Landscaping 101: Best Trees for Curb Appeal

A colorful maple leaf in autumn in front of a new home adds curb appeal.

A Redleaf Japanese Maple is a top choice for a front yard tree for curb appeal because of its vibrant red leaves.

The trees in front of your new house provide more than shade: they can make or break the way someone feels about your home, especially when it comes time to sell.

So, planting the trees that offer the best curb appeal is critical, whether you’re selling in five years or 10 years. As a matter of fact, choosing the right trees when your home is new can be one of the biggest single decisions you can make for the future prospects of your home.

Of course, the decision on which trees to plant also depends on where you live in the country. Evergreens might be the obvious choice in the northern parts of the country, while trees that use less water would be best for southern regions. Overall, however, the choice can come down to what you prefer. Check with your local extension service or garden center to determine good options for your area.

Let’s take a look at what the experts rank as the best trees to plant for making the best first impression:

Flowering Trees

Flowering trees are wonderful for the front yard of almost any home. They bring sparkle and a feeling of newness and life. Choosing a flowering tree will mean you’ll have color in the spring, lush greenery in the summer and more color in the fall. The biggest drawback to flowering trees is the mess: you’ll be raking flower petals, then leaves and, potentially, fruit in the fall.

Our top picks for flowering trees include:

• Red Buckeye, which sports red fluted, clustered flowers that attract hummingbirds and is drought-resistant.

• Crape Myrtle, for southern states, is a fast-growing, beautiful tree. Its flowers last a long time and come in a wide variety of colors.

• Persimmon has gorgeous flowers in the spring and early summer and plump orange fruit toward the end of summer and early fall. Bonus: The fruit is edible!

• Kwanzan Flowering Cherry, with long-lasting dramatic flowers, sure to stop traffic on even the busiest street.

Evergreen Trees

Evergreen trees, by definition, have the benefit of being green all year, with the added bonus that there’s little or nothing to rake in the fall. The best fir trees for the front yard include:

• Hinoki False Cypress is a very elegant tree, perfect for any yard. It grows up to 15 feet tall, but only spans five feet.

• American Holly isn’t just for the holidays. This waxy-leaved evergreen has deep green, shiny leaves with the traditional red fruit that comes out in the winter. And they’ll thrive in almost any region of the country.

• Fastigiata Spruce looks much like a Colorado blue spruce, but fits into even the smallest yard. If you have even two extra feet you’d like to fill with green, this spruce is perfect. Plus, you can plant them close together, because they don’t tend to spread.

• Green Velvet Boxwood is a compact evergreen that isn’t typically allowed to grow into a tree, but can be shaped and molded to become the centerpiece of your front yard.

Green Trees

Your garden-variety green trees are neither garden variety, nor necessarily green. Our top picks are typically atypical:

• Sun Valley Red Maple is a fast-growing variety of maple tree. In the fall, it brings gorgeous color to your front yard, while the rest of the year, it provides shade and green beauty. Its best trait? No seed pods falling on your yard along with the leaves.

• Redleaf Japanese Maple is our top choice for a front yard tree. Its leaves are dark red and green that seem to change color as the wind blows. In the fall, the colors are especially striking, but you’ll get an added jolt of color throughout the entire year with this tree.

• Red Oaks sport sturdy branches, generous shade and turn bright red in the fall. They also are generous in sharing their acorns with the local squirrels.

• Red Cedar continues our red-leafed favorites for the front yard. These trees serve as a good wind break and can grow anywhere with full sun. Its dense leaves can serve as perfect homes for birds and squirrels, while providing lovely color in the fall.

Regardless where you live, having the right trees in the front of your home can enhance the curb appeal and can give you a better chance of catching the eye of a potential buyer, whether you’re looking to sell this week or in 10 years.
Laurie Leiker is a published author, business coach and consumer advocate. She spent 10 years as producer and on-air investigator for the Troubleshooter Tom Martino radio show in Denver, Colo., where she helped consumers get back more than $2 million in one year.

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