Small trees on your patio can serve as natural focal points if you work with a landscaper designer who has experience with placing specimen trees even in a small space.
Apart from being the focal point, the small trees can also provide your family with shade, fruits, and some privacy, depending on the types of trees you plant and how well you manage them.
A suitable tree for focal point placing should have special features such as rare flowers, unusual blooming schedule, attractive bark, etc.
How to Choose the Right Focal Tree for a Small Space
You should be careful when choosing the type of trees you grow on your small space patio; finding a focal point tree is not enough because some focal point trees are suitable for your garden, not a patio.
Why? Because they may be the messy type that shed leaves, drop flowers, inedible fruits, and all. You will have to create the time for cleaning your patio floor every day. Therefore, you only go for the messy focal point trees if you are up for the extra tasks they come with.
You should also ensure the tree can tolerate your area climate and how much sun exposure it requires. Again, a focal point tree for a small verandah or patio should not be above 8 meters in full height and width because the limited space is suitable for only low-growing trees.
Its roots should also be the taproot type that grows downwards and not sideways. Roots that grow sideways can crack or even overturn pavement that is close to the patio.
As a rule, any tree’s distance to the nearest vulnerable structure should be at least half the tree’s maximum height. A tree that grows eight (8) meters should be planted four (4) meters away from the nearest structure, such as the house.
It would help if you also considered the slow-growing trees for your small space patio. These are the trees that may grow taller than the dwarf trees but after many years.
You can opt to grow the trees in raised beds or containers. If you are going for the containers, you should be prepared to transfer the trees to deeper or larger containers when they outgrow the initial ones.
That out of the way, let us now consider some of the best focal point trees you can plant on your patio.
7 Small Space Focal Point Trees to Plant On Your Patio
1. Kumquat — Citrus japonica
Kumquat is one tree suitable as a focal point tree for your patio because it is short at maturity, growing up to 8 feet in height and width. You can grow it in a pot or on the ground.
If grown in a pot, it is even smaller at its maximum height. For your patio, consider growing them in pots. You will need to change them into larger pots after three or so years.
Kumquat is a suitable focal point tree also because of its lovely green foliage and the sweet-smelling orange flowers that give way to sweet orange fruits.
They require full sun exposure and moist soil.
European Fan Palm is another perfect focal point tree for your small space patio. It is a majestic tree and doesn’t shed leaves or flowers to mess your patio area. You can plant live one or plant the European Fan Palm seeds.
You need to prune off diseased or dying leaves. It does well under sun exposure and in well-drained, moist soil. You may need to fertilize the soil if it is deficient in nutrients.
The smoke tree is endowed with lovely red to purple leaves and post-bloom silky, fluffy hairs that resemble smoke. The ‘smoke’ changes color from pink to purple as summer develops.
You can grow a Smoke Tree seeds in a container. As the spring starts, lightly prune the tree so that it can later bloom well.
4. Red Buckeye — Aesculus pavia
Red Buckeye is another small beautiful tree that suits your small space patio because it grows slowly up to about 4.5 meters or 15 feet only.
Again, it is a tree you can use as a privacy screen in your patio due to its canopy of dense dark foliage. Red Buckeye has red flowers that appear from mid to late spring. The tree needs full sun exposure and well-drained moist soil.
Small Witch Hazel Tree is a variety of the many Witch Hazel Trees. It is ideal for decorating small gardens or patio design due to its colorful foliage, short height, and sweet-smelling, thin-petaled flowers. It grows to about 4.5 meters or 15 feet.
The small tree has attractive green foliage during the spring and which progresses into lovely yellow-orange in the fall. You can also use Small Witch Hazel Tree for shrub borders and privacy hedges.
You can plant seeds of Small Witch Hazel Tree if finding seedling is not easy.
6. Amelanchier ‘La Paloma’— Serviceberry
If you are looking for a dwarf flowering tree to use as a specimen or focal point on your patio, then ‘La Paloma’ serviceberry tree is the best choice for you. It grows to only 2.4 meters (8 feet).
This colorful dwarf flowering tree has a thin trunk and rounded foliage. Its flowers and berries attract birds and butterflies.
If you want birds around your patio, you should go for the ‘La Paloma’ serviceberry tree. Consider placing birdbaths around the patio for extra aesthetics and to attract more birds.
7. Chaste Tree — Vitex agnus-castus
A Chaste Tree originates from Asia and Mediterranean areas. It has multiple trunks, which you can gently direct to form a particular shape or shade. You can also prune it to into a shrub.
Its leaves smell sweet, and it is one reason Chaste Tree is suitable for your patio. Its lavender-blue to white to pink flowers also have sweet fragrance in the summer and fall. The tree tolerates heat, so full sun exposure is not a problem.
Plant it in well-drained, loose, semi-moist soil.
A focal point tree will start your patio design on the right footing, but that is not all you need to grab the attention of your guests or to please yourself as you relax on your patio.
The birds’ chirping also makes your patio more inviting, so consider placing birdbaths at strategic points outside to enhance the beauty of the immediate surroundings.
The other short trees you can consider for your patio are Eastern Redbud, Kousa Dogwood, and Ornamental Pears.