Jul 27, 2016

How To Choose The Right Tree For Your Landscape

Valley west landscapes 163

Choosing the right tree can seem…overwhelming. Especially, if you are not using a landscape specialist. With thousands of tree varieties to choose from, you may be wondering where to start. There are some important conserderations to think about which also serve as a refining process to end up with “your perfect tree.” Read on to simplify your decision with our 6 steps to choosing the right tree for your landscape.

Tree Height

How tall a tree grows is an important factor is choosing a tree. Often, homeowners gloss over this, and gravitating toward varieties they prefer. While this is obviously an important factor, you should start by thinking about your space first and likes second. The tag on the tree often gives you the height, spacing and width the tree/plant will grow to. Visualize your space, think about what's above your landscape toward the sky. Are there power-lines to consider, neighbor's large trees, structures such as fences or roof lines? These obstacles often determine the size of tree you will ultimately choose.

Tree Width

The width a tree grows is an important factor for several reasons. If a tree grows too wide it will overwhelm your landscape. A home can look engulfed by a tree because of a poorly chosen variety. Additionally, if you plan on having lawn, the final width of a tree will play an important factor in having a lush green lawn. Lawn does not do well in the shade; therefore, if you have small turf area to began with you may want to opt for a dwarf variety of tree.

Root System

An extensive root system is an important consideration when choosing a tree. Sadly, when this is overlooked it can cost a homeowner thousands of dollars. Tree roots can be powerful destroyers of plumbing pipes, water lines and foundations. The city only covers sewer and water lines from the end of a property's line, so ultimately the homeowner is responsible for any issues within the property lines. A secondary consideration is whether or not you want grass surrounding your tree. Extensive root systems will deplete the available water to surrounding grass.

Maintenance Issues

Debris: All trees will have some maintenance; however, some have more than others. For example, a horse chestnut tree will not only drop leaves but hard (almost rock -like) nuts. These are not fun to clean up and is far more labor intensive than other types of trees. This also applies to any type of fruiting tree, if you will not eat the fruit do not plant one. Used fruit falls to the ground causing fruit fly infestations and a pungent rotting smell. Pruning: Make sure you consider the pruning which will be required of any tree you pick. The larger the tree the more timely and costly the pruning can be. We highly recommend hiring a professional to prune specimen trees, especially those over 12' tall.

Lightning Conditions

There are two lighting conditions to contemplate when choosing a tree. The first is current lightning conditions. Think about the light available to your new tree and the requirements needed according to the tree tag. The second lighting condition to consider, is the amount of shade your tree canopy will create. Some foliage grows more densely on certain trees than others. If your current shrubs require full to partial sun consider a tree will a less dense canopy.


Is your landscape a soggy mess in the winter months? Planting a tree may help aid in erosion problems. Consider planting your tree in a strategic area that has problems with erosion. However, you do want to avoid planting a tree where water pools.

We strongly advocate the choice to plant a tree as doing so is correlated with reducing neighborhood crimes (yep, it’s true!), increasing a homes re-sale value, cleanses the air, cools down the outdoor space as well as the interior of a home and prevents erosion. You can’t go wrong planting a tree in your landscape if you take into consideration the above.

Still overwhelmed? Feel free to consult the professionals!
19 0905 VW 0064 3
Erica Mooney
Email Erica Mooney

Erica is an avid lover of the outdoors, and transformed that love into a partnership running Valley West with Ryan 2012.

Design, DIY, Home Protection and landscaping, knowledge, Landscape Design, Plant and Tree Knowledge

Latest Posts

Looking for a talented landscape design team?