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8 Smaller Trees that Make Great Focal Points

Hi y'all!

We often have homeowners come in to the Nursery looking for trees that can be planted near their house, perhaps- smaller in size, to be a focal point of that garden bed. So many trees get large or are planted too close to a house & have to be cut down later on. Below we will share eight trees that stay small (as in 15' tall or less); each would make a wonderful focal point in your gardening bed.

Japanese Maple 'Crimson Queen'

8 trees that stay smaller (15' tall or less):

*in most cases they will stay 12-15' or less- if a tree is super happy, it may keep growing!

1. Japanese Maple: 'Crimson Queen', 'Virdis'

Japanese Maples are gorgeous trees that have interesting shapes, very pretty leaves, and many times have excellent Fall foliage. Most Japanese Maples enjoy morning sun with afternoon shade or full shade. These two varieties stay smaller making them great options to look for for your space.

Weeping Redbud 'Cascading Hearts'

2. Weeping Redbud: 'Cascading Hearts'

'Cascading Hearts' Redbud- can we just swoon for a minute? This beautiful tree blooms lavender-pink blooms in early Spring & has heart-shaped leaves that truly cascade down in a weeping tree form tree that looks amazing as a focal point in a gardening bed. It tops out at 6' tall & 6-8' wide.

Globe Blue Spruce Standard 'Globosa'

3. Globe Blue Spruce Standard: 'Globosa'

I LOVE Globe Blue Spruces so much that I have it planted in my garden (above). These beauties have blue evergreen needles that really pop in a garden. As they grow (very slowly), their height does not change much- they just grow wider over time. Maturing at 4-5' tall & 5' wide, they make an excellent focal point in a smaller gardening area. It has been my personal experience that Blue Spruce do best here in our hot Summer climates when they have some afternoon shade. Their evergreen leaves seem to stay bluer & they are less likely to look scorched by the sun with that little bit of afternoon relief. Keep that in mind when searching for one for your space.

4. Willow tree: 'Hakuro Nishiki'

When you have a space where the soil stays wet but there isn't enough room for a large Weeping Willow to help with drainage, in comes 'Hakuro Nishiki' to the rescue! Staying around 6' tall & 7' wide, it is the perfect size willow for smaller spaces, & we love it for its unique addition to a garden!

5. Crape Myrtles: 'Tonto', 'Acoma', 'Sioux'

'Tonto' is a hot pink bloomer & I actually have it planted in a small space in one of my gardening beds. It grows to be 8-9' tall & 8-9' wide. Crapes love full sun & bloom from early Summer until September. They have beautiful Fall foliage & attractive bark as the tree ages. Crape Myrtles are usually multi-trunked & their large blooms are very attractive in the Summer months!

'Acoma' is a beautiful white variety that reaches 10' tall by 10' wide. Water 'Acoma' & all Crape Myrtles deeply the first year they are planted- this encourages their roots to grow strong & deep. You may apply a slow-release fertilizer in Spring. Prune any unwanted stems that come up at the base of your tree at any time of the year.

'Sioux' is a pale pink bloomer & it is right on the fence of being too large for a smaller space- growing to be an average of 10-15' tall & 10-12' wide. It is worth mentioning in this post because many of you can handle a tree that size still in your gardening bed.

Chaste Tree 'Blue Diddley'

6. Chaste tree: 'Blue Diddley', 'Shoal Creek'

Chaste trees are known for their luscious purple blooms, aromatic smell & the fact that they attract pollinators. Two varieties we are fond of at the Nursery include 'Blue Diddley', which only reaches 5-6' x 5-6' & 'Shoal Creek' which grows to be 12' tall (sometimes upwards of 15' so it is right on the cusp of being too large for some of you!) & 10-12' wide in size. Chaste trees are gorgeous & do very well in our area. They also grow pretty fast.

7. Arborvitae: 'Emerald'

'Emerald' Arborvitaes are evergreens- yes, we are mentioning evergreens that stay on the small side! So many seem to grow so big! Emeralds are a favorite to use for screening purposes. They look awesome mixed in with other taller evergreens if you have the space, or use these as your tall screen & mix in smaller evergreens & deciduous flowering shrubs or perennials in front. They add a stately look to more formal homes, so often you will see this tree planted at a corner of a home & it works great there. Topping out at 12-15' tall & only 3-4' wide, it keeps a nice columnar shape which many people love.

8. Harry Lauder's Walking Stick:

This tree shows just how unique it is in Winter when it has no leaves. With curvy & curly-cue branches, Harry Lauder's Walking Stick adds a lot of interest in cold weather when there is not a lot else going on in the garden. It reaches 8-10' tall and wide, so you do need ample width for it, but make no mistake- it will be a great focal point in your gardening bed.


Fall is the best time to plant trees! If you are thinking about planting trees, we recommend coming by & looking at them before Autumn comes so you have some ideas about what you'd like to plant. Please leave questions & comments for us below, & we hope you'll come by soon!

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