Small Trees For Landscaping: Best Dwarf Trees

Small trees for landscaping are something you can add if you want to create an amazing landscape in your yard. But knowing which dwarf trees to add can be difficult. Fast-growing shade trees are a favorite but that doesn’t take size into consideration. 

small trees for landscaping
Image from Klopf Architecture

So instead, you need to look at small trees for landscaping and small yards if you want smaller trees. Dwarf trees for landscaping are a good idea too and give you a lot more choices than naturally small trees. Let’s take a look at your choices. 

Why Use Small Trees For Landscaping

We get it! You have acreage and you wonder why in the world you would choose small trees for landscaping instead of large ones. Well, there are a few reasons that someone would prefer small trees. 

Of course, there are also a lot of reasons to get large trees. But those reasons are more obvious. People love large trees and the huge impact they have on a space. Not to mention, the majestic nature of them is awesome.

But there are still a lot of reasons to love small trees. After all, bigger isn’t always better, just ask the tiny house nation. Anyway, here are the most common reasons that people decide to opt for small trees instead of large trees. 

Small Trees For Landscaping Are Better For A Small Yard

This is the number one reason that people use small trees instead of large ones. They just don’t have enough space for large trees. Small trees are affordable and can be found in any small size, so they are perfect for small yards.

Separate Yard Space

Even if you have a lot of acreages, which is fairly lucky, you can still use dwarf trees in your yard. Because separating your “land” from your “yard” can really make your yard special and keep it cozy rather than part of your lot. 

Small Trees For Landscaping Are Easy To Care For

Although large trees tend to be heartier than small trees, because of their size, it is easier to feed them. They only need a small amount of food and water each week and will need less rather than more as they grow.

Small Trees For Landscaping Create A Personal Escape 

If you want to separate your yard by creating a little haven just for you, dwarf trees are perfect. Large ones can be overwhelming and will passively invite people in. But small trees are great for creating personal space. 

Small Trees For Landscaping In The Front Yard

Dwarf Trees
Image from Whipple Russell Architects

Sometimes, it’s difficult to shop for dwarf trees because you will buy them as baby trees or even as seeds. Buying saplings is great but it’s difficult to know what they will look like when full-grown, and how large they will grow.

That’s why finding out the range for the tree you are interested in is a great idea. Having them all in one place is perfect too! If you want to find a good small shade tree then take a look at these awesome dwarf trees. 

Harlequin Gloryblower

Harlequin Gloryblower

Height: 10 to 15 feet

Width: 10 to 15 feet

Who wouldn’t want a tree named Harlequin? This tree has adorable star-shaped flowers on them that smell like peanut butter. Now that’s interesting! This tree is bush or shrub-like and gives plenty of shade. 



Height: 20 to 30 feet

Width: 15 to 20 feet

Though the witch hazel isn’t considered a tree, it is still big enough to offer shade in your yard. As the name suggests, the plant has both medicinal properties and looks quite magical, so it’s another fun tree to plant. 

Cryptomeria Japonica

Cryptomeria Japonica

Height:  50-70 feet tall 

Width: 20-30 wide

Though this tree is a little larger than other dwarf trees that’s because it grows quite slow. It will take 20 years before this tree can even grow 20ft tall. So that’s a lot of time as a small shade tree for your yard.

Hardy Orange

Hardy Orange

Height: 10-20 feet

Width: 10-20 feet

The hardy orange tree is a tree that produced a type of orange called the trifoliate orange. The oranges taste similar to other oranges and are fairly easy to grow. The tree stays very small and produces fruit every year.


Height: 10 to 15 ft

Width: 10 to 15 ft

The wintersweet tree is a tree that produces Japanese all-spice, despite being native to China. The tree has small yellow flowers as well and stays small. Not to mention, they smell as sweet as the name suggests. 

Mountain Witchalder

Dwarf Trees

Height: 5 to 10 ft

Width: 5 to 10 ft

Here’s another tree with an interesting name. Its name means large witch alder and it is a member of the witch hazel family though it is even smaller than most typical witch hazels and has even more unique flowers. 

Crepe Myrtle 

Crepe Myrtle 

Height: 15–25 ft 

Width: 5-15 ft

The crepe myrtle is actually a genus of around 50 species of deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs. These flowery trees are native to India, Australia, and Asia. All of the trees in this genus are gorgeous. 

Japanese Maple

Japanese Maple
Image from SullyScapes, LLC

Size: Varies depending on care

The Japanese maple tree is similar to other maple trees but is smaller and has very red leaves. The red leaves change over the seasons but are generally quite a deep and alluring red color, which is why the trees are so popular. 

Washington Hawthorn

Height: 25 to 30 feet

Width: 20 to 25 feet 

The Washington hawthorn tree has pretty little white flowers which make it adorable and inviting. The reddish-purple leaves turn dark green, then orange, scarlet, or purple. So they are fun to watch all year-round. 


Height: 15 to 30 feet

Width: 10 to 20 feet

The dogwood tree is a personal favorite. They have white or pink leaves with each petal have a unique pattern. The dogwood tree is quite welcoming and warm while still feeling like springtime has just begun. 

What Are Dwarf Trees For Landscaping?

Dwarf Trees
Image from Arterra Landscape Architects

Dwarf trees are trees that are not necessarily naturally small but instead are inhibited to be artificially small. Another name for dwarf trees is miniature trees. Both types of trees are pruned and bred to be smaller than average.

In order to ensure that your tree works as a dwarf tree, you need to do two things: buy the right kind of tree and take care of it properly. The first can be done by asking the supplier if the tree you want is a miniature tree. 

The other thing is all on you. Taking care of your plants is important as you will get what you put into the tree, even if it is easy to care for. Here are some things you can do to keep your tree from growing. 

Pruning Small Trees For Landscaping

This is the only real way to keep trees from growing larger than you want them to grow. While you will need to learn a bit about pruning to keep the tree from dying, anyone can prune a tree with a little experience. 

The most important thing you can do when pruning your tree is to do a little at a time. You don’t want to cut feet off of the tree, but rather an inch or two. Keep at it and prune the entire tree when you do clip it.

Make Room For Roots

What you don’t want to do is not give your tree enough room to grow down. The roots need to grow. If you plant them in an area that is too small they won’t grow at all and will eventually die instead.

So give them a little more room than they need. It is a myth that putting your tree in a pot that is too small is a good thing. This can actually harm the tree, so give those roots room to grow and feed the tree regularly. 

Check The Variety 

Even if you already talked to the supplier, you can’t always trust that they aren’t just trying to make a sale. So do your own research on the type of tree you want to turn into a dwarf tree as it may not exist as a dwarf tree.

Buying plants online isn’t a bad idea either. But you can always feel safe buying from a nursery that truly cares about their work. They can help you through the process of ensuring your tree is small and healthy. 

Hire An Expert Who Knows All Small Trees For Landscaping

The single best way to make sure your dwarf tree is a miniature tree and is also as healthy as can be is to hire an expert. Hire a botanist, landscaper, or someone else who knows a lot about trees and specializes in them.

They not only can point you in the right direction but hold your hand through the process. They can teach you how to take care of your trees and make sure they live the longest life that they can possibly live.

Making Your Space Special With Small Trees For Landscaping

Just because someone else suggests a tree doesn’t mean that’s the tree you need to use. After all, your space should be just that. Your space. So instead of picking off of a list, try to find a tree that you can fall in love with.

If that tree can’t be a dwarf tree or miniature tree, then find dwarf trees that can be that are similar to that tree. Ask an expert for advice and similar trees to your dream tree. Who knows, you may fall in love with it too!