What Is A Good Tree To Plant Near A House?

Ryan Womeldorf
by Ryan Womeldorf

When properly placed, trees in the backyard can make for a beautiful visual aesthetic. It can also provide quality privacy in areas where homes are closely bunched together. Maintaining privacy in those close quarters can be of the utmost importance.

It is important to know how closely the tree can be planted, but it can also depend on the type of trees.

Birch, hawthorn, pear, and apple trees are all great trees that you can plan near your house. American Holly and Japanese maples are ideal to plant near your home because they are low maintenance. Never plant Silver Maple trees too close to your house because their root system can damage your foundation.

Do You Need Landscaping Services?

Get free, zero-commitment quotes from pro contractors near you.

How Close Can A Tree Be To The House?

A good rule of thumb for a tree that you plan to grow near your home is that it can be three-quarters of its designated height in distance from the house. So, if a tree is 10-feet tall, it should be no closer than 7.5 feet from the home.

It is also of the utmost importance to choose a tree or trees that will not cause damage and will actually produce benefits to the surrounding gardens.

Trees can provide great shade, security, and even offer fruits that can be used in the kitchen. But it is of the utmost importance that they not cause issues with other plant life and the home itself.

The Best Trees To Plant Near A House

With these rules in mind, there are quite a few trees that will actually be beneficial when planted near the home.


Crabapple trees are on the shorter side of the spectrum, a flowering tree that will grow to be about 20 feet tall at its maturity.

You will want to pick a disease-resistant tree, however. When disease eats away at the interior of a tree, it can weaken the structural integrity. This makes it a risk for falling down.

American Holly

If you’re looking for a low-maintenance tree that is beautiful and popular, look no further than the American Holly.

This evergreen can be planted and only requires pruning once in a while, making it a low-maintenance option.

Japanese Maple

The Japanese maple is popular because of its beautiful, scarlet coloring. This is the kind of tree that you would want to be located near a patio or by the curb because of its ability to capture the attention of anyone that sees it.

Cornelian-cherry Dogwood

A theme here is that you want small trees planted by the house. This is because they are less likely to cause damage in the event that they fall.

The Cornelian-cherry dogwood has bright, vibrant flowers that can really stand out, especially against a dark background.

American Hornbeam

Though this is one of the slower-growing trees on the list, this small birch can provide quality shading and privacy when it does reach full maturity.

Flowering Dogwood

One of the more delicate trees that fall under this category, it looks especially good when planted near walls.

The Worst Trees To Plant Near A House

The following trees are deemed the worst to be planted near your house due to their extensive, invasive root systems. Keep in mind that there are other non-ideal trees outside of this list, these are just the worst offenders.


The genus “Poplar” actually consists of around 30 unique species. They are a very common landscaping tree in the United States.

These trees are rather tall and, despite their beauty, consist of rather aggressive roots that are known to cause both foundational and sewer damage.

White Ash

Often found in large yards, parks, and other extensive areas, the white ash tree is known for its stunning fall colors.

However, these shade trees are very fast-growing and have invasive lateral roots, making them the wrong choice for near your home. They are also prone to emerald ash borer.

Silver Maple

Known for their bright green leaves with a shimmery silver-white underside, silver maples are incredibly fast-growing and have a vigorous root system. In some cases, their roots can even end up growing above ground.

Silver maples are recommended by arborists to only be planted ten feet or more from foundations, sidewalks, drives, and sewer lines. They are, therefore, one of the worst trees to plant near your house.

American Elm

These trees are loved for their fountain-like branches, graceful shape, and golden fall colors. The American elm’s roots are shallow, presenting a serious threat to your lawn, driveway, sidewalk, and foundation.

They are also susceptible to a pathogen called Dutch elm disease, and should not be placed anywhere near your home.

Once you find a tree that you like for your yard, make sure that you do plenty of research to discover how destructive and fast-growing their roots can be. This will help you prevent the inconvenience of leaves at your front door or even damage to your foundation.

Tips For Choosing The Best Tree To Plant Near Your Home

Finding the perfect tree can feel like a hard assignment with thousands of types to select from. Furthermore, planting a tree in your yard can be a considerable financial and time commitment. With these simple tactics, you can narrow down your search and pick the ideal tree to plant near your home.

Check The Amount Of Space You Have

When selecting a tree, the size of the planting space is crucial. To begin, how wide is the place in which you want to plant your tree? Is the planting location close to a structure, a fence, or other large plants? If that’s the case, calculate how much space a tree can take up before its growth is stifled.

Next, consider the location’s potential for height. If there are electricity lines overhead, ensure sure your fully grown tree won’t touch them. Is it possible that the mature tree will send limbs over your house?

Although a tree growing over a house is rarely a concern, potential issues can be avoided by selecting a tree with a tight growth habit rather than a spreading crown.

Finally, think about where the tree’s shadow will fall. Shade is generally beneficial, with the exception of planting areas that require full light, such as a vegetable garden.

Have A Goal In Mind

It’s a little like going through resumes when it comes to reading tree descriptions. Identifying what you want them to do is the first step in selecting the perfect candidate. A tree in your yard is the same way. How would you like a new tree to add to the beauty of your yard?

Do you need some cover for your patio or outdoor play area? Do you want to obscure a view or build a windbreak? Do you need extra color in your landscape in the spring or fall? Do you wish to promote wildlife such as bees and birds by planting a tree? Make a list of the things you want your new tree to do in your yard.

What Are Your Growing Conditions?

To begin, determine your hardiness zone, which can help you narrow down your options to trees that will survive your area’s winters. Then assess your planting site’s growing parameters, including how much light it receives, the soil type, and natural moisture levels.

Some trees, for example, flourish in loose, sandy soil, while others can handle heavy clay soil. Many trees require full-day light to thrive, while others thrive in partial shade.

Either carefully choose a tree that is suited to the present conditions, or do everything you can to improve your site’s suitability for the tree you wish to grow.

For example, if your tree requires more water than your location receives from precipitation, you can modify the soil with compost to increase drainage and plan to install a drip watering system.

Consider The Outdoor Space

The most valuable trees are frequently incorporated into outdoor living areas. A green ceiling is encircled by an oak overhanging a terrace. A live privacy screen is created by a trio of arborvitae planted along a property line.

Remember that trees can make a nuisance in and around your alfresco areas, so choose species that don’t drop a lot of twigs, leaves, fruit, or seeds.

Keep sidewalks and paths in mind as well, so you don’t end up in a situation where you’re constantly trimming back stray branches. Select trees that will get along with you.

Ryan Womeldorf
Ryan Womeldorf

Ryan Womeldorf has more than a decade of experience writing. He loves to blog about construction, plumbing, and other home topics. Ryan also loves hockey and a lifelong Buffalo sports fan.

More by Ryan Womeldorf