Trees in the ornamental garden – spherical, conical, columnar

The ornamental garden without a tree? I can’t imagine it. Whether as house tree or spherical, columnar – perhaps also cone-shaped ornamental wood they give the garden structure.

Trees ornamental garden
© 7monarda –

There is probably no point in interpreting this: the ornamental garden includes vigorous ornamental shrubs, which are cultivated into column, cone or spherical trees. These should primarily have a decorative effect. When designing, however, the expected height and crown circumference must be taken into account, which should be in proportion to the garden size. Personal taste also plays an important role in the choice of trees. These can be scent effects, visual stimuli from leaves and flowers, as well as fruit formation. Which ornamental trees are suitable as trees? Look for yourself and decide according to your personal taste and suit your garden.

Trees in the ornamental garden

For the small garden, trees that take up little space and cast little shade are ideal.

1deciduous trees

© Zerbor –

❶ Gold Elm (Ulmus hollandica ‘Wredei)
Due to its small size, the Gold Elm is suitable for smaller gardens. The tree can grow up to 10 metres high and 5 metres wide. This small tree or tree-like shrub is characterised by upright growth and its narrow, columnar to funnel-shaped crown. The branches and twigs grow tightly upright and densely branched, on which bright yellow leaves sprout. Only the ornamental value of the gold elm lies in the foliage. Later their colour changes from yellow to yellow-green. The leaves of the golden elm change colour less intensively in shady locations.

❷ Japanese fan maple (Acer japonicum)

Japanese fan maple
© eqroy –

The Japanese maple is a feast for the eyes for every garden. This shrub-like ornamental tree is hardy and easy to care for. In autumn, its leaves change colour to bright shades. Depending on the variety, these can range from yellow to orange to red. The colour of the attractive umbel-like flowers with their purple red calyxes and pink petals is just as intense. The location is decisive for healthy and luxuriant growth. This should be sunny to half shady. If the soil is well prepared and the tree is regularly well watered after the plants, then nothing stands in the way of its thriving development.

❸ Ball acacia (Robinia pseudoacacia ‘Umbraculifera’)

globe acacia
© osiris59 –

Whether in the front garden as an ornamental plant or as a source of shade in the park, the decorative ball acacia attracts the attention of garden and nature lovers with its almost English charm. The numerous types of acacia are extremely robust and easy to care for. However, ball trees must be cut regularly. Even hobby gardeners with less experience in tree pruning can easily perform ball pruning. If you want to cultivate these trees, you will succeed even with little botanical knowledge, because ball trees are very easy to maintain woody plants.

2Blossoming trees

© progarten –

❶ Trumpet tree with a ball (Catalpa bignonioides)

With a ball-trumpet tree a striking appearance grows up in your garden. At a young age it forms a spherical crown, and in old age the tree grows more in width than in height. The leaves are reminiscent of elephant ears. The leaves lie on top of each other like tiles, like a dense roof. In autumn the tree shines through its beautiful yellow leaf colouring. Ball-trumpet trees are ideal for gate entrances, as house trees and for bird protection. Moreover, the care of the trumpet tree is uncomplicated.

❷ Tulip Magnolia (Magnolia soulangiana)

Tulip Magnolia
© Elisabeth –

With its large tulip-shaped individual flowers, white ground colour and pink violet tinges, the magnolia tree is one of the most popular ornamental plants among hobby gardeners. This flowering rarity is widely found as a large shrub or as a small short-stemmed tree reaching a height of 3 to 5 metres. It gets higher with age, too. The magnificent flower unfolds the tulip magnolia from April to May before the leaves shoot. In the summer it can come occasionally to a weak after-flowering. The sweeping crown on a short and mostly crooked trunk of older trees is typical for the plant.

❸ Common Golden Rain (Laburnum anagyroides)

Common Golden Rain
© M. Schuppich –

When designing your ornamental garden, garden lovers like to resort to the Common Golden Rain (Laburnum anagyroides). This magnificent flowering shrub is ideal for individual use in the garden. Particularly attractive are the numerous yellow luminescent flowers in loose, arching overhanging grapes. These grapes reach a length of 20 – 30 cm. In terms of colour, the Common Golden Rain looks very beautiful with the lilaose-coloured flowers of the arching overhanging panicles of Chinese Flieders and behind red rhododendron.

❹ Japanese ornamental cherry (Prunus serrulata)

Japanese ornamental cherry
© Chris –

With its striking white or pink flowers, the Japanese ornamental cherry is an excellent decorative element in front gardens in spring, but also as a solitary plant in any garden. There are countless varieties of this tree species, which differ not only in colour, but also in their natural growth habit. They don’t take care of this wood like any other. It is extremely important for the growth and shape of the tree to cut the ornamental cherry regularly in order to achieve a lush floral splendour.

3Fruit bearing trees

© Valeriy –

❶ Columnedberry Ash (Sorbus aucuparia)

For the ornamental garden, cultivated forms of mountain ash are offered, reaching a height of up to 3 metres. However, there are also trees of this species, which can reach a much higher growth. The Columnberry Ash is a vigorous shrub which is cultivated to a column shape through a suitable cut. The leaves of the tree are about 20 centimetres long, dark green, shiny matt and pinnate. From September, the rowan is particularly noticeable with its large umbels of bright cancer-red berries. These form a good colour contrast to the dark foliage.

❷ Ornamental apple (Malus spec.)

ornamented apple
© AnnaReinert –

The ornamental apple tree has a rather delicate growth. Characteristic are the beautiful flowers, the foliage with its autumn colour and of course the ornamental apples. The robust shrubs are easy to care for. Ornamental apple trees give the garden an attractive appearance throughout the year. This ornamental shrub comes in many interesting varieties, some even have tasty fruits.

❸ Blood Plum (Prunus cerasifera)

blood plum
© Robert Leßmann –

Bright pink flowers, which she unfolds in April, and the dark red leaves distinguish the blood plum. Although it is used gladly in urban parks, it found a place meanwhile also in small ornamental gardens. The Blutpflaume can be combined very well with the white flowering Kirschpflaume. However, it gets only few fruits, but they taste very good and the flesh has a nice appearance. For birds, the Blutpflaume offers a popular Nistplatz. It should therefore be cut at the end of June. On the one hand, the first growth-phase is completed at this time and on the other hand, the bird-offspring left the nests.


© LianeM –

❶ Japanese girl’s pine (Pinus parviflora)

The shrub-like Japanese girl’s pine is suitable for small themed gardens in many ways. She gives structure to the heath garden, as well as to Japanese gardens or the aesthetically designed colourful ornamental garden. It is characterised by a broad, conical and irregular but well branched and thus dense and bushy shape. The Japanese girl’s jaw has a slow growth. In 15 years it reaches a height and width of about 2 meters. Her needles are strongly twisted, soft and gentle. The abundance of cones is small, but they last more than two years on the same tree.

❷ Juniper (Juniperus communis)

© fox17 –

One of the most popular conifers in domestic gardens is the juniper, because it is robust and easy-care. Juniper is insensitive to cold, but needs a lot of light. This should be taken into account when selecting the location. Especially popular with hobby gardeners is the columned juniper. It is ideal for the stone and heather garden because it has a special ornamental value. In addition, the structure of these themed gardens is shaped by the character of the Säulen-Wacholder. Birds, bees and useful insects like to settle on it.

❸ Yew (Taxus baccata)

© Iva –

Hardly any other conifer is as versatile as the yew. The green or yellow soft needles of this shrub adorn the garden in summer as well as in winter. Yews can reach a ripe old age. In recent years, numerous yew forms with different growth forms and yellow to dark green needles have developed, which are well suited for the single position – from the yellow-needled column form to the broad-growing yew with overhanging shoots, the so-called eagle-swinging yew. This ornamental shrub likes a semi-shady to shady location. On this it develops better than on a sunny, exposed place in the garden.

❹Zypresse (Cupressus)

© Kai –

The growth form and colour of the individual cypress plants are different. The column-shaped solitary plant is ideal for small gardens. Cypresses grow very fast. If they are not cut back regularly, some varieties can reach a height of about 10 metres. Cypresses are therefore cut back at least once a year, either in autumn or spring. However, because they are only conditionally hardy, they should be planted in a protected location.

Photo1: © 7monarda –, Photo2: © Zerbor –, Photo3: © eqroy –, Photo4: © osiris59 –, Photo5: © progarten –, Photo6: © Elisabeth –, Photo7: © M. Schuppich –, Photo8: © Chris –, photo9: © Valeriy –, photo10: © AnnaReinert –, photo11: © Robert Leßmann –, photo12: © LianeM –, photo13: © fox17 –, photo14: © Iva –, photo15: © Kai –

Don Burke

I am Don Burke, one of the authors at My Garden Guide.  I am a horticulturist that cultivates, grows, and cares for plants, ranging from shrubs and fruits to flowers. I do it in my own garden and in my nursery. I show you how to take care of your garden and how to perform garden landscaping in an easy way, step by step.I am originally from Sydney and I wrote in local magazines. Later on, I have decided, more than two decades ago, to create my own blog. My area of specialization is related to orchid care, succulent care, and the study of the substrate and the soil. Therefore, you will see many articles dedicated to these disciplines. I also provide advice about how to improve the landscape design of your garden.

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