Trees for Front Yards: Japanese Maple or Evergreen?

Trees are the bones of the front yard landscape. A tree provides vertical interest, shade and color. Evergreens stay green year around, typically a member of the conifer family such as pine or spruce. Japanese maple trees (Acer Palmatum) flip brilliant colors of crimson, gold and orange in the fall. Your front yard will be graced by either. Base your choice on many elements.

Focal Point

Both Japanese maples or evergreens could function as the focus of the lawn. Several types of maple transform a corner of the yard into a stunning riot of fall color. Pick a variety, such as coral bark (Acer palmatum “Sango-kaku”) which includes reddish trunks and stems for winter interest. Evergreen trees, such as blue spruce (Picea pungens), can also make a majestic focus.


Japanese maples grow from 15 to 25 feet tall, are considered small as far as trees go. Evergreen trees vary in stature. Tiny Tower Italian Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens “Monshel”) grows slowly to 8 feet tall and then takes up to 30 years to reach 30 feet tall. The evergreen Douglas fir (Psuedotsuga menziesii) grows to 300 feet tall. In case you have a spacious yard of many acres you may think about putting the taller tree trees, while a smaller lawn would be inundated with only one giant conifer. Both Japanese maples and evergreens could be grown in pots. A pair flanking the front entry would welcome guests.


Green is exactly what you get with an evergreen, although there are a few varieties which are streaked with yellow, such as Juniperus chinensis “Torulosa Variegata,” or white, such as Tsuga canadensis “Albospica,” where the newest growth is white and gradually turns into green. Japanese maples are green throughout the summer and spring and change color in the fall. However, there are a range of varieties which don’t wait until fall, however are brightly hued out of spring. Ukigumo is a Japanese maple with green leaves streaked with white and pink.


Japanese maple trees aren’t typically used for solitude, fencing or to block unwelcome opinions. Evergreen trees fill the invoice if you would like to block the view of the traffic and street noise. The dense fine needles are set close together, forming a display that’s difficult to see through and stature is control by pruning.

Growing Requirements

Japanese maples prefer moist, rich soil and dappled shade in U. S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 6 through 8. Trees with green leaves may tolerate more sun. The growth is slow to moderate. Evergreen trees have a broader tolerance.

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