If you are looking for a tree for a small or medium sized garden there are many available in all shapes, sizes and colours. When your space is limited then it is important that you choose the right tree for your space and it’s surroundings.

Choosing a Tree

Here at Jackson’s Nurseries we’re always happy to help you choose the right tree for your garden. If there is anything else you are unsure of in choosing the best tree for you and your garden, or if you have any other questions, you can of course get in touch with our sales team on 01782 502741 during normal office hours, or by email at orders@jacksonsnurseries.co.uk.

Height & Spread – decide on the amount of space you have available before you buy. The location, soil conditions and weather can affect the ultimate height and spread of your tree and even some small ornamental trees can grow higher than 8m or more. You may also want to look at large shrubs if space is restricted.

Colour – When do you want the tree to look its best, do you prefer berries in Winter to bare branches or unusual foliage to pretty flowers? You may even want a tree that has unusual bark or that bears fruit in the Summer.

We’ve selected 20 of the best trees for you:

Acer (Japanese Acer)

Japanese Maples are slow-growing, small deciduous trees known for their graceful habit, autumn colour and beautiful, pointed leaf shapes. Many varieties have the species name palmatum after the hand-like shape of the leaves, whilst dissected varieties have fine, deeply-cut foliage that has an almost feathery appearance. Native to Japan and China, the dissected varieties have a beautiful dome-like habit when mature and work well in containers, smaller gardens or when used as an under-storey to larger shrubs and trees.

Choose an Acer dissectum Garnet for feathery red-purple foliage that turns fiery red in autumn or Acer palmatum Katsura for an array of fabulous foliage colours across the seasons.The larger Acer griseum, Paper Bark Maple boasts stunning, smooth cinnamon-coloured bark which emerges as the old, dark red bark peels and flakes away. Acer palmatum Bloodgood and Acer palmatum Sango Kaku have both been credited with the RHS Award of Garden Merit.

See our Guide to planting and growing Japanese Maple Trees

Amelanchier (June Berry)

This is a showy small tree that bears masses of wide white flowers throughout spring. It is a deciduous variety with leaves opening coppery-red, turning to soft green in summer and then to shades of red, orange and yellow in autumn. This is a beautiful addition to any small garden and adds a show of intricate blossom in Spring.

Try Amelanchier alnifolia ‘Obelisk’ for a columnar, upright tree or Amelanchier lamarckii for larger, showier flowers.

Betula (Birch)

The birch is a medium-sized deciduous tree that owes its common name to the white peeling bark on the trunk. The twigs are slender and often pendulous and the leaves are roughly triangular with doubly serrate margins and turn yellow in autumn before they fall. The flowers are catkins and the light, winged seed get widely scattered by the wind.

Betula pendula ‘Golden Beauty’ is a truly golden leaved birch tree, medium sized, which will light up any garden. Tolerant of most garden positions, it has one of the best colouring barks, turning from cream to pink, golden and cinnamon. One of its best features is that the leaves do not scorch in bright sunlight.Beautiful conical form making it ideal for a specimen tree, expected to reach its maximum height at 20 years.

Betula pendula ‘Youngii’ is an eye-catching, highly ornamental, deciduous weeping tree with diamond-shaped, serrated, bright lime green young leaves which darken as they mature and take on brilliant shades of golden-yellow in the autumn. It becomes clothed with masses of small, yellowish-brown catkins in early spring and displays fantastic, rough, peeling white bark that becomes marked with black, rugged cracks as it gets older.

Betula utilis var. Jacquemontii is a deciduous eye-catching birch with striking bright white upright stems and almost opaque bright green leaves turning pale yellow shades in autumn. Yellow-brown catkins open in early spring time.



Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’ (Corkscrew Hazel)

Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’ is an unusual deciduous shrub that has oddly twisted stems which bear yellow catkins in the late winter months. Ideal for flower arrangements. Sharp-toothed, mid-green leaves. The twisted stems look well in Japanese type gardens offering an interesting shape/structure contrast.


Crataegus (Hawthorn)

A beautiful, small, flowering deciduous tree which forms a broad, deep crown or slender, thorny branches and small, dark green, attractively lobed leaves. Perfect for shaded areas of the patio or growing as a specimen tree in the middle of a lawn, it’s also great for incorporating into native hedgerows or using at a woodland edge.

Choose Crataegus laevigata ‘Rosea Flore Pleno’ which produces masses of stunning, fully double, densely-petalled, deep rose-pink flowers with creamy centres which are produced in exotic clusters from May to June or Crataegus x media ‘Paul’s Scarlet’ for a spreading tree with toothed, glossy dark green foliage and a profusion of double, deep pink flowers in late spring and early summer.

Malus domestica (Apple)

Many varieties have compact growing habits and are a good choice for small gardens because they have long seasons of interest – showy white spring blossom, summer leaves and autumn fruits.

There are many beautiful varieties of dessert apple but Apple – Malus domestica ‘Spartan’ is an easy to grow variety with small, well-flavoured, dark red fruits and Apple – Malus domestica ‘Golden Delicious’ is a perfect all rounder for cooking or eating. See our information on Growing your own Apple Trees



Magnolias are trees look spectacular in Spring and early summer with goblet- or star-shaped flowers that have a striking effect. Deciduous magnolias usually flower in spring before leaf emergence, flowers in flushes from summer until early autumn. In warm summers these can be followed by striking knobbly seedpods from which bright red seeds emerge in autumn.

Choose Magnolia stellata for fragrant bright creamy-white flowers from silken buds before the deciduous narrow deep green leaves or a beautiful hybrid of Magnolia Stellata and a Liliiflora, George Henry Kern brings together the best of both. Compact and slow growing, its long flowering period of April till June is becoming increasingly popular with Magnolia lovers. Flowers are light rose pink, opening from dark rose pink, complementing beautifully with the dark green leaves.

At Jacksons we often have a selection of specialist Magnolias available in small quantities that are not always listed on the website. Please email to check availability.

Prunus (Japanese Flowering Cherry)

Japanese flowering cherry trees are versatile and attractive trees and are grown for their striking pink blossom in spring. Their leaves turn bronze in autumn and compact varieties are great trees for small gardens.

Prunus ‘Kanzan’ is a popular, deciduous, vase-shaped tree which has a vigorous, upright growth habit, bright bronze young leaves that turn lime green and dark green as they mature and bears profuse beautiful, double purple-pink flowers which are borne in clusters in late April, shortly after the bronze foliage appears.

Prunus ‘Kiku-shidare-zakura’ is a magnificent, strong growing ornamental weeping tree which becomes showered with clusters of large, fully double, deep pink blooms that emerge from pink buds from April to May. It has bronze young leaves, turning to glossy green as they mature and makes a great specimen tree for the centre of a lawn in smaller gardens. Commonly known as the Japanese Weeping Cherry, it’s perfect for incorporating into Japanese-styled gardens and looks fabulous alongside cascading water or grown as a patio tree.

Sorbus (Rowan/Mountain Ash)

A handsome, medium-sized tree that can withstand a wide range of conditions and maintains its strong and distinctive shape with minimal pruning.  Rich green leaves which take on brilliant shades of deep red, orange and yellow in the autumn. The flowers are followed by bunches of berries which are highly attractive to wildlife, particularly birds, making it ideal for use as a small to medium sized tree in copse or woodland and well worthy of inclusion in a native mixed hedge.

Choose Sorbus commixta for a fabulous display of small white flowers and bright orange berries or Sorbus aucuparia ‘Joseph Rock’ for fantastic autumn foliage colour and bunches of small, spherical, golden-yellow berries.




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