Trees planted near your home can boost their appeal and provide screening, but it's important that you choose carefully to avoid potential damage to your house.

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Certain trees have a high water demand that, on clay soils in particular, can lead to them drying and shrinking, at worst leading to subsidence. Strong, fast-growing roots can also pose a problem, with the potential to damage drainage systems in their quest for water.

Fortunately, there are more than enough beautiful trees, including trees for small gardens, that are fine to plant close by houses, without any risk to the soundness of your home.

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Check out some of our favourite trees to plant near houses, below.

Fruit trees

Fruit trees, including pears, apples, apricots and plums can be grown as espaliers or fans against the wall of a house, ideally a warm, sunny one. This is perfect for small gardens and maximises the productivity if your plant. Discover three ways to train a fruit tree.

Pear tree growing against a brick wall

Olives

Olive trees grow extremely slowly and even the oldest trees are small but beautifully gnarled specimens. When planting, choose a warm, sunny spot for them and make sure the soil is very well-drained.

Olive foliage and young olives

Sorbus

As well as being small trees, sorbus tend to grow up rather than out, so they're less likely to grow towards the house and find themselves obstructed. They're brilliant for wildlife, too – providing spring blossom and abundant autumn berries.

A young sorbus tree growing in a courtyard beside a building

Cornus kousa

Cornus kousa is a lovely large shrub or small tree with pale bracts in summer followed by red pompon shaped fruits. It's ideal for perking up a drab front garden. You could also consider Cornus florida and Cornus controversa.

White-flowering, small cornus tree growing in a garden border

Yew

Slow-growing yew trees are one of the few conifers that will regrow from brown wood, so they're ideal for clipping into topiary shapes that can be grown near the house. Yews are easy to grow, but it's essential they're planted in very well-drained soil, as they hate wet feet. Watch Monty plant yew.

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Yew standard tree planted in a border
A standard yew growing in a garden border

Crab apples

Crab apples are fantastic trees for small gardens, so they're well suited to growing near houses, where they'll bring plenty of interest in the form of blossom, fruits and colourful autumn foliage.

A crop of red crab apple fruit, on the tree

Planting hole positioning

Even with wall-trained trees, it's a good idea to dig your planting hole a foot or so away from the wall, to give the roots room to grow and to make it easier for rain to reach the roots. To train a tree, simply tilt the tree towards the wall when planting, then tie in the branches.
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