Deciduous Trees For Beautifying Your Driveway

Autumn is one of the most beautiful times of the year for colours in the garden. At the time of writing this article, I noticed the very first deciduous trees around the Waikato/Waipa regions are just starting to show off their vibrancy, with some truly amazing colours..

Today I want to talk about trees suitable for planting down driveways, and points to consider  before making your final selection.

Trees lining either side of the driveway, can really add  an exciting dimension to a property. This is generally the first part of a property that any visitor sees as they arrive to your home.
When deciding on  how big you would like your trees to eventually grow, this will be a little bit determined by the size of the section. Generally speaking, the bigger the section, the bigger you will want the trees to grow, and the vice versa applies. if you have a smaller section, you will need to select smaller growing specimen trees. If you plant a smaller growing tree down a big driveway then it can look like a pimple, and make no impact on the site For the smaller section, you don't want to plant large growing trees that are going to completely dominate the property and put everything around it into dark shade and be overbearing on everything around them. Consider the site: is it very exposed to the elements? Take wind into special consideration as this can dramatically influence the selection and performance of the trees.

Some trees can naturally cope very well, with strong winds, and others are hopeless, and will always struggle - I will talk about some of the better choices later in the article. I was recently at a landscape client's property close to  the Tauranga harbour, and they asked me to view their  deciduous trees down a driveway, and wondered why the trees in 4 years hadn't even grown 30cm. The salt winds coming off the harbour, were burning the new soft growth in spring, as the leaves emerged from dormancy. This was clearly the wrong selection for this site. I advised them to pull out the trees, and select more suitable options, that would be happier in this sort of environment.

How much room have you got for the trees to grow ? Is the driveway close to the neighbours boundary? Then it may need to be a more upright growth habit, so that the trees don't grow across the  neighbours boundary fence. Even if you ask the neighbours, would they mind about overhang from your trees? They might not live in that house forever and the next landowners may object, slice a big chunk off your trees back to the boundary line, and so completely wreck the overall look of your lovely tree lined driveway.
Select trees that have a single trunk, that you can easily keep limbing up the lower branches as they get older ,so that your  vision and access down the driveway is not impaired .

Plant the trees at a spacing that allows each to grow and have room to show itself off, and not be overcrowded looking, where the closeness to each other is inhibiting the natural shape of each tree.

Having all of the same tree type down your driveway, gives more impact, rather than a mixture of various trees.

Some Good Driveway Tree Options( by size):

Large Tree Options


A deciduous tree recognised for its wonderful autumn colours, good in exposed sites, has a nice rounded head, and straight trunk-I consider it a very good option for Waikato conditions.- suitable for the larger property. A lot of  other varieties in  the Acer (maple) family detest wind, but this one  is  a good performer in these conditions.


Also a suitable option for  the larger property, extensively   planted around the Waipa/Waikato regions,. Keep trimming up the lower branches, as the trees get older, and this will help them develop into specimen trees with a lovely wide spread .Beautiful autumn colours come from this tree, performs well, where the soil is rather damp. Stake the main stem, when the tree is young, this helps it in later years to have  a nice straight trunk.

Medium Tree Options


A medium sized deciduous tree, makes a spectacular display in spring, with masses of shell pink blossom,  and good autumn  foliage colour. An outstanding option for  medium  sized properties and extensively planted  as a driveway tree  around the Waikato region. There  are plenty of other flowering cherry varieties that are just as showy and make great driveway tree options.


A great driveway tree option, where you maybe don't have much room for spread. The real feature of this tree, is its  glistening white bark, which is ever so eye catching when the tree is bare of leaves in the winter.
This tree has light foliage, that wont shade too much over the summer months, and an informal planting in groupings down each side of your driveway can be very effective.

Small Tree Options


This is a very good option for the smaller urban section, not exposed to wind. Hugely popular ,with its darkest  red fine leafed foliage that appears in early spring, and carries on with its magical display right through to well into the autumn. I have used this maple as a driveway tree ,with outstanding results. Trim up the lower branches ,to keep the main trunk free from lower branching


This is a small growing version of the majestic  maidenhair tree, this one only gets to 4metres tall, so really a good option for the smaller sized urban  section. Great for confined spaces, and where you just don't have room for anything big. Outstanding golden yellow  foliage display in the autumn, and  bright green over the summer months. Trim up the lower branching, as the tree matures, and it won't disappoint you, as a good driveway tree option. Reasonably hardy to the elements.
Autumn and winter are the two best months of the year, for planting your driveway trees, so if you would like to beautify your driveway, start thinking about it now.

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Graeme Burton - Landscaper - Rukuhia Homestead, RD2, Ohaupo 3882
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