If you’re considering bringing a bit more greenery into your front yard, chances are the thought of planting a tree or two has crossed your mind. While you might be thinking of how they will look when grown (beautiful, of course), there are numerous other factors to consider, some of which you might or might have not thought about.
A tree is definitely a commitment in the long run. While it might be tempting to choose a species based on how you want it to look, and you are inspired by modern front yard ideas, you might find that its specific care requirements might be different from what you’ll be willing to commit to. It's important to have a basic understanding of the overall considerations of having a tree even before you start looking into what species you prefer. This is especially true if, just like me, you wouldn’t know where to start.
If you don’t have a landscape designer to hand to advise on what to do, don’t worry. I’ve spoken to two of the best experts in the field to give me the pros and cons so you can decide whether to make the step and commit to a tree for the long run.
Is a tree a good idea for a front yard?
Let’s start with the positives. Patricia Benner of Benner Landscape Design tells me trees can add scale and character to a front garden. ‘Flowering trees are great for adding seasonal interest and curb appeal.’ Just think of the effect a magnolia or Japanese flowering cherry tree will have when in full bloom.
Trees are also a great way to make your garden feel more welcoming. ‘I feel that a property without trees feels barren,’ Marci Bonner, Associate at Richardson & Associates Landscape Architecture, tells me.
What I was fascinated about was the concept of using the tree leaves almost as a protection shield for your home from the elements. ‘Deciduous trees (meaning trees that shed their leaves, usually in autumn) planted on the south side of your property provide shade in summer and lose their leaves in winter to allow the sun to warm your home naturally,' adds Marci, 'while evergreen trees planted on the north side of your home help to mediate cold winter winds.'
It's also worth considering planting the best trees for privacy, if you don't have a tall fence, or your windows are closer to the street.
And if you need another feel-good but altruistic reason to plant a tree, Marci adds that ‘trees are very beneficial for wildlife, providing shelter and food for multitudes of insects and animals.’ Now there’s a contribution to our environment I would love to make.
Why you shouldn’t plant a tree in your front garden
With all the positives come some downsides too, which will make you think twice before heading out to a plant nursery. Like all living beings, once planted trees require consistent maintenance for many years to come.
‘Deciduous trees lose their leaves each fall and lose branches regularly,' warns Marci Bonner. 'Some have sharp or smelly fruit that they drop and thorns. Conifers keep their needles but drop pine cones throughout the year.'
'Keep these maintenance items in mind when selecting trees because most likely, you or someone you hire will have to pick up the debris,' Marci says, adding that while no tree is perfect ‘I believe the benefits outweigh the cons’.
This has definitely given me food for thought, especially bearing in mind that having a tree is not just a matter of front garden aesthetics. It is, effectively, a living being that requires care and commitment for a long time. But if you’re ready to take this on and start looking for the best trees for the front yards, you might find that the sheer joy it gives you and the well-being benefits you get from more nature in your garden is 100% worth it.
A magnolia tree will look very impressive in any garden especially when in full bloom. Be mindful though, it doesn't stay in bloom for long, and it can be quite messy when the flowers fall off.
The thuja tree is easy to maintain, keeping its green leaves all year round. It grows quickly and is very adaptable to changing weather.
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Raluca is Digital News Writer for Livingetc.com and passionate about all things interior and living beautifully. Coming from a background writing and styling shoots for fashion magazines such as Marie Claire Raluca’s love for design started at a very young age when her family’s favourite weekend activity was moving the furniture around the house ‘for fun’. Always happiest in creative environments in her spare time she loves designing mindful spaces and doing colour consultations. She finds the best inspiration in art, nature, and the way we live, and thinks that a home should serve our mental and emotional wellbeing as well as our lifestyle.
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