leaves of evergreen trees

10 Stunning Evergreen Trees for Your Garden

The U.K. is home to various fantastic plants, trees and flowers. However, some of our most incredible plant life comes in the form of evergreen trees. These beautiful trees manage to stay green all year round, giving an attractive appearance with little maintenance and providing privacy and shade in many gardens. Moreover, evergreen trees offer irreplaceable habitats for wildlife throughout the winter. But, which evergreen trees are the best? And how do you choose which ones to include in your garden? Here are ten of the best evergreen trees for you to consider and how to know which one is best for you.

What Is An Evergreen Tree?

evergreen trees in snow

An evergreen tree is a tree that keeps its foliage all year round. Where deciduous trees lose their leaves in autumn, the foliage of evergreens stays colourful and functional all year. Although evergreens do lose their leaves, this only occurs gradually rather than all at once, allowing the tree to stay green for more than one growing season.

The term evergreen can also be applied to other plants that maintain their foliage all year round.

What Is Special About Evergreen Trees?

front garden with evergreen trees

Evergreen trees provide many benefits besides adding colour during the colder months. By planting just one or two evergreen trees in your garden, you can:

  • Improve The Air Quality – Trees help remove carbon dioxide from our atmosphere through photosynthesis, emitting clean oxygen in its place. Evergreen trees can purify our air all year round when deciduous trees have lost their leaves and cannot photosynthesise.
  • Help Conserve Energy – Since evergreens stay solid and full all year, they can provide shade in summer both outside the house and inside. Tall evergreen trees that shelter your home will help moderate temperatures. Similarly, during winter, towering evergreens will protect your home and garden from cold winds, relieving your heating system.
  • Give Yourself Privacy – Making a comfortable outdoor space for you and your family to enjoy is essential, and evergreens are fantastic for this. Tall, full evergreen trees can provide privacy all year round, no matter how you use your space.
  • Provide YearRound Interest – Finally, the last great benefit of evergreen trees is their charming appearance. Evergreens hold on to their foliage when other trees shed theirs in autumn. Evergreen trees mean you can enjoy the beautiful, deep green foliage even in the darkest months.

What To Consider When Choosing An Evergreen Tree

back garden with evergreen trees

Before choosing which evergreen tree you’d like to include in your garden, there are a few things you have to consider. First, there are many different types of evergreen trees, and the growth, size and width vary greatly between them. So, before choosing, you should think about how large a tree your garden can host and how its width and shape will affect the surrounding area, especially nearby buildings and neighbours’ homes.

Of course, you will also need to be sure that the tree you choose is suitable for the conditions of your garden. For example, you’ll have to consider your soil type, light exposure, and the effects of the weather, such as frost and wind.

The top points you should consider when looking to buy an evergreen tree are:

  • Final height and width
  • Shape
  • Root spread
  • Growth speed
  • Pruning

Types of Evergreen Tree

field of evergreen trees

There are many types of evergreen trees for you to choose from, most popularly the majority of conifers. Fortunately, many are relatively low maintenance and look beautiful all year round. Even better – some produce incredible blooms, berries and scents, too, making for a stunning addition to your garden. Here are our top 10 types of evergreen trees for you to consider trying in your garden.

1. Bull Bay

bull bay tree

Botanical Name: Magnolia grandiflora

Ultimate Height: 5 metres

Ultimate Size: 3 metres

Maximum Growth Time: 20 years

The bull bay is one of the most beautiful evergreen trees you can grow in a British garden, producing large glossy foliage and white cup-shaped flowers that emit a sweet citrus scent. There are several species of bull bay evergreens to choose from, although the ‘Exmouth’ variety is hardy and relatively low maintenance. Bull bay prefers a spot with partial shade and plenty of shelter. In colder spaces, bull bay will thrive best against a wall.

2. Bay Tree

bay tree

Botanical Name: Laurus nobilis

Ultimate Height: 7.5 metres

Ultimate Size: 5 metres

Maximum Growth Time: 50 years

Bay trees are a suburban dream, perfect for cutting into various easy topiary shapes. You can often spot a pair of bay trees outside a front door in many city gardens. Of course, this is because bay trees are fairly low maintenance. You can grow them in the ground or in large containers and use the dark green leaves they produce as an aromatic herb. You should grow a bay tree in a sheltered spot with full sun or partial shade.  

3. Olive Tree

olive tree

Botanical Name: Olea europaea

Ultimate Height: 10 metres

Ultimate Size: 10 metres

Maximum Growth Time: 4 years

The olive tree is the definitive Mediterranean plant, but don’t let its classic warm climate put you off! Olive trees grow remarkably well in sheltered sunny spots, although they will need shelter from the wind and the maximum amount of sunlight to mimic their native habitat. Unfortunately, olive trees rarely produce their namesake fruit in the U.K. without a proper watering and draining schedule, but you will see small white flowers in summer.  

4. Holly

holly tree

Botanical Name: Ilex aquifolium

Ultimate Height: 15 metres

Ultimate Size: 8 metres

Maximum Growth Time: 30 years

The holly tree has become synonymous with Christmas, and you can look forward to seeing its glossy red berries in your garden come winter. This classic tree produces glossy, deep green leaves with spines. Humans or dogs should ingest neither the leaves nor the berries of a holly tree. To grow holly, you’ll need a sunny spot with well-drained soil. However, Holly trees can survive in exposed conditions.

5. Cider Gum

cider gum

Botanical Name: Eucalyptus gunnii

Ultimate Height: 35 metres

Ultimate Size: 10 metres

Maximum Growth Time:

This quick-growing evergreen tree is a hardy species of eucalyptus originally from Australasia. The long silver-green leaves are antiseptic and antifungal, and you can eat the sap of a fully matured cider gum straight from the tree[i]. This is how the cider gum got its name – its sap tastes like apple cider. To grow cider gum, you need a space with full sun and shelter from the wind.

6. Holm Oak

holm oak trees

Botanical Name: Quercus ilex

Ultimate Height: 25 metres

Ultimate Size: 25 metres

Maximum Growth Time: 50 years

This evergreen species of oak tree is one of the largest and grows in a rounded dome shape perfect for relaxing under. Although the holm oak is native to the Mediterranean, it grows well in milder spaces with as much sun as possible. You can clip the small leaves into different topiary shapes easily, and this may help you keep this large tree under control. Holm oaks also produce yellow flowers in spring and brown fruit almost identical to acorns.

7. Cotoneaster

cotoneaster tree

Botanical Name: Cotoneaster

Ultimate Height: 3.7 metres

Ultimate Size: 4 metres

Maximum Growth Time: 3 years

Cotoneaster is the name of a genus of shrubs and trees, although the most popular is Cotoneaster Lacteus. With slim branches that produce small, narrow leaves and red, yellow or orange berries, cotoneaster are unique evergreen trees perfect for screening and privacy. However, you should be aware that certain cotoneasters are included on schedule 9 of the wildlife and countryside act, and you shouldn’t grow them in rural areas. Most cotoneasters will thrive in exposed or sheltered areas that receive full sun or partial shade.

8. ‘Compressa’ Juniper

juniper trees

Botanical Name: Juniperus communis ‘Compressa’

Ultimate Height: 1 metre

Ultimate Size: 0.5 metre

Maximum Growth Time: 50 years

The juniper ‘Compressa’ is a slow-growing, dwarf evergreen tree that needs very little maintenance and pruning. This dense evergreen may be the smallest on our list, but its pretty silver-green foliage and textured leaves make it an excellent addition to any garden. To grow juniper ‘compressa’, it needs an exposed or sheltered area with at least partial shade.

9. Fan Palm

fan palm tree

Botanical Name: Chamaerops humilis

Ultimate Height: 2.5 metres

Ultimate Size: 1.5 metres

Maximum Growth Time: 50 years

A bushy evergreen palm tree, the fan palm is a Mediterranean native that will bring a touch of tropical to your garden. Its long, fan-shaped leaves collect in a mass to create a fan shape, and you can expect to see small yellow flowers in spring and summer. Like a surprising amount of other Mediterranean evergreens, the fan palm grows well in different climates. However, the fan palm requires partial shade and a sheltered area for protection.  

10. Strawberry Tree

strawberry tree

Botanical Name: Arbutus unedo

Ultimate Height: 8 metres

Ultimate Size: 8 metres

Maximum Growth Time: 20 years

The strawberry tree is a beautiful evergreen with red-brown bark and leathery green leaves named for its strawberry-like red fruits. You can eat the fruit from a strawberry tree fresh or preserve it[ii]. As well as fruit in the autumn, the strawberry tree also produces white, pink-tinged flowers. For a strong strawberry tree, you’ll need a position with full sun and shelter from adverse weather.

Evergreen Trees For Your Garden

That was just ten of the most stunning evergreen trees that you should consider for your garden. Of course, there are plenty more, but with our tips, we’re sure you’ll be able to make the right choice for your property.

Do you have any evergreen tree recommendations? Let us know your favourites!

Sources

  [i] https://www.permaculturecourseonline.com/assignments/tree-friends/eucalyptus-gunnii/

[ii] https://bangersandballs.co/foraging/the-strawberry-tree/

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