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A tree with bright pink flowers, possibly a crepe myrtle
Looking for a statement tree for your yard? Make the right decision by considering these four factors.

Tree change

One way to create a statement in the garden is with a feature tree. But what makes an ideal one? There isn’t a single defining aspect, but rather a combination of factors, including the purpose, size, appearance and position. Here’s what to consider when looking for a feature tree.

Purpose

Look at your space and consider the intent of the tree – is it to provide a strong, structural backbone for your landscape, give height to a small space, provide summer shade, a focal point or visual impact from the home? Answering these questions will help guide and narrow your search. Be aware that sometimes a single tree may not be the solution for your landscape, and you may need to include a group of them, which of course can be equally striking.

A red flowering tree, possibly a Japanese maple

Size

Assess your area and see what room the tree has to grow and spread. Ensure the space is adequate, otherwise you will be forever pruning to keep the tree contained or, conversely, the whole effect may be lost because the tree is out of proportion with its surrounds. Not all trees have a spreading habit; some are tall and narrow, like Pyrus ‘Capital’ or an upright silver birch (Betula ‘Fastigata’) so even if you don’t have the width, it’s possible to still have height.

Position

Most trees will need a spot in full sun, that is, with at least 6 hours of sun a day. The soil should be well-draining and enriched with organic matter such as compost before planting. If planting close to the home, take note of trees with invasive roots and also, what effect the canopy could have on the interiors. Do you want a permanent green cover or perhaps a deciduous tree, that provides shade in summer but lets in light and warmth during winter?

If planting a tree as a lone specimen, consider underplanting with soft, leafy foliage plants to help integrate it into the landscape. A tree planted on its own, especially without any context like a leading path or planted garden bed, risks sticking out instead of standing out.

Two small trees with feathery foliage outside a house

Appearance

Now, the fun part – choosing the tree. Go for a walk around your neighbourhood and see if any catch your eye. It may be because of the gorgeous flowers, stunning seasonal foliage, or the strong, architectural shape. This will give you an idea what qualities you gravitate towards and give you a good starting point to choosing your tree. 

There are many varieties that possess all these qualities, including jacarandas, ornamental pears, crepe myrtles, flowering eucalypts (Corymbia ficifolia) or deciduous magnolias. But if foliage and a strong presence is your preference, consider dragon tree (Dracaena draco), Japanese maple or Chinese elm.

Can’t wait for your fully grown feature tree?

Planting a mature tree is a quick and easy way to get the look you’re after; here’s five reasons why you should opt for a mature tree.

 

Photo credit: Getty Images

 

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More D.I.Y. Advice

Health & Safety

Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.

When following our advice in our D.I.Y. videos, make sure you use all equipment, including PPE, safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Check that the equipment is suitable for the task and that PPE fits properly. If you are unsure, hire an expert to do the job or talk to a Bunnings Team Member.