The Best Trees for Your Front Yard

Planting trees in the front yard of your home can add immense value to the property with very little work. Sprawling ornamental trees or perfectly pruned evergreens create dimension and incorporate color into the landscape.

Depending on where you live, certain trees will grow better than others. Consult with a professional landscape designer in your area to determine the best trees for your front yard.

Understanding Tree Hardiness Zones

All different types of plants and tree species flourish under specific conditions. For example, it’s unlikely that you’d see a towering palm tree swaying in the Minnesotan breeze, yet you will find thousands of them lining the streets of downtown Miami. The tree’s degree of hardiness determines its ability to thrive in one location over others.

Plant hardiness describes the ability of the plant or tree to survive under adverse climatic growing conditions. Specifically, the plant’s ability to tolerate heat, cold, drought, wind, flooding or other predations are all measurements of plant hardiness.

In the Midwest, most gardeners and landscapers look for trees within zones 4 and 5. Trees that fall within these zones are typically very hardy since the climate is cold for a more extended period during the year.

To determine the best trees and plants for your location’s zone, the United States Department of Agriculture created a helpful interactive plant hardiness zone map for the entire country.

The Best Trees for Your Front Yard

Once you understand the plant hardiness zone that your property falls into, the selection of the perfect front yard tree can begin. Often, homeowners opt for smaller, flowering, ornamental trees in the front of their homes to enhance curb appeal.

Ornamental trees are a fantastic option for the front yard because they grow out instead of up. The branches spread out above the lawn, and when the tree buds bloom, it is truly a sight to behold. There are quite a few ornamental tree options available within plant hardiness zones 4 and 5 to create a beautiful front yard landscape.

Ornamental Trees



  • Malus domestica
  • Zones: 5-8
  • Apple trees are a classic and beautiful ornamental tree option for your front yard. The stunning white and pink flower blooms arrive as the spring weather warms up, and in late fall, you may even have some delicious edible apples to pick. Also from the Malus family, crabapple trees are another excellent alternative to apple trees for properties in zones 4 and 5.


Red Dogwood

  • Cornus florida
  • Zones: 5-9
  • Another tree that looks beautiful all year round is the red dogwood. In the spring, small white flowers protrude from the bright red buds. When the leaves fall off, the eye-catching red branches stand out against stark white Minnesota snow.


Downy Serviceberry

  • Amelanchier arborea 
  • Zones: 4-9
  • The downy serviceberry tree is truly a tree for all seasons. With beautiful white blooms in the spring and golden yellow foliage in the fall, the serviceberry tree will add tons of value to your property. Its berries are a favorite for birds and humans alike.


Shade Trees

Shade trees are a fantastic option for families with small children who like to play in the front yard. Just like the name suggests, they cast more shade than smaller ornamental trees, making them the perfect refuge for an exhausted kid on a hot summer day.

Red Maple

  • Acer rubrum
  • Zones: 3-9
  • As the seasons change, the red maple tree leaves turn to a glorious, glowing red. In the autumn sunset, the trees practically look like fire as the light hits. They are a gorgeous option for a front yard and provide ample shade in the summer months with their large, flat leaves.


River Birch

  • Betula nigra
  • Zones: 4-9
  • Birch trees are recognized for their rugged, peeling bark, and the river birch is no different. Also known as the black birch, river birch trees thrive in Midwestern climates as long as they receive ample sun and water.



  • Ginkgo biloba
  • Zones: 4-9
  • The ginkgo tree is a large ornamental shade tree native to Eastern Asia. Ginkgo’s are known for their large, distinctive, uniquely shaped, fan-like leaves. They can be very striking and exotic looking, but be wary of the “gender” of the ginkgo tree you plant, as the female trees bear terribly smelling fruit.


Evergreen (Coniferous) Trees

If you prefer that your property has a little pop of color all year round, plant some coniferous trees. Also known as evergreen trees, since they never lose their “leaves” or needles, these are a great option, especially if you love to decorate around the holidays.

Coniferous trees also offer a secure and inviting habitat for adorable critters like birds and chipmunks. There are tons of different species of coniferous trees that thrive in zones 4 and 5, so consult with your local nursery if our picks don’t pique your interest.

Colorado Blue Spruce

  • Picea pungens
  • Zones: 3-7
  • The Colorado blue spruce tree is a stunning spruce tree that keeps its foliage year-round. The unique feature of this species is its distinctive blue hue. It makes for a great landscaping cornerstone.


American Arborvitae

  • Thuja occidentalis
  • Zones: 2-7
  • American arborvitae is an incredibly common choice for front yard landscaping. It’s popular because of its small size and tall, thin shape. If you want to line your driveway or create a living fence, arborvitae is the way to go. Just make sure to give these trees a trim here and there.


Wrapping Up

Adding a tree or two to your front yard can increase your property value and your landscaping beauty. Sweeping branches of flourishing flowers create shade for you to sit back and enjoy the newfound nature in your front yard.