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10 of the Best Trees for Any Backyard

Trees add much-needed shade, privacy, color, and value to your backyard. Check out this list of longstanding favorites that you can easily incorporate into your lawn design for stunning results.


A dogwood tree brings beauty and interest to your backyard all year long. It flowers during spring in a profusion of white, pink, and red blossoms, and then features a lush and compact canopy of foliage in the summer. Most varieties display red foliage in the fall before dropping leaves to show off attractive branching in the winter. There’s a variety for most any zone in the United States, making it no surprise that dogwood is one of the most popular flowering trees in America.


The tulip tree does double duty as a shade tree and an ornamental. It is bursting with tulip-shaped flowers in springtime and flaunts brilliant yellow leaves in the fall. A fast-growing hardwood, the tulip tree can grow more than two feet in a year. It is subject to few pest problems and can be grown in Zones 4 through 9, making it an ideal choice for backyards throughout the country, providing they can handle its height.


Emblazoned with pinkish-purple, saucer-shaped flowers in the early spring, saucer magnolia is a backyard showstopper. Growing 20 to 30 feet tall and thriving in Zones 4 through 9, it’s an ornamental that's suitable for almost any yard.


If you’re looking to add fall interest and color to your backyard, sugar maple is a great selection. Growing 60 to 75 feet tall, the sugar maple boasts a spreading canopy that puts on a vibrant show in autumn. Considered both a shade and an ornamental tree, it’s no wonder this is an American favorite for the yard.


In as little as five years, the silver maple tree will transform your backyard into a shady retreat. The silver undersides of its leaves not only give the silver maple its name, but also lend the tree a shimmering silver appearance in the breeze. It has a vast root system and large trunk, so be mindful to plant it away from sewer lines and walkways.


Backyard privacy is important in so many places, but it's especially crucial between houses and yards in housing subdivisions. 'Green Giant' arborvitae has become a popular privacy screen for plenty of reasons: A fast-growing evergreen, it is exceptionally hardy, tolerates almost any soil, and has a beautiful conical shape. It’s great for a hedge, a screen, or as a single specimen in the backyard.


Few trees are as romantic and elegant as the weeping cherry. With cascading branches festooned with white or pink blossoms in spring, this graceful tree will quickly become the highlight of any backyard. Growing 20 to 30 feet tall, with a 20- to 25-foot spread, it’s small enough to fit almost anywhere.


The red oak gets its name from the brilliant leaf color it shows off in the fall. Popular for both its hardiness and beauty, it’s also a fast grower—reaching up to 75 feet tall in maturity—with a rounded canopy. For larger backyards requiring shade, red oak is an excellent choice.


Whether you’re looking to provide evergreen privacy for your yard or enhance your property with a singular ornamental stunner, American holly delivers. Small, white springtime blooms give way to red berries (actually drupes) in the fall, which remain throughout winter. Holly offers both visual interest and food for wildlife, attracting birds and other small creatures to your yard.

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