  They taste horrible raw though, which would discourage the local youth from eating too many.

    Since 2019 I've lived in east Clare, in the west of Ireland.
  • aerogaerog Posts: 3

    Wow! A lot of brilliant ideas and trees to consider. I knew I would get somewhere with making a decision if I posted on here. Will no longer be considering the magnolia.

    Thank you very much for all your help and advice. I have just spoken to the other half and we are going with two of the same trees for symmetry. I love the look of the Pyrus salicifolius, Amelanchier, Quince (although having two of them might be too much?) and the birch! Decisions ...decisions...

    There are so many varieties when choosing the Amelanchier, are there any particular ones we should be looking at?

    Thank you all again!image

  • Blue OnionBlue Onion Posts: 2,995
    Liriodendron says:

    I'm curious to know why you don't eat your apples, Blue Onion?  None of my business, of course...  

    See original post


    Oh, I do.. but the worms have already eaten most of it, so I only ever get a few bites here and there. image I'm not one for spraying (I'm organic, EXCEPT for glyphosate), and the coddling moths eat pretty much every single apple I grow.  Doing six different organic control methods over several large apple trees weekly is not my thing, so apples goes either under the tree or under the veg garden mulch.  

    Utah, USA.
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