I was wondering if you could recommend a slow growing evergreen tree for my front lawn. I live in Toronto where my house faces north. I am redoing my front lawn/driveway and am trying to decide what to plant. So far I have decided on dwarf lavender (for a border) and hydrangeas (annabelle variety). I want to include at least one tree but I do not have a lot of room. I’m looking for something that has the feel of a Christmas tree so that I can decorate it with lights during the winter months. I was thinking of planting it in a flower bed close to the house since I already have a tree which the city planted in front of my house two years ago. (Not sure what kind that is) Do you have any suggestions? I’m trying to create a garden from scratch. I’ve included a picture of my front (not yet finished). Thanks for taking the time to give me some input. It is greatly appreciated.
Franca (beginner gardener)
Thank you for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners.
Planning a new garden is a wonderful opportunity to have exactly what you want. There are many slow growing/dwarf evergreens available in local nurseries. Visiting your local nursery is a great way to begin the process. Seeing what is available and what is in your price range gives you somewhere to begin your research. Walking the neighbourhood and seeing what other people have planted and what is thriving and what is not can give clues as to which type of plants are suited to you micro-climate. I have attached an article from our site that lists many different types of small evergreens that may be perfect for your yard. The most common would be the Alberta Spruce which is readily available and not difficult to care for.
Planting your new garden would be best attempted in the fall or in the spring as it is less hot and there is more rain. Sometimes in early fall plants go on sale. I am also attaching one of our guides on planting trees to help you once you have purchased the tree.
Once your plants are in be sure to mulch your garden. There are many mulches available at your local nursery. If you lay a bed of mulch a couple of inches thick over your soil it will help retain moisture, decrease weed growth and slowly over time amend your soil. Please do ensure the mulch does not come in direct contact with the trunk as that can decrease air circulation to the base of the tree causing issues down the road. Leave a few inches between the stems and the mulch.
Good luck, I am sure it will be beautiful with the choices you are making.