How Tall Should a Garden Tree Be?

If you want to add a tree into your garden, then you want to choose one that is the right size for the space, but how tall should it actually be?

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If you want to add a tree into your garden, then you want to choose one that is the right size for the space, but how tall should it actually be?

How tall a garden tree should be is based primarily on the size of your garden and the distance that the tree will be from your home. However, you should also make your decision based on factors such as your local climate, surroundings, as well as the aesthetic you want your garden to have.

If you want to have a beautiful garden, then adding a tree into the mix is really going to help tie your outdoor space together. With that being said, planting a tree in your yard takes a lot more commitment than any other plant that will be on your property. Most trees will live for decades and some even centuries, which is why you really want to view planting a tree in your garden as an investment, as chances are that it will be around for the rest of your life. One of the most important things that you want to consider is how tall you want your tree to be. There are a lot of important factors tied to this and you are going to want to be aware of all of them when picking the right tree for your garden. Keep reading to learn more about how tall your garden tree should be.

After years of working in a nursery and as an arborist, I have had a lot of in-depth experience planting various kinds of trees. My experience has taught me that in order to pick the right tree height for your garden, you should understand exactly how this tree will evolve in your outdoor space throughout its life.

Table of Contents

How Tall a Garden Should Be

If you have never planted a tree in your garden before, then you are going to want to approach this addition to your yard with careful consideration. There are literally tens of thousands of different tree species out there and each one of them is unique in its own way. These incredible plants will vary in their aesthetic, characteristics, and height, which is why you want to pick one that will fit right into your garden.

Before you begin planting just any tree that catches your eye, you are going to want to figure out exactly how much space you have at your disposal. It goes without saying, that if you have a limited amount of space in your yard to play around with, you probably do not want to plant a tree that is going to grow 100ft tall.

This is important for a number of different reasons, which can not only result in a tree becoming invasive to your garden but even a safety hazard in many cases. Huge trees and small spaces tend not to mix that well as they can dominate your yard and they can actually drop huge branches on your house - or even you! Furthermore, you want to be aware of how your tree will affect your neighbors property. It is very common for people to plant trees that end up causing neighborly disputes regarding aesthetic and fallen debris, which is why you want to understand as much about your tree and space before you plant.

Once you have taken measurements of your yard, observed your garden’s surroundings, and feel confident about where you want to plant, you can start reviewing your options for trees. One of the best ways to select a great tree to plant that will not become too tall is to go to your local garden center, as they will have professionals that are equipped to point you in the right direction. To help you understand exactly how tall your garden tree should be, we are going to take a closer look at this topic in more detail.

Garden Size

At the end of the day, you are going to have to select a tree that is logical for the size of your garden.

One of the biggest indicators of how tall your tree should be is based on the distance that it will be planted from the proximity of your home. You do not want to plant a large tree too close to your house, as this can lead to complications.

However, if you have a property that is rather large or at the very least a garden that is further away from your actual home, you will be much less restricted with the size of the tree that you choose. Here are some examples.

Small Size Garden

If you have got a small garden that is relatively close to your home, you are going to want to plant a tree accordingly.

For the most part, we do not recommend planting a tree that exceeds 30ft tall, if you have got a small garden that is within 10 to 12ft of your house. Planting anything that is bigger than this can result in adverse effects such as constant debris falling all over your home, which can cause damages to your property and even become dangerous.

One big issue with planting a garden tree that is larger than 30ft in a small space is that you will lose a substantial amount of natural lighting to your house. This can be advantageous if you live somewhere that receives a lot of intense heat but for many people, it becomes problematic and expensive, as your heating bill is sure to rise.

Luckily, there are some fantastic trees that grow at this height or even considerably shorter than this. Many trees such as Plum Trees and Cherry Trees come in dwarf options, which means that you can have a wide variety of trees that usually grow large fit right into your garden. So, if you had your heart set on a type of tree that you thought was too large, always check to see if there is a dwarf option available.

These trees rarely get above 15ft tall, which is a perfect tree for a garden that is small in size. However, there are many trees that do not grow this tall such as Japenese Maple, Crape Myrtle, and Red Bud that are all widely available.

Medium Sized Garden

If you have got a medium-sized garden on your property, then your options for trees will expand quite a bit and you can be more flexible with how tall your garden tree will be.

For medium-sized trees, we recommend planting within roughly 18ft to 25ft of your home - depending on how tall the tree will be that you want to plant. You should keep the height of your tree options for a yard of this size to be around 30 to 60ft.

The good news is that if you have a medium-sized garden, you will have a lot of flexibility for your yard. The bulk of the tree options that you will have to select from will hover in the 30 to 60ft range, which means that you can really get creative with your space.

With that being said, this is also the range that starts to become more annoying and risky with falling debris. You should expect there to be a considerable amount of leaves falling from deciduous trees of this height and you should also be aware of trees that have a lot of falling branches.

Some great tree options that are ideal for this height would be Birch Trees, Crabapple Trees, and Maple Trees.

Large Sized Garden

Property owners who have large-sized gardens and a lot of room to play around with, generally do not need to be overly concerned with how tall their tree gets. The majority of the issues and safety risks that come with planting tall trees are pretty much eliminated if you have adequate space at your disposal to plant safely.

We have found that if your garden is at least 30 to 40ft away from your home, then you can pretty much plant whatever you want. A typical large tree would get to a height of roughly 60 to 80ft - or even more.

A tree that is expected to get this tall will take years to get there but you may still want to plant it in a designated space where it will be further away from your property. This is especially the case if you do not want it to block sunlight from reaching your home later on when it gets to its full size.

Some of the most common trees that you see that get this tall are Oak Trees, Sequoias, and Spruce Trees.

Factors To Consider

If you want to pick a tree that is going to be just the right height for your garden, you are going to want to carefully weigh out the dimensions of your space and how the tree will fit into your yard.

In most cases, you will find that taking basic measurements and observing your surroundings should be enough to indicate how tall your tree should be. However, there are some additional factors that you should consider when making your choice. Here are some examples:

  • Climate - evaluating your climate is important for the health of the tree’s growing process, but it is also critical to keep this in mind if you have a lot of storms in your area. Strong winds, floods, and natural disasters can result in trees becoming major safety hazards - especially if they are very tall. If you live in an area that experiences adverse weather, you may want to be careful with how tall of a tree you plant in your garden.
  • Invasiveness - while trees are beautiful, they can also become quite invasive. Planting a tree that is too tall or obstructs your neighbor’s property can result in issues. In addition, trees can also be invasive to other plants in your garden by blocking sunlight or dropping debris, so choose wisely to avoid this.
  • Legality - you may be surprised to find that planting some trees that exceed a certain height can actually lead to legal issues. It is not uncommon to have county laws that regulate how tall a tree can get. To ensure that whatever tree your plant is within the legal limit of your area, you should always confirm this with a county official.
  • Aesthetic - the main reason that most of us plant trees in our garden is to add a nice aesthetic to our yards. When choosing the right height for your tree, be sure to select one that is going to compliment the overall aesthetic of your property.

By keeping all of these factors in mind - in addition to the distance that you have between your garden and your home, you should be well equipped with making the right decision when choosing a tree for your property.

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