Tips for Selecting Trees for Your Yard

Some of you may be considering placing some new trees in your yard this year. And you’ll find that the selection process isn’t always easy. Before you start thinking about the type of tree you’d like first consider its location and purpose (or function). 

When selecting a tree for your yard, define the function of the tree: 

Screens – these provide a visual and/or sound barrier between your house and the road, another property, or an object 

Background – larger trees behind the home add a contrast (making the house pop) and soften the roof line 

Accent – accents provide visual interest with a variety in height, texture, and color 

Framing – this helps the house appear more established and the property thoughtfully designed 

Shade – shade trees block direct sunlight, particularly afternoon sunlight, to keep your house cooler 


Once you establish the function of the tree, you can make the next step in demining its location, which will pair with the type of tree you select. You’ll want to take into account size, texture, shape, and maintenance. 

Size – you can select small (under 25 feet), medium (under 40 feet) or large (above 40 feet). The size you choose should be in proportion to the house or other structures nearby. 

Texture – trees come in all types of textures with thin or heavy branches, twigs, leaves and needles. Large, heavy trees suit wide open areas. Medium trees can help break up areas with a lot of buildings while offering shade and height variety. Small trees are good focal points for garden beds and along walkways and add more delicate features one would stop and consider. 

Shape – shapes of trees include columnar, open headed, round headed, spreading, pyramidal, weeping, oval, and umbrageous (umbrella shaped). Shape will come down largely to your own personal taste and preference. But you may also want to take into consideration other existing trees and plants nearby, garden styles, and the architecture of the property.  


Here are a few other helpful tips when selecting trees for your property: 

  • Avoid placing trees close to you home that grow quickly but are structurally weak and likely to break in storms, wind, ice and snow. Keep them at far enough distance so they don’t overhang the roof of your house. 
  • Choose trees that aren’t super prone to disease and pests and would be considered hardy for your area 
  • Avoid high maintenance trees that are messy and shed a lot of unwanted fruit, seed pods, twigs and branches 
  • Keep trees away from underground and overhead utilities, septic tanks, driveways and sidewalks. 
  • Consider the tree’s size at maturity so you don’t plant them too close together. 
  • Do not plant trees that provide dense shade where high-sunlight grasses and flowers are grown. 

If you have any further questions about planting, growing, maintenance or removal of trees on your property, we’d be happy to discuss them with you. Schedule a free tree assessment of your property and we will answer any questions you have. We provide tree service to eastern Baltimore County and western Harford County, Maryland. 

Tips for Selecting Trees for Your Yard