Deciduous Trees for Smaller Urban Gardens

Prunus nigra Flowering Plum in the Garden

Trees for Small Gardens

There’s something special about Deciduous Trees. They tend to give a soft, romantic feel to any garden and many are relatively quick to grow. There is a real sense of seasonal definition as you observe their natural cycles –  bringing fabulous colours and textures in Autumn before shedding leaves by Winter, with Spring and Summer bringing beautiful blossoms and fresh foliage.    Planted for Summer shade, they provide a cooling effect in the home and garden, and in  Winter, when dormant, can let much needed sunlight into living areas providing natural warmth.  Many deciduous trees like flowering plums, silver birches and also Frangipanis provide an eye catching silhouette when planted with a fence or wall as a backdrop.

Here’s a small list of smaller trees growing in the Nursery. This list will be updated as we get new trees growing! If you’re after any tree in particular, contact us and we’ll see where if we can source it.  Have a look at this for Evergreen Trees for small urban gardens

 Acer palmatum – Japanese Maple

Gjapanese-maple-foliageraceful and elegant, the Green Japanese maple, has delicate green foliage with red tones  emerging in Spring, followed by lovely red Autumn colours. Japanese Maple is a small tree that soften the garden with  soft, feathery foliage.     Plant in a protected spot in the garden, away from hot sun and drying winds. In our experience, the Green Jap Maple is more robust compared to other Red Varieties.

Betula alba – Silver Birch

Silvsilver-birch-treeser Birch is a beautiful tree with small, dainty leaves that twinkle gracefully in the summer breeze. Has striking white bark in the winter time. Plant these in a copse of 3 or 5, you’ll achieve a naturalised look  which also has the benefit of  smaller tree growth.  Install some garden lights for a spectacular night time display – which will highlight the character of the white trunk.

Cercis canadensis – American Redbud

This is a lamerican-redbudovely, ornamental large shrub or small tree. Lots of gorgeous pink blossoms occur in Spring time, followed by sweet heart shaped foliage. This lovely small tree can grow multi-stemmed or into a single trunk to around 5m  tolerating a wide range of soil conditions – from sandy soils to clay, but  it will be happiest planted in improved, conditioned soil with adequate drainage.


Malus –  Ornamental Crab Apple

crab apple

Gorgeous Spring Blossoms on a lovely small tree with a spreading, fibrous root system. Can get to 4m.    Bears small mini apples used for making jams, but mostly used as a beautiful Spring flowering ornamental tree with spectacular Autumn foliage.   Crab Apples can help pollinate other fruiting apples as it has a long flowering period and produces lots of pollen.


 Lagerstroemia – Crepe Myrtle


Brilliant summer show off with a long flowering period.  These small trees love the heat and sun and come in a range of spectacular colours. Grows approx to 4m – good for a small or narrow spaces. These are one of our favourite shrubs.


Plumeria – Frangipani


These have shallow, non invasive root systems, so can be planted near structures or near the pool area.  Thy don’t grow too big, but provide a good amount of summer shade when needed. When dormant without leaves, the large,  bare trunk adds scultptural interest in Winter time.

Prunus nigra –  Ornamental, Flowering Plum

Prunusprunus-nigra nigra is an ornamental small tree with a deep burgundy, purpley foliage that emerges in Spring with spectacular pink blossoms.  It makes a nice tree for smaller gardens, growing to around 5m. Looks great contrasting against shrubs and trees of varying shades of green or with a wall or fence as a backdrop.


 Prunus nigra fastigiata – Upright Flowering Plum


This upright, small tree has a natural column shape and is a great addition to an urban landscape. Use in narr

ow passages for a screen, along fence lines

or as a feature tree contrasting with other green foliage. Has gorgeous pink spring blossoms too!

 Pyrus ussuriensis – Manchurian Pear


This beautiful upright tree with masses of white blossoms in early Spring, glossy green foliage in Summer with gorgeous Autumn foliage.   Manchurian Pear is a tree growing to around 8-10m It’s often used as a feature tree, for street or avenue lining, screening/hedging or even pleaching – (which is a like a hedge on stilts)

Deciduous Fruit Trees


Apples, Apricots, Pears, Peaches, Plums, Nectarines, Nashi. All are considered small trees, all are very ornamental and productive as well! You can do lots with these. Have you ever tried to espalier

– ie training branches so they grow flat against a fence or a wire. Or simply keep them in pots?  You can even plant a few of them in the same hole which will keep them small.  We also have double grafted trees – for example, 2 varieties of apples grafted onto one rootstock.

Weeping Mulberry

Pendulweeping-mulberry-branchesous branches with large, glossy foliage and yummy berries in Spring time make this a garden favourite.  The tree produces small, delicious, sweet, berries that start out a light pink, turning red, before developing into a deep red/black colour.    A really nice, handsome feature tree with the bonus of berries!


Weeping Silver Birch

This elegant oweeping-silver-birchrnamental feature tree adds so much character. Its got striking white trunk contrasting with dainty foliage on weeping, pendulous branches.  Each year, it develops more branches, becoming fuller and wider and even more lovely.

Prune in summer or autumn for best results.


Chinese Tallow

Sapium SebiferumChinese tallow is a fast growing, deciduous tree that shows off its beautiful reddish, orange, purpley autumn colours, even in warmer coastal areas.   Quite a robust tree with a good growth rate,  Chinese tallow can grow up to 8m, which is considered a small tree. Chinese Tallow would make a lovely shade tree  – good for urban gardens.


Found anything you like here? Come and have a look if you’re not sure.

Evergreen Trees for Smaller Urban Gardens

Hymenosporum flavum Native Frangipani folige

So you’re searching for trees for that will provide shade and green up your small plot of land – you want evergreen foliage all year round, and a tree that keeps the same form and shape every year and season,  not deciduous – you’re not interested in cleaning up the leaf mess in Autumn and you simply don’t want to look at a bare tree without leaves – and you want a small tree cause you don’t want roots breaking up your brand new paving area or getting into the pipes.

Here’s a couple of things to consider –  did you know that Evergreens tend to shed and replace foliage throughout the year as opposed to deciduous trees that shed only once a year?  Evergreens tend to lose their leaves gradually, you don’t notice this happening, which leads to a common, general perception, that deciduous are messier than evergreens .

Also, Consider where you’re going to plant your tree. Trees are so important in a landscape, especially new housing subdivisions, where trees are quite non existent.  They provide your landscape infrastructure, or the ‘bones’ of the garden. They make little micro-climates where you can plant other shrubs in a sheltered spot, making a home for many insects, frogs, birds and lizards.  They cool your home, filter pollutants, provide oxygen, and create a great atmosphere.  Deciduous trees can be useful planted in the right spot – cooling your home from the hot summer sun and in winter, when dormant, can let the sunlight in, providing natural warmth.

When planning your garden, try larger shrubs and form them into a tree shape suitable for a small yard. There’s a couple featured below – like Callistemon, and Hibiscus Cottonwood and don’t forget to look at the ultimate Multi-tasking trees – like citrus and olives – These have shallow roots and are highly ornamental and deliciously productive!

This post is about Evergreen Trees. Why not have a look at Deciduous Trees for Smaller Urban Gardens.

Agonis flexuosa Peppermint tree

Agonis flexuosa Peppermint TreeA med sized tree growing to around 3-5m  – featuring pendulous, aromatic foliage, with pinkish coloured new growth.  Agonis flexuosa makes a lovely backdrop tree helping to soften the rest of the garden with it’s weeping habit.  Flowers occur in springtime and are a brilliant white.

Agonis Burgundy is  waterwise once established, however it will grow quicker with regular watering and improved soil.  Suitable uses would be for  screening or a wind break. Agonis are perfect for coastal gardens.

Ornamental Pears

These ever so lovely trees are a great option. Fast growing, with green glossy leaves that emerge after a show of beautiful Spring blossoms, followed by Red Autumn colours, there’s an ornamental pear to suit many situations. From upright column shaped trees, like the Capital Pear, to traditional Pyramid shaped trees like the Manchurian.

Fraxinus griffithi Evergreen Ash

evergreen-ash-foliageEvergreen Ash is a delightful shady, small tree, perfect for smaller gardens in amongst other trees or singly as a feature tree.

Plant in free draining, conditioned, moist, soil in full sun and you’ll be rewarded with a quick growing, shady, evergreen tree with handsome, glossy leaves. Can get to approx 6m.


Hymenosporum flavum – Native Frangipani

hymenosporum-flavum-flowersNative Frangipani are a great choice if you’re looking for an evergreen tree with sweet scented spring blossoms that vary from cream to yellow. They’re from the rainforest areas of Queensland and New South Wales, where they can grow to around 20m, but down this far South in WA, will grow into a small, upright tree not much more than 9 or 10 metres.  Not related at all to the the other Frangipanis that we are all familiar with  (Plumeria sp).

These trees prefer full sun, or part shade, with protection from strong winds.

Hibiscus tiliaceous – Cottonwood

red cottonwood hibiscusHibiscus tiliaceus rubra is a hugely popular, fast growing shrub with dense foliage from tropical Queensland and can get to approx 4-6m if left unpruned.  Does quite well this far South and can tolerate coastal and windy conditions. Gorgeous, red and green heart shaped leaves make this shrub very ornamental with attractive yellow flowers.

Use this to screen your neighbours or hide a fence.

Callistemon Kings Park Special

bottle brushCallistemon Kings Park Special are fast growing bottlebrushes and can quickly get to 5m and they attracts lots of birds and pollinating insects in spring when laden with flowers. (and also in autumn when flowers can bloom again) This is a good choice for a quick growing screen.

Callistemons are quite tolerant of many soil types and can be grown in sandy and clay type soils. Ideally, your soil would be conditioned with lots of compost to ensure lots of new growth.

Eucalyptus caesia – Silver Princess

eucalyptus-silverprincessSpectacular small tree, growing around 5-6m tall. With the sweetest bright,red flowers straight out of a May Gibbs- ‘Gumnut Babies’ book. It has a weeping habit with silvery branches, making it lovely as a feature tree.

Likes to grow in sandy, well drained soil in the sun or shady spots. Responds quite well to pruning to maintain a nice shape. Stake while young to get nice straight growth.

Magnolia Grandiflora – Little Gem

magnolia-little-gemDwarf form of Magnolia grandiflora. You get the same gorgeous glossy green foliage, with a rust coloured underleaf and chunky white flowers that seem to bloom all year round!  Will grow to 4 -5 metres approximately.

Little Gems are quite robust plants, handling drought and high wind areas – although will grow a lot better with regular water and conditioned soil. Plant in a sunny spot for best performance. These are great plants for an  hedge or a screen.

Syzygium Bush Christmas

australian bush christmasHighly ornamental evergreen, shrub providing interest all year round with glossy green leaves, red new growth, summer flowers and autumn berries (which are edible). If left un-pruned, Bush Xmas will grow to around 4m. We love this for topiary and hedging. It has a reasonable growth rate, so is a good choice for a screen or a hedge. The compact foliage attracts many small birds, who use it to nest.


Olea Europaea – Olive

olive-trees Olives are quite suited to our climate and they can grow in those tricky spots where others have struggled.  They’re a long lived tree and also make good potted specimens.  Their root systems are quite shallow, so they’ll need a free draining soil – they don’t like being waterlogged.   Olives are quite drought tolerant, however for good fruit production give them sufficient water. Olives ripen up in late Autumn. They all start off dark green, turning to a light green colour before turning black. Harvesting is done at either stage, light green or black before pickling  or making oil.


orange-tree Lemon, Lime, Mandarin, Kumquat, Orange, Grapefruit are great plants for a small garden. Glossy green foliage, amazing citrus blossoms, and the fruit is an incredible bonus!!  Every yard should have at least one citrus tree.  A lot of citrus grow really well in pots, especially kumquats and mandarins which are smaller citrus trees.





This is a snapshot of what we have growing out in the nursery. If you’re chasing something not listed here, contact us

Read on for Deciduous Trees for Smaller Urban Gardens.

Can’t decide? Come in for a look!