Tree Week

The 6 Trees Real Estate Experts Say Add Curb Appeal to Your Yard

published May 24, 2022
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When you tour a house for sale, you probably don’t get up close and personal with the trees and plants in the front yard. It’s easy to stroll past them to get caught up in the house’s bedrooms, kitchen, and amount of storage space. That’s fine for the initial stage of browsing, but you never want to overlook curb appeal.

Once you’re at the point of choosing your future home, give yourself time to look at the front yard. The right tree will add structure and a focal point to your plot without demanding much of your time and attention.

“When choosing a tree for your yard, there is a lot that goes into the decision,” says Lauren Gaffney Cohen with RE/MAX North Professionals in Vermont. “The primary focus should be the environment for the tree, the purpose of the tree, and the amount of time you would spend maintaining the tree.”

Here are the types of trees real estate experts recommend planting in the front yard to add visual interest.


Gaffney Cohen says the paper birch tree brings character to a yard but needs specific soils to do well — something to keep in mind when considering the amount of time you’d like to spend caring for the tree. On the other hand, the gray birch does well in poor soils and handles salt better than the paper birch.

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Red Maple

A maple tree is a classic choice for the front yard. But just any maple won’t do. “The red maple is preferred over the silver maple , as the silver maple has fairly weak wood,” explains Gaffney Cohen. “Shallow rooting systems can damage sidewalks, pipes, and other infrastructure.”

Flowering Trees

Kati Baker, a luxury home staging specialist at Chicago-based Downtown Realty Company, says flowering trees like magnolias, crabapples, and redbuds put on a beautiful show in the spring. The only downside? They require cleanup when the flowers drop before summertime. 

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Japanese Maple

Baker says one of the more popular showy trees that requires minimal attention is the Japanese maple, because it provides year-round visual appeal and comes in a variety of foliage colors.

“Beyond aesthetics, it’s also important to consider size, scale, and location,” adds Baker. “Homeowners should be careful to choose a tree that won’t grow so large as to block light inside their home or excessively shade existing landscaping.”

There’s no denying that a Japanese maple tree will set off your curb appeal, says Nurit Coombe, managing partner of The Agency, D.C. Metro. In her neck of the woods, the delicate, purplish leaves on these impressive trees turn a brilliant shade of red, orange, or yellow in autumn.

“It’s very colorful, especially in the fall, and doesn’t take away the height or curb appeal of the house,” Coombe says. “You can buy these trees in several different sizes. The Japanese maple tree also represents peace and serenity, so when walking into your home or looking out the window and seeing it, you’ll get a sense of being at peace in your home — with a pretty view, of course.”

Scott Stewart of the Scott Stewart NYC Team at Corcoran likes the delicate and colorful foliage of the Japanese maple tree as well. “I always enjoy seeing blooming trees on a front lawn that have a weeping or trained stature, like a cherry or a willow,” he says. “I also always recommend Japanese maples for their coloring.” 

Credit: Peter Maerky/

Olive Tree

Because it is evergreen in parts of the U.S. and easy to maintain, Taso Tsakos, managing partner of The Agency East Bay in Sonoma County, California, typically recommends an olive tree. “It requires very little water, so it is also good for conservation, since we are currently in a drought in Northern California. These trees help bring great curb appeal to any property.”

Palo Verde Tree

Wendy Walker, managing director of the Scottsdale, Arizona, office of The Agency, says Palo Verde trees are popular in the Phoenix metro area, where spring and summer temperatures are intense.  

“Its roots are very thin, and these trees tend to fall over during storms. But they do flourish in the heat, so they are planted often in our area of Arizona,” she says, adding that mesquite trees are also a popular option.