Japanese Maple
Curb Appeal

Ten Best Trees to Plant to Increase Curb Appeal

Curb appeal adds or detracts from the overall value of your home. When a potential buyer pulls up, your exterior should look visually pleasing, but should also seem warm enough to make the person want to come inside. Flowers add a pop of color and are perfect for upping your curve appeal!

The curb appeal of your home adds or detracts from the overall outside value. When a visitor or potential buyer pulls up, your exterior should look visually pleasing, but should also seem warm and inviting enough to make the person want to come inside.

While flowers add a pop of color, and rocks and mulch create a clean, manicured look, you also need a balance of height and width in your landscaping. Trees are one of the best ways to draw the eye, add some height and create that zen balance. Good curb appeal helps sell a home so here are the 10 best trees to plant if you want to increase curb appeal.

1. Crepe Myrtle

If you live in a warmer climate, zones seven to nine, the crepe myrtle is an excellent choice to add instant color and appeal to your front yard. They thrive in sunny climates and bloom during the hottest days of summer and easily survive droughts. They grow more than 15 feet high and 15 feet wide, so place them far enough away from the house to avoid issues as the tree grows.

Crepe myrtles require annual pruning in February. Carefully trim to the stub, but do not chop, as chopping permanently damages the tree.

Crape Myrtle Tree

2. Sun Valley Maple

When choosing trees, try to focus on ones that add color at different times of year. This beautiful maple tree adds a pop of bright orange in the fall and also serves as a good shade tree. The tree won’t release pesky helicopter seeds since it’s a male. It grows up to 25 feet tall. For a traditional look, plant two trees equally spaced in your front yard. These maples bloom small red flowers in March and tolerate wet soil well.

3. Blue Spruce

Looking for something larger that will add green all year long? The blue spruce is a hardy evergreen that grows in a large number of zones — two through seven. It grows up to 75 feet high and 20 feet wide. In the fall, the tree releases pine cones, which can be used in Christmas displays. It’s best to plant blue spruce trees in moist soil and full sunlight. Keep the soil around the base of the tree drained well and add compost regularly.

4. Little Volunteer Tulip Tree

Liriodendron tulipifera is the perfect tree to add to your yard. It stays pretty and green during warm months, but blooms with fragrant, bright yellow flowers in May and June. It’s also a small tree, so it won’t overwhelm your house, growing to around 15 feet at the most and five to six feet wide. The flower’s bloom are rich in nectar, helping your local honey bee population.

Keep trees watered when young and place a mulch ring around the base to keep soil moisture consistent.

Little Volunteer Tulip Tree

5. “Fastigiata” Spruce

This spruce tree works well even in very small yards. You can easily incorporate it into your landscaping near your home as it only spreads two to three feet when fully mature and grows up to 15 feet tall. However, it also does well with pruning, meaning you can keep it narrow, so it doesn’t overwhelm your smaller plants.

When pruning is needed, only trim back the new growth from the current season. If you have a lot of deer in your area, they don’t care for the Fastigiata spruce and will tend toward tastier trees.

6. Red Leaf Japanese Maple

Japanese maples come in a variety of types. You can choose a very small tree for near your house or a slightly larger tree to set out in the yard. These trees even come in weeping or upright varieties. They turn a deep red in the fall, but some remain red throughout the year. While this tree doesn’t bloom in the spring as some other trees, the leaves typically remain red.

Do not prune your maple trees in the fall or winter, because they will bleed sap and can allow diseases to weaken the tree. The best time to prune maples is mid-July to August. If sap begins to run, stop pruning immediately.

Japanese Maple

7. Weeping Cherry Tree

If you need to add some height to your landscaping, but you don’t want a tree that will overwhelm a small home, a weeping cherry tree is a great choice. These trees don’t grow above 25 feet tall, and the branches drape down which adds some motion to your garden. Zones four to eight are perfect for this tree.

In the spring, a weeping cherry tree blooms in white or pink flowers. They only bloom for a few weeks each year and those blooming times vary depending on the weather. The tree prefers full sunlight and soil with good drainage but needs to be watered when it’s dry outside. They rarely need pruning, but on the rare occasion, you should prune just after the last bloom in late spring.

8. Magnolia

Magnolia trees add a lot of beauty to your front yard. In the summer, the leaves are a deep, glossy green. In the spring, the tree has big, white blooms that draw the eye. The tree grows fine in some northern climates in zones six to ten, even as far north as Michigan and Maine. The tree yields sweetly-fragrant flowers in May and June. This is a slow growing tree but eventually can grow up to 80 feet tall and 40 feet wide. To keep magnolias healthy, keep them moist at the base.

9. River Birch

Looking for a tree that branches out and creates a striking image from the street? River birches love water but thrive nearly anywhere. It grows rapidly and has bark that curls and spreading limbs. It grows best in zones four to nine and serves both as ornament and shade. At maturity, it grows 40 to 70 feet high and 40 to 60 feet wide.

The tree yields green or brown catkins in April through May and has a reddish-brown bark that peels on maturity. Do not plant in alkaline soil. Test soil for deficiencies in the early spring and add fertilizer if needed. Prune when the tree goes into winter dormancy with a light hand, only removing dead branches or those affected by disease.

10. Pink Azaleas Mollis Hybrid

This tree is more of an ornamental shrub and grows in zones five to eight. In the late spring — typically May — they bloom in bright pink in large, fragrant blooms that attract butterflies, and in the fall they add color and interest. These work well in landscaping, growing to only four to six feet high, with a four-foot possible spread.

They need a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight every day. Grow in acidic, well-drained soil with a pH of 4.5 to 6.0. Leaves turn an ugly yellow in alkaline soil.

Choosing the Perfect Tree

Take the time to browse through images of trees and imagine how a mature tree will look in front of your house in the future. A small tree that looks cute today may be overwhelming in 10 years, so plan ahead and choose a tree you’ll love now and into the future.

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Megan Wild enjoys finding easy and low-stress ways to improve your home. In her downtime, she enjoys flipping flea market finds, hanging out with her dog, and writing on her home-themed blog, Your Wild Home. She's passionate about sustainability and environmentalism, and you can find her tweeting about both @Megan_Wild.

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