How To Select Patio Trees

How To Select Patio Trees

A built in patio planter almost demands a small tree. A patio tree is a great way to break up space on a patio, or fill in some dead space in the corner of your patio or deck.   Some patios offer built in planters ideal for trees.  But which tree will work best for your needs?

trees on patio

Landscaping your yard can be a challenge.  There are so many options and it can be hard to figure out which ones will work best for you…and which won’t work, period.  But when trying to landscape a patio or deck, it can be even more difficult.

To begin with, almost no tree labels are going to say whether or not the tree will work for patios.  All they’ll tell you is how big the tree will get, and how much light it needs.  Maybe what zones it will grow in.  But whether it will grow in a container?  Or in a small patch of earth surrounded by concrete or bricks?  Not a chance it’s going to say.

You can try to use your common sense.  Obviously, a weeping willow tree won’t work on a patio since it needs about an acre of land all to itself.  But what about dwarf trees?  Fruiting trees? Evergreen trees? Palm trees?  Are these viable options if they are growing in pots or containers?

The chances a tree will work for your patio depend on a number of factors.  How large a space you have for your tree…whether you intend to plant it in the ground or leave it in a container…where you live…and how much light your patio gets…these are a few of the things that will help you decide which tree or trees you really want on your patio!

Expanding Patio Tree Options

Before you get overwhelmed, keep in mind that if a tree is potted, the chances are good that it will never grow even close to full sized.  For example, some ficus trees can grow sixty feet tall.  But, if the roots are contained, many will only grow about eight feet tall.  Keeping a tree potted will help contain its growth.  Thus greatly expanding your options.

Even if you live in a cooler climate that gets long cold winters, it may still be possible to grow a wide number of trees that are not necessarily suited to your climate.  If the tree is going to be potted, you can always bring it in for the winter.  Hello Mayer Lemon Tree in the Great Lakes region!

Another way to expand your tree options is to place the tree near your house.  Usually the heat right near your home is enough to keep a tree alive while it over-winters.  For example, if you have a palm tree growing that is only hardy to zone 9 and you live in zone 7 or 8, the radiant heat from you house may keep the plant and roots ten degrees warmer, plus the house will offer added protection from the wind.

You can also expand your options if you select a tree for your patio that is a dwarf variety.  There are a great number of fruiting and other trees that are on dwarf root stocks.  These trees have been grafted onto a set of roots that stay quite small.  Just give the tree new soil every couple of years.  All you need to do is keep the tree pruned and you should have years of enjoyment from your tree – and maybe even a little summer-time fruit.

Great tree options for your patio:

  • Olive trees — many varieties do well in pots.  These trees don’t need constant water and offer a great architectural element to your backyard.
  • Fuji Cherry — offers great seasonal interest.  Small clusters of light pink or white flowers bloom on bare branches in the spring and has great foliage color in the fall.
  • Japanese Maple– is a great tree for small spaces.  These trees are best left to their own devices and not pruned.  The shape of these small trees resembles an umbrella, usually with dark red leaves.
  • Bay — can be easily trained into a variety of different shapes.  These are great option for urban areas that are prone to drought.  They can tolerate low rainfall and air pollution.
  • Dwarf palms — these trees add an exotic feel to patios instantly.  Since many of these trees don’t have a standard root system they can live in small containers.  Just make sure the container is heavy enough to avoid tipping over.

My name is Daniel and I am passionate about all things related to gardening.  I blog about indoor and outdoor planting as well as offering useful information about the best gardening products.  You can visit my site here…


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