The Grounds Guys
Different types of trees in a distant forest setting

Understanding Types of Trees: How to Select Trees for Your Yard

Selecting trees for your yard begins with understanding different tree types and their benefits. Let’s start with the basics. Trees are grouped into two primary categories: deciduous and coniferous.

Tree Type #1: Deciduous Trees

  • Also called hardwoods, these tree types typically shed their leaves in autumn
  • Deciduous trees have different-shaped leaves, depending on tree species; for example, star, heart and oval shapes
  • Examples include oak, elm, maple, and willow

Benefits of deciduous trees

  • The same deciduous tree shades your house in the summer and lets sunlight filter through its bare branches to help warm your home in winter after it drops its leaves.
  • Many deciduous trees, such as maples (Acer spp.), offer a riot of color in autumn when their leaves change colors.
  • Some deciduous trees, such as birches (Betula spp.) and crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia spp.), have exfoliating bark that provides a beautiful winter focal point.
  • Other deciduous tree types can help feed your family. Plant fruit and nut trees for their bountiful harvests as well as their shade appeal.
  • Short on space? Unleash your creativity by pruning a fruit tree against a flat surface -- a technique called espaliering.

Tree Type #2: Coniferous Trees

  • Most of these are evergreens, which means you'll have greenery year-round on these tree types
  • Coniferous trees have leaves that are needle-shaped
  • Examples include pine, fir, spruce, and cedar

Benefits of coniferous trees

  • Evergreen trees not only shade your home in the summer, but they also provide a wind screen to block harsh winter breezes.
  • Coniferous tree types provide a year-round privacy fence to block unwanted views. Simply space small trees according to the species recommendation so they'll form a green screen as they mature.
  • Birds seek refuge in evergreen trees, particularly during the winter. Learn what type of trees and plants attract hummingbirds in the spring.

Lean more about how to plant trees 

Consider Your Climactic Zone 

Keep in mind that different trees thrive in different climactic zones, so although you may have found a tree from the above list that provides the benefits you’re looking for, it may not do well in your yard.  Contact us for assistance. We can help you determine which trees would work best not only for your personal preferences but also for your climate. Visit our Residential Landscape Design Services page to learn more about how The Grounds Guys can help you.