When looking at Feature Trees for the garden remember that they may be evergreen or deciduous, flowering or non flowering (insignificant flowers). Many trees are suitable for small gardens, front yards as well as large parks, and with a range of flowering, weeping, Australian Native and upright feature trees we list some of the best feature trees.
Flowering trees are always popular especially in the front yards of suburban houses, however it is worth considering feature trees with great foliage color and form as well as trees with attractive bark. Cloud pruned trees are increasingly popular as features in the garden and are readily available for sale from online and retail nursery suppliers.
Feature Trees in Landscaping
Feature trees in gardens are used as a focal point in front yards, parks and even small gardens, it might be tree is chosen for attractive flowers, colorful foliage, interesting shape, form or bark or as is common the desirable weeping or pendulous form of trees such as Weeping Cherries, Weeping Birch and other varieties.
Many Australian Native Trees make great feature trees in the right setting, Bottle Trees (Brachychiton rupestris) with their fascinating trunks are one such tree. Flowering native trees such as Corymbia ficifolia commonly known as ‘Flowering Gum Trees’ are another great feature tree.
Many Magnolias, Birches and Prunus species also make great feature trees.The London plane tree (Platanus x acerifolia) is a large growing feature tree, probably not suited to any but the largest of gardens. Claret Ash (Fraxinus ‘Raywood’) is a popular smaller tree. Mop Top Robinia (Robinia ‘Umbraculifera’) is incredibly popular as a feature tree, perhaps a little overused. Purple Glorytree Tibouchina granulosa and Brachychiton acerifolia or Illawarra Flame Tree are worth considering.
We like Crab Apples (Malus sp.) or ‘ornamental apple trees’. Great shows of flowers and an attractive deciduous tree.
If you are after flowers, why not try Magnolia x ‘Felix’ (pictured top right) or Magnolia soulangiana ‘Vulcan’.
Other Magnolia trees that make great feature trees include
- Magnolia Denudata (Yulan)
- Magnolia Star Wars
- Magnolia Stellata
- Magnolia ‘Kay Parris’ is an evergreen magnolia with attractive foliage
Japanese Maple Trees (Acer Palmatum) are widely used as feature trees in smaller gardens, Attractive foliage and great autumn colour are of interest. However some maples such as Acer Griseum (Paperbark Maple) with peeling mahogany coloured bark on the trunk are grown for their bark as well as autumn colour.
If you are interested in showy bark, then Silver Birches (Betula) are great, but consider Arbutus species as well.
Pyrus calleryanna ‘ornamental pear trees’ are very popular in larger gardens. Liriodendrom or Tulip Tree is another great ornamental tree.
Choosing a feature tree for the garden
A number of factors need to be taken into account when choosing a feature tree for any garden or yard, large or small, these include :
- The likely ‘eventual size’ of the tree is important, this is especially true for feature tree selection for small gardens, however even in larger gardens if you are concerned about overall design, then proportion is important as well. Remember that a ‘Feature Tree’ does not have to be large to be a successful, its shape, size, form, foliage, bark, flowers and position that count as well
- Evergreen or deciduous, advantages both ways, evergreen ornamental can help to provide a screen and of course have foliage all year through. Deciduous trees allow light through in the cooler months and many deciduous trees will flower before the foliage fully forms presenting a spectacular display
- Weeping or not weeping, many species are available in weeping or ‘pendulous’ forms, its a matter of what fits the garden design
- Right Tree for the right conditions, remember that some trees require cool temperate conditions, other thrive in tropical or arid areas, consult your local nursery regarding what will do well in your area. Some feature trees do well in full sun, others prefer part shade.
The bark of many trees such as Betula jacquemontii (pictured left) can be a great feature in the garden. Planted alone as a specimen, or in a group of three, or a long line along a drive or pathway the fantastic bark colours can make a real statement.
Other trees with great Bark as a feature include
- Arbutus x Andrachnoides
- Arbutus unedo (Strawberry tree)
- Acer davidii ‘George Forrest’ or ‘Snake bark Maple’
- Acer Griseum (Paper Bark Maple)
- Acer palmatum ‘Sango Kaku’ (Coral Bark Maple)
- Eucalyptus pauciflora niphophila (The snow gum)
- Prunus serrula or ‘Tibetan cherry’