As specialist landscape designers, one of the biggest problems we see is a complete lack of planning for gardens in the long term. Typically clients start by visiting a nursery and seeing plants on sale or plants that are spectacularly displayed and but a few, without any planning for the future.

In London, there are a multitude of London Plane tree, a tree introduced into London during th epollluting days of the Victorian era as it is draught resistant, pollution resistant and also resistant to root impact, which was all good for the Victorian era, but these trees if left unpollarded are monstrous. They’re great for large parks, but not in small London gardens and in the streetscape next to houses. A much better choice would have been the PLATANUS ACERIFOLIA “ALPHEN’S GLOBE”

Platanus ×hispanica 'Alphen's Globe' | Platanus ×hispanica ...

Unfortunately, there seems to be an opinion in the London local authorities that the London Place tree should be preserved as part of tree stock….No, tree stocks should be preserved but the London Plane tree should only be in municipal land and only where it is not within 100m of built structures.

For small gardens, look at things such as Acer griseum, Amelanchier × grandiflora ‘Ballerina’, Crataegus persimilis ‘Prunifolia’, Sorbus ‘Joseph Rock’ and Prunus ‘Amanogawa’ .

There are many factors to take into consideration  for a small or medium garden and by this we mean anything which is smaller that a football (soccer) field.

Height and spread is THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR as tiny ornamental trees may, over time, reach a height of 6-8m (20-26ft) or more and if your garden can’t accommodate this, then choose a weeping form which rarely increases in height. If spread is a problem, choose columnar trees whcih do not spread appreciably.
Factor 2 is the “Season of interest” or in other wordswhen you want your tree to look good, thinking and think about flowering time, foliage, fruit and bark. If you can only have one tree, look for one with more than one season of interest such as fruit or autumn colour following on from flowers.

Soil type can be important as you may need to consider wet soils, neutral to acid soils.

Many people worry about planting a tree close to a property, and there can be huge risks in doing so, especially during increasingly dry European summers.

TOP TIP: To avoid planting a tree too large for the site, it may help to draw a scale plan of your garden and plot the size of your tree at maturity. If planting in the corner of your garden, be aware that most of the canopy will shade neighbouring gardens which will make you incredibly unpopular.

The RHS ( have a fantastic list of trees that are under 5m in height:

Amelanchier alnifolia ‘Obelisk’(*) Height 4m (13ft). Spread 1m (3ft)
Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’Height 4-5m (13-16ft). Spread 3m (10ft)
C. chinensis ‘Avondale’: Height 3m (10ft). Spread 2m (6½ft)
Cornus kousa ‘Miss Satomi’ AGM: (*) Height 5m (16ft). Spread 3m (10ft)
Corylus maxima ‘Purpurea’Height 5m (16ft). Spread 3m (10ft)
Euonymus europaeus ‘Red Cascade’ AGM: Height 3m (10ft). Spread 2.5m (8ft)
Liquidambar styraciflua ‘Gum Ball’ AGM: (*) Height 3m (10ft). Spread 2m (6½ft)
Magnolia stellata ‘Jane Platt’ AGM: Height 3-4m (10-13ft). Spread 2.5m (8ft)
Prunus ‘Hally Jolivette’Height 5m (16ft). Spread 2-3m (6½-10ft)
Ptelea trifoliata ‘Aurea’ AGM: Height 5m (16ft). Spread 4m (13ft)
Salix exigua AGM: Height and spread 4m (13ft)
Sorbus pseudovilmoriniiHeight and spread 4m (13ft)
S. villmorinii AGM: (*) Height 5m (16ft). Spread 4m (13ft)

The following ornamental cherries are often available from nurseries and garden centres grafted to create a smaller tree (topworked), reaching a height and spread of 3-4m (13-16ft):

Prunus ‘Kiku-shidare-zakura’ AGM: clear, deep pink, very double flowers, mid-late spring
P. pendula f. ascendens ‘Pendula Rosea’: single rose pink flowers, early-mid spring
P. pendula ‘Pendula Rubra AGM: single, deep rose flowers, carmine in bud early-mid spring
P. pendula ‘Stellata’ AGM: pale pink flowers from red buds, early-mid-spring
P. × yedoensis ‘Ivensii’: snow-white fragrant blossom in early-mid spring
P. × yedoensis ‘Shidare Yoshino’: pale pink flowers in early-mid spring

Flowering trees

Aesculus × mutabilis ‘Induta’panicles of yellow flowers, flushed pink, late spring. Height and spread 3m (10ft)
Amelanchier × grandiflora ‘Ballerina’White flower racemes, mid spring. Height 5-6m (16-20ft). Spread 6-7m (20-23ft)
Cercis canadensis f. alba ‘Royal White’: profuse, large white flower clusters on bare stems, before the leaves. Height 8m (26ft). Spread 5m (16ft)
Crataegus laevigata ‘Paul’s Scarlet’ AGM: double scarlet flowers, late spring. Height and spread 8m (26ft)
C. laevigata ‘Punicea’scarlet flowers with a white eye, late spring. Height and spread 8m (26ft)
Exochorda serratifolia ‘Snow White’showy, papery white flowers, late spring or early summer. Height and spread 3-4m (10-13ft)
Genista aetnensis AGM: bright golden-yellow flowers Height and spread 4-5m (13-16ft)
The following selection of mid-winter flowering Hamamelis (witch hazel) reach a height and spread of 4m (13ft):
Hamamelis × intermedia ‘Arnold Promise’ AGM: (*) sweetly scented bright-yellow spidery flowers 
H. × intermedia ‘Jelena’ AGM: (*) yellow suffused copper-red spidery flowers 
H. × intermedia ‘Pallida’ AGM: (*) sulphur-yellow spidery flowers
H. × intermedia ‘Rubin’ AGM: (*) bright-red spidery flowers
H. mollis ‘Wisley Supreme’ AGM: (*) large fragrant pale-yellow spidery flowers
Hoheria ‘Glory of Amlwch’ AGM: large white flowers in mid and late summer. Height 7m (23ft). Spread 6m (20ft)
Lagerstroemia indica AGM: white, pink, red or purple flowers depending on cultivar. Height and spread 3-5m (10-16ft)
Magnolia ‘Jane’very slender, red-purple flowers, late spring. Height 4m (13ft). Spread 3m (10ft)
M. × loebneri ‘Leonard Messel’ AGM: lilac-pink flowers, mid-spring. Height 8m (26ft). Spread 5m (16ft)
M. ‘Star Wars’ AGM: deep pink flowers in spring before and with the leaves. Height and spread 6m (20ft)
M. stellata ‘Jane Platt’ AGM: rich pink flowers, early and mid-spring. Height and spread 3m (10ft)
M. ‘Susan’ AGM: red-purple flowers, mid-spring. Height 4m (13ft). Spread 3m (10ft)
M. wilsonii AGM: cup-shaped white flowers with purple stamens, late spring and early summer. Height 5-6m (16-20ft). Spread 4-5m (13-16ft)
Malus ‘Evereste’ AGM: white flowers from red buds, mid-spring. Height and spread 6-8m (20-26ft).
M. floribunda AGM: crimson flower buds open white, early spring. Height and spread 6-8m (20-26ft).
M. ‘Gorgeous’pink flower buds open white, mid-spring. Height and spread 6-8m (20-26ft)
M. ‘Indian Magic’dark red buds open to large deep-pink flowers, mid-spring. Height and spread 4-5m (13-15ft)
M. ‘Laura’ AGM: pink flushed flowers, mid-spring. Height and spread 3m (10ft)
Prunus ‘Accolade’ AGM: clusters of semi-double shell-pink flowers from dark buds, early spring. Height and spread 5-8m (16-26ft)
P. × blireana AGM: rose-pink flowers before and with the leaves, early spring. Height and spread 4m (13ft)
P. dulcis(almond) single pink or white flowers, early spring. Height and spread 6-8m (20-26ft)
P. ‘The Bride’ AGM: pure white blossom, mid-spring. Height and spread 3-4m (10-13ft)
P. ‘Hanagasa’ AGM: (Pink Parasol) pendulous, double pale pink flowers, late spring. Height and spread 8m (26ft)
P. ‘Pink Perfection’ AGM: rosy-pink double flowers in drooping clusters, mid-late spring. Height and spread 6m (20ft) 
P. ‘Pink Shell’profuse delicate shell-pink flowers, early mid-spring. Height and spread 6m (20ft)

The following are some Syringa vulgaris (lilac) cultivars with highly scented spring to early summer flowers in conical panicles. They reach a height and spread of 4m (13ft):

Syringa vulgaris ‘Andenken an Ludwig Spath’ AGM: wine-red single flowers
S. vulgaris ‘Katherine Havermeyer’ AGM: purple-lilac double flowers
S. vulgaris ‘Krasavitsa Moskvy’(‘Beauty of Moscow’) pink buds open to blush-white double flowers
S. vulgaris ‘Madame Lemoine’ AGM: large clusters of white double flowers
S. vulgaris ‘Primrose’small pale yellow single flowers

Attractive fruits

Catalpa bignonioides ‘Nana’slender pendulous pods. Height and spread 3m (10ft)
Clerodendrum trichotomum var. fargesii AGM: bright blue berries. Height and spread 5-6m (16-20ft)
Cydonia oblonga ‘Vranja’ Nenadovic AGM: (quince) very fragrant golden-yellow fruits. Height and spread 4-5m (13-16ft)
Euonymus cornutus var. quinquecornutuspink tinged horn-like fruits. Height and spread 2-3m (6½-10ft)
Malus robusta ‘Red Sentinel’ AGM: large clusters of deep-red fruits last through winter. Height and spread 7m (21ft)
M. ‘Butterball’ AGM: yellow fruits, flushed orange. Height and spread 7m (23ft)
M. [Jelly King] = ‘Mattfru’ AGM: large orange-pink, red flushed fruit, makes excellent pink jelly. Height 4-5m (13-16ft). Spread 3m (10ft)
Sorbus ‘Eastern Promise’ AGM: large, deep rose-pink fruits. Height 6m (20ft). Spread 4m (13ft)
S. ‘Sunshine’golden-yellow fruits in large dense clusters. Height and spread 7-8m (23-26ft)

Flowering trees with autumn colour

Amelanchier laevis ‘R.J. Hilton’ AGM: (*) pink-tinged white flowers from pink buds, mid-spring, red-purple autumn tints. Height and spread 4m (13ft)
Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’ AGM: crimson flowers in clusters on bare stems before the leaves, deep reddish-purple leaves, orange-red in autumn. Height and spread 4-5m (13-16ft)
Cornus kousa var. chinensis AGM: (*) large white bracts, early summer and crimson-purple autumn colour. Height 6-7m (20-23ft). Spread 4m (13ft)
Koelreuteria paniculatalarge panicles of small yellow flowers, mid-summer and butter-yellow autumn colour. Height and spread 8-9m (26-29½ft)
Malus coronaria var. dasycalyx ‘Charlottae’fragrant semi-double, shell-pink flowers, late spring, orange-red and yellow autumn tints. Height and spread 6-8m (20-26ft)
Prunus ‘Beni-yutaka’ AGM: semi-double sugary-pink flowers, early to mid-spring, orange-red autumn colour. Height and spread 5m (16ft)
P. ‘Shizuka’(Fragrant Cloud) semi-double highly fragrant, white flowers, mid-spring, rich orange autumn colour. Height and spread 5m (16ft)
P. ‘Pandora’ AGM: pale, shell-pink flowers, early spring, orange-red autumn colour. Height and spread 6-7m (20-23ft)
P. ‘Ukon’ AGM: semi-double pale yellowish, tinged green flowers are pink flushed mid-spring, red-brown and purple autumn tints. Height and spread 7-8m (23-26ft)
Pyrus calleryana ‘Chanticleer’white flower racemes, early to mid-spring, red-purple autumn colour. Height 8-10m (26-33ft). Spread 5m (16ft)
Sorbus pseudohupehensis AGM: Creamy-white flowers in spring; red- purple autumn colour. Height and spread 6-8m (20-26ft)
Stewartia rostrata(*) white flowers late spring, vivid scarlet autumn colour in favourable conditions. Height and spread 5-6m (16-20ft)

Colourful foliage in spring and summer

Acer negundo ‘Kelly’s Gold’lime-yellow foliage. Height and spread 7-8m (23-26ft)
A. negundo ‘Flamingo’ (v): light-green leaves with broad pink margins, change to white. Height and spread 6m (20ft)
A. palmatum (Palmatum Group) ‘Orange Dream’ AGM: orange-yellow foliage. Height 4m (13ft). Spread 2-3m (6½-10ft)
A. palmatum (Matsumurae Group) ‘Trompenburg’ AGM: rich, dark purple foliage. Height 5m (16ft). Spread 3m 10ft)
A. shirasawanum ‘Aureum’ AGM: greenish-yellow foliage. Height and spread 6m (20ft)
A. pseudoplatanus ‘Brilliantissimum’ AGM: foliage mottled pink and cream in spring. Height and spread 5-6m (16-20ft)
Catalpa speciosa ‘Pulverulenta’ (v) Height 4m (13ft). Spread 3m (10ft)
Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’ AGM: deep reddish-purple foliage. Height 5m (16ft)
C. canadensis ‘Hearts of Gold’bright yellow foliage. Height and spread 5m (16ft)
Cornus florida ‘Rainbow’ (v) AGM: (*) yellow-edged green leaves with pink tints in spring. Height 3m (10ft). Spread 2.5m (8ft)
C. kousa ‘Gold Star’ (v): (*) green leaves with a central golden-yellow blotch. Height 2.5m (8ft). Spread 2m (6½ft)
Olea europaeasilver-grey foliage. Height and spread 8-10m (26-33ft)
Prunus cerasifera ‘Nigra’ AGM: blackish-purple foliage. Height and spread 8-10m (26-33ft)
Pyrus salicifolia ‘Pendula’ AGM: silver-grey foliage. Height 5m (15ft). Spread 4m (13ft)

Trees with autumn foliage colour

Acer griseum AGM: Height and spread 8-10m (26-33ft)
A. japonicum ‘Aconitifolium’ AGM: Height and spread 5m (16ft)
A. micranthum AGM: Height 9m (29½ft). Spread 7m (23ft)
A. palmatum (Amoenum Group) ‘Osakazuki’ AGMHeight and spread 6m (20ft)
A. tataricum subsp. ginnala ‘Flame’Height 8m (26ft). Spread 6m (20ft)
Cercidiphyllum japonicum ‘Boyd’s Dwarf’Height and spread 5m (16ft)
Cornus ‘Eddies White Wonder’ AGM: (*) Height 6m (20ft). Spread 5m (16ft)
Crataegus persimilis ‘Prunifolia’ AGM: Height and spread 6m (20ft)
Euonymus hamiltonianus ‘Indian Summer’:  Height and spread 5m (16ft)
Malus × zumi ‘Golden Hornet’Height 8-10m (26-33ft). Spread 7m (23ft)
Nyssa sylvatica ‘Isabel Grace’(*) Height 10m (33ft). Spread 7m (23ft)
Prunus ‘Pandora’ AGM: Height 8m (26ft). Height 6m (20ft)
Sorbus vilmorinii AGM: (*) Height and spread 5m (16ft)
Styrax japonicus AGM: (*) 8m (26ft). Spread 6m (20ft)

Autumn foliage colour and fruits

Acer japonicum ‘Aconitifolium’ AGM: red-purple fruits. Height and spread 5m (16ft)
A. japonicum ‘Vitifolium’ AGM: crimson-red fruits. Height and spread 5m (16ft)
Cornus ‘Norman Hadden’ AGM: (*) large strawberry-like red fruits, Height and spread 8m (26ft)
Crataegus × lavalleei ‘Carrierei’ AGM: orange-red fruits persisting through winter. Height and spread 7m (23ft)
Euonymus europaeus ‘Red Cascade’ AGM: rosy-red fruits, seeds have orange arils. Height 3m (10ft). Spread 2.5m (8ft)
E. oxyphyllus AGMdark red fruits, seeds have orange arils. Height and spread 3m (10ft)
E. phellomanus AGM: four-lobed pink fruits. Height and spread 3m (10ft)
Malus toringo ‘Scarlett’purple fruits. Height 3-4m (10-13ft)
Sorbus commixta ‘Dodong’ AGM: (*) large heads of small red berries. Height 8m (24ft). Spread 5m (16ft)
S. helenaepink flushed white fruits. Height 7m (23ft). Spread 5m (16ft)
S. ‘Joseph Rock’ AGM: (*) persistent clusters of globular creamy-yellow fruits deepen to amber-yellow. Height 9m (29½ft). Spread 7m (23ft)
S. ‘Sunshine’(*) large dense clusters of yellow fruits. Height 8m (26ft). Spread 6m (20ft)
Pyrus calleryana ‘Chanticleer’small brownish-green fruits. Height 8-10m (26-33ft). Spread 5m (16ft)

Colourful stems and bark plus autumn foliage colour

Acer griseum AGM: flaking cinnamon-brown bark. Height and spread 8-10m (26-33ft)
A. palmatum (Palmatum Group) ‘Asahi-zuru’(v) bright green bark streaked and blotched pink. Height and spread 5m (16ft)
A. palmatum (Palmatum Group) ‘Sango-kaku’ AGM: coral-red young branches in winter. Height 6m (20ft). Spread 5m (16ft)
Betula utilis var. jacquemontii ‘Moonbeam’peeling white bark. Height 6-8m (20-26ft)
Stewartia malacodendron AGM: (*) peeling mottled bark. Height 7m (23ft). Spread 3m (10ft)

Colourful stems and bark

Acer capillipesgreen and white striated bark and red shoots. Height 8-9m (26-29½ft)
A. × conspicuum ‘Silver Vein’bark streaked green and white. Height 8-9m (26-29½ft). Spread 6m (20ft)
Arbutus × andrachnoides AGM: peeling red-brown bark. Height and spread 7-8m (23-26ft).
Betula albosinensis ‘Red Panda’ AGM: copper-pink bark. Height 10m (33ft). Spread 8m (26ft)
Eucalyptus pauciflora subsp. niphophila AGM: green, grey and cream patchwork bark. Height 6m (20ft). Spread 5m (16ft)
Eucalyptus gregsonianagrey and white flaking bark. Height and spread 4m (13ft)
Prunus himalaicadark red-brown polished bark. Height 8-10m (26-33ft). Spread 6m (20ft)
P. serrulapolished mahogany bark. Height 8-10m (26-33ft). Spread 6m (20ft)
P. serrula ‘Dorothy Clive’ AGMglistening, very dark mahogany polished bark. Height 8-10m (26-33ft). Spread 6m (20ft)
Salix daphnoides(violet willow) purple young shoots, white-bloomed in winter. Height 8m (26ft). Spread 6m (20ft)
Tilia cordata ‘Winter Orange’red buds and orange winter shoots. Height and spread 8-10m (26-33ft). 


Arbutus unedo AGM: Height and spread 8m (26ft)
Camellia japonica(*) Height 8m (26ft). Spread 6-7m (20-23ft). Cultivar heights vary.
Ceanothus arboreus ‘Trewithen Blue’ AGM: Height and spread 5-6m (16-20ft)
Cotoneaster salicifolius ‘Rothschildianus’ AGM: Height and spread 5m (16ft)
C. ‘Cornubia’ AGM: Height and spread 6m (20ft)
Eucalyptus pauciflora subsp. niphophila AGM: Height 6m (20ft). Spread 5m (16ft)
Eucryphia milliganii(*) Height 4-5m (13-16ft). Spread 1.5-2m (5-6½ft)
Ilex × altaclerensis ‘Golden King’ (v) AGM: Height 6m (20ft). Spread 4-5m (13-16ft)
I. aquifolium ‘Pyramidalis’ AGM: Height 6m (20ft). Spread 5m (16ft)
Ligustrum lucidum ‘Excelsum Superbum’(v) Height and spread 6-7m (20-23ft)
Photinia × fraseri ‘Red Robin’ AGM: Height 4-5m (13-16ft)

Tall and narrow (fastigiate or columnar)

Amelanchier alnifolia ‘Obelisk’(*) Height 5m (16ft). Spread 1.2m (4ft)
A. canadensis ‘Glenn Form’(Rainbow Pillar) (*) Height 5m (16ft). Spread 2m (6½ft)
Cercidiphyllum japonicum ‘Rotfuchs’(*) Height 5m (16ft). Spread 1m (3ft)
Malus ‘Adirondack’ AGM: Height 3m (10ft). Spread 1.5m (5ft)
M. Red Obelisk = ‘Dvp Obel’Height 4m (13ft). Spread 1.5m (5ft)
M. ‘Van Eseltine’Height 6-8m (20-26ft). Spread 2-3m (6½-10ft)
Parrotia persica ‘Vanessa’ AGM: (*) Height 8m (26ft). Spread 4m (13ft)
Prunus ‘Amanogawa’ AGM: Height 8m (26ft). Spread 3m (10ft)
P. ‘Spire’ AGM: Height 9-10m (29½-33ft). Spread 6-7m (20-23ft)
P. ‘Umineko’Height 8m (26ft). Spread 3m (10ft)
Sorbus aucuparia ‘Fastigiata’(*) Height 8m (26ft). Spread 4-5m (13-16ft)
S. Autumn Spire = ‘Flanrock AGM’(*) Height 4-5m (13-16ft). Spread 3-4m (10-13ft)


Acacia pravissima AGM: (*) Height and spread 3-4m (10-13ft)
Betula pendula subsp. pendula ‘Youngii: Height and spread 6-8m (20-26ft)
Cercis canadensis ‘Ruby Falls’ AGM: Height 2-2.5m (6½-8ft). Spread 1.5-2m (5-6½ft)
Cotoneaster ‘Hybridus Pendulus’: Height and spread 2m (6½ft)
Larix decidua ‘Puli’ AGM: Height 3m (10ft). Spread 1.2m (4ft)
Malus ‘Royal Beauty: Height 2-3m (6½-10ft). Spread 1.5-2.5m (5-8ft)
Morus alba ‘Pendula’: Height and spread 3m (10ft)
Prunus ‘Snow Showers‘: Height 3m (10ft). Spread 2m (6½ft)
Pyrus salicifolia ‘Pendula’ AGMHeight and spread 5-6m (16-20ft)
Salix caprea ‘Kilmarnock: Height and spread 1.5-2m (5-6½ft)

One thought on “Reduced Size Garden Design”
  1. The difference between a house and a Home with a feel of pure luxury. Love the new look and you kept to the budget….except for THAT light! …but what a light! So glad you persuaded me.

    The garden lighting is still something we’re getting used to… but it is certainly spectacular, the pooled lighting effect is fantastic, just needs a while to get used to the garden looking different practically every time we use it… as every night there seems to be a new area to focus on. Can’t wait for the AI update.


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