Tips for Choosing the Right Tree for Your Yard

Trees can be a wonderful addition to your property for many reasons. 

They provide shade, privacy, aesthetic appeal, and even sentimental value. But choosing the best trees for a yard takes some thoughtful consideration before planting. 

You want your tree to be a long-term investment, so that means making wise choices during the tree selection process. 

In this article, we’ll provide some advice on how to find the best tree for a backyard or front yard area of your Louisville, KY property. When you choose wisely, you’ll be happy for many years to come.

How to Choose the Best Trees for a Yard

The very first place to start when choosing a tree is to think about where you want to plant it. 

You are obviously going to be limited by the size available in the space that you have.

As a general rule, trees can be grouped into categories of small, medium, and large. Here is how we would break down those groups.

  • Small Trees: This would include trees that grow up to about 30 feet tall and therefore can be placed 10 feet away from the house or any concrete structure.
  • Medium Trees: This would include trees that will grow up to 60 feet tall and can be placed around 20 feet from the house or any concrete structure.
  • Large Trees: Finally, this group is trees up to 90 feet that should be planted 30 feet away from a house or concrete structure.

When thinking about size, it’s so important to keep the focus on the tree’s full size at maturity. That not only includes canopy growth but root growth, too! 

deep root tree fertilizer

One mistake that people make when planting trees is not taking that final root growth into account only to have mature roots lift up parts of their patio, walkway, or sidewalk. 

You’ll also need to think about the tree’s location in terms of its needs. There is a saying in the landscaping and tree care industry that goes, “Right plant, right place.” 

In other words, you need to make sure that your tree’s location has what it needs to perform its best. It’s generally safe to say that a tree sold in a local nursery is going to be suitable for the region. But, there are still some considerations to keep in mind. 

For instance, if you are choosing a small ornamental tree that needs full sun but you are planting it in the shadow of a larger tree or maybe a structure…and it never receives enough sunlight…it’s always going to struggle (and maybe even die).

Ultimately, you want to think about a location on your Louisville property where your tree’s needs will be able to be met. 

Other Tree Selection Considerations

Once you have considered the logistical or structural factors around tree selection, you can consider factors like personal preference.

When choosing trees for a backyard or front yard, you can think about what you like. Do you like flowering trees? Are there certain colors that you prefer? And what functions are you hoping that the tree will serve? 

For instance, are you looking for a shade tree with a large canopy that will provide a place of respite on hot summer days? Or, are you looking for something really attractive that can serve as a focal point when you and your family dine outside? 

Some homeowners are also really interested in fall color, so they want a tree that will give them bright shades of red, yellow, or orange during the Autumn months. But other homeowners are looking more for an evergreen selection that is going to provide greenery all year long.

You might also be landscaping around an area…such as landscaping around a deck, patio, or pool. This should also be a consideration. For instance, while all trees are going to drop something, some are much messier than others.

If you’re going to have a tree directly over a pool, patio, or deck, you probably want to avoid super messy options that might drop fruit or lots of petals or leaves into your space.

As we mentioned earlier, when making a tree selection, you also need to think about the full growth and any nearby structures. A tree with large roots planted too close to a patio could start to lift up the pavers…or the branches could begin to take over the patio space. So, it’s important that you are thinking about the long-term.


What are the Best Trees for Louisville KY 

Now that you know some of the factors that go into making the best tree selection, you might be wondering what some of our favorites are.

We are fortunate here in Louisville that we have many trees that can grow and thrive beautifully. 

One of our absolute favorites is the Pawpaw tree, which we’ve actually selected as our “2023 Tree of the Year.” Every year we select a tree that we love and that we want to bring more recognition to, and the Pawpaw tree is our current selection.


A Pawpaw tree generally grows less than 30 feet tall, so it would be considered a small tree. Pawpaws have delicious, banana-like tropical fruit that is native to Kentucky.

Other trees that we love are Magnolias, Dawn Redwoods, and Dogwoods.

But so much of it really does come down to what you’re looking to achieve and what you personally prefer. There are many interesting choices for trees in our region that make it a lot of fun to find the one that is right for you and your property.

Although we aren’t going to be the ones to install your trees (rather, we’ll care for them down the road), we are still always available to answer your questions or provide guidance. We know and love trees and want to help you make the best possible tree selection for your property.

And if you have existing trees on your property that you’d like us to take care of, we have a Plant Health Care program that can deliver exactly what your trees need to thrive for the long haul. Trees are a valuable investment and we know you want to keep them in good health for many years to come.

Are you ready to have a healthy and thriving landscape at your Louisville, KY home? Get in touch with us to get a quote for our plant health care program.

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Chris O'Bryan

Chris O'Bryan

Chris grew up in Louisville, KY. He holds a Forestry degree from the The University of Kentucky and a Master's Degree in Economics from Clemson University. He is a Certified Arborist and 5-time Kentucky Tree Climbing Champion. When not at work, he has fun with his family, enjoys traveling, one-wheeling, and working in his yard.

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