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12 Best Trees to Line Driveway [Colorful Privacy Trees!]

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Which are the best trees to line driveways? You have tons of options! We like crape myrtle, dogwoods, red maples, redbuds, and purple-leaf plums the most. When selecting a tree for your driveway landscaping, consider its mature spread and unique care requirements.

Most trees well-suited for lining a driveway are deciduous hardwoods, though that’s certainly not always the case. We’ll take a closer look at more of your best options below!

What Trees are Best for a Tree-Lined Driveway?

Landscaping your driveway can increase your home’s curb appeal and value. When choosing trees to line your driveway, there are several factors to consider, such as the tree’s size at maturity, root structure, and branches. With that in mind, here are 12 excellent trees to line your driveway.

1. Dogwoods

dogwood tree with lovely white flowers
Here’s one of our favorite trees to a line driveway. They’re also excellent shade trees. We’re talking about dogwood trees! It’s a graceful tree with bright leaves that looks spectacular along any driveway, fence, walkway, or homestead. We also read from Nature’s Notebook that dogwoods tolerate shade or direct sunlight. However, partial shade may work better. No matter where you plant them, dogwood trees are a beautiful choice!

Dogwoods are famous flowering trees with various colors, including white, pink, red, and purple. They have a low-branching habit and oval or round shape, making them perfect for lining driveways. Dogwoods do best in full sun or partial shade and acidic soils that are moist but well-drained. They are slow-growing trees that mature between 15 and 30 feet tall with a spread of 15 to 25 feet.

2. Birch

birch tree growing in front of old wooden house
Birch trees are striking with elegant shapes, bright colors, and beautiful bark. They are a pleasure to behold lining any driveway! When researching birch trees, we read on the NDSU Extension blog that birch trees are not the most straightforward trees to grow! Their article also mentions how birch trees could benefit from shredded woodchips and bark mulch to help keep the soil moist and cool. If you cultivate these ornamental trees, remember that they are not full-sun trees, and they detest dry soil.

Do you want a tree that offers shade? Birch is a good option. These trees are fast-growing and can quickly reach heights of 30 feet or more. They also have a light-colored bark that makes them stand out in any landscape. Birches do well in partial shade and prefer moist, well-drained soil.

3. Redbud

blooming eastern redbud tree with beautiful flowers
Want a row of attractive trees with beautiful fall color and a decent spread? Then here’s our favorite decorative tree for lining a driveway. The redbud tree! They offer a lively burst of color with lovely pink flowers that turn yellow in the fall. We read on the University of Maryland Extension that redbuds have a mature height of around twenty to thirty-five feet. Their guide also mentions how redbuds only survive for roughly twenty to thirty years. But their striking colored flowers make them worth the effort!

Redbuds are one of the first trees to bloom in the springtime, making them an excellent choice for adding color along your driveway. They’re also relatively small and have a compact growth habit, so they’re easy to manage. Redbuds prefer full sun but can tolerate partial shade as well. 

4. Magnolia

colorful magnolia tree blooming in the rain
Magnolia trees are breathtaking and hefty evergreen trees perfect for spacious driveways. We read from the Oregon State University Department of Horticulture blog that magnolia trees can tolerate full sunlight. But they prefer partial shade. Magnolias are also famous for growing upwards of eighty feet tall with dense foliage – so they’re suitable border trees for rural homesteaders.

Magnolias are something of a Southern classic when it comes to trees. They’re large, up to 80 feet tall, so they make a remarkable statement along your driveway. But don’t worry, they grow slowly, so you won’t have to worry about them getting too big too fast. Magnolias prefer full sun but will tolerate partial shade as well.

Read More!

5. Crape Myrtle

curving driveway with blooming white crape myrtles
Here’s our favorite drought-tolerant tree capable of bombarding your driveway with color. The crape myrtle tree! They’re excellent border trees with vibrant leaves and rich foliage. When researching crape myrtle trees, we learned that several cultivars exist with flowers ranging from pink and lavender to white. We also noticed that the leaves are usually a deep-green color. Since crape myrtle trees don’t mind drought and are easy to grow, they have reputations as highly adaptable trees.

Another good option for adding color to your landscape is the southern crape myrtle. These trees are known for their showy flowers, which come in vibrant colors, including pink, red, and purple. They also have attractive reddish-brown bark that peels away in strips as the tree matures. Southern crape myrtles do best in full sun and well-drained soil.

6. Red Maples

red maple trees lining driveway in autumn
Red maples are breathtaking driveway canopy trees with loads of brilliant autumn color. We love the golden fall foliage that hits hard with a dark orange coloring throughout September and October. Red maples are popular around much of New England and the Eastern US. And after researching red maples on the National Wildlife Foundation’s website, we learned that the growing range of red maples stretches from Maine, Minnesota, Texas, and Florida. These trees get around!

As one of the most common trees in North America, red maples are known for their brilliant red fall foliage. They are also drought-tolerant and adaptable to endless soil types and light conditions. Red maples grow fast, maturing between 40 and 60 feet tall with a spread of 30 to 50 feet. 

7. Sugar Maples

dark orange sugar maple trees along driveway
Sugar maple trees are perfect for lining your driveway if you have plenty of space. We read from the University of Minnesota UFOR Nursery & Lab blog that sugar maples grow in urban areas but prefer growing in the forest. And sugar maples may grow upwards of eighty feet tall! If your driveway is small, we advise seeking an average-sized tree rather than sugar maples. We also read from the Iowa State University Extension blog that sugar maple trees grow at variable speeds. So, they may surprise you with a moderate growth rate.

Another North American classic, sugar maples are prized for their sugar-sweet sap, which gets used to make maple syrup. Sugar maples have vivid yellow, orange, and red fall foliage and prefer full sun to partial shade. They are slow-growing trees that mature between 50 and 75 feet tall, with a spread of 35 to 50 feet. 

8. Crabapple

blooming white crabapple tree springtime
Crabapple trees have lovely glossy leaves and deliver heavenly color in spring. They’re also perfect for lining your driveway, walkway, patio, or front yard. When researching crabapple tree fruits, we found an excellent crabapple selection guide on the North Dakota State University website. We were excited to learn that some crabapple cultivars have fruits that endure throughout much of the fall and winter. Their article shares more crabapple tree fruiting details.

Crabapples are beautiful flowering trees in many lovely colors, including white, pink, and red. They have a strong central trunk with long branches that droop toward the ground, making them ideal for lining driveways. Crabapples do best in full sun and moist, well-drained soil. They are medium-growing trees that mature between 20 and 30 feet tall with a similar spread. 

9. Purple Leaf Plum

purple leaf plum trees growing in the spring
Purple-leaf plum trees are perfect for lining your driveway if you want a showy, compact tree. They rarely grow taller than 20 feet high. We’ve also seen them growing in containers. Purple-leaf plums are an excellent choice if you want lots of color without needing a massive tree. We read on the NC State Extension blog that purple-leaf plum isn’t fussy about soil. However, it prefers moist soil with adequate drainage.

A purple-leaf plum is an excellent option if you’re looking for a tree that will add lively color to your property. These trees are known for their beautiful purple leaves, which make them a striking addition to any landscape. They also produce small white flowers in the springtime that add even more visual interest. The purple-leaf plum does best in full sun and well-drained soil. 

10. Weeping Willow

large weeping willow tree growing in friendly neighborhood
Weeping willow trees are massive canopy trees that offer unrivaled privacy for your driveway. Since weeping willow trees grow to around forty feet tall (per the Brandeis University blog) and have massively-drooping branches, we advise giving them plenty of space! We also read an excellent guide published by the University of Washington Botanical Gardens about propagating weeping willow trees. Give the article a read if you want to try cultivating these majestic trees!

The weeping willow is a beautiful tree known for its long, cascading branches. Because of its pendulous habit, the weeping willow is an excellent choice for lining a driveway.

The branches will sweep down to the ground, creating a stunning effect. In addition, the weeping willow is a fast-growing tree, so it will quickly provide shade and privacy. Weeping willow leaves are also very peaceful. They will filter out sunlight and help keep your driveway cool in summer. 

11. Honey Locust

honey locust tree growing in october
Honey locust trees look beautiful along your driveway or homestead. They’re famous for growing surprisingly quickly – and we read from the Iowa State University blog that their growth can exceed two feet per year. They can also grow upwards of eighty feet tall. Give these spacious gems plenty of room to stretch.

A fast-growing tree, the honey locust, can reach 20 feet in just a few years. In addition to its rapid growth, the honey locust is known for its drought tolerance and ability to thrive in poor-quality soil. Furthermore, the honey locust produces small, thorned pods popular with wildlife, making it an excellent addition to any nature-friendly landscape.

12. Japanese Maple

japanese maple tree growing with colorful foliage
We saved the most beautiful tree for lining your driveway for last. The Japanese maple! Japanese maples look sleek along your driveway, garden, or yard. The University of New Hampshire Extension blog published an excellent Japanese maple care guide if you need tips for cultivating your own. Japanese maples have a reputation for being relatively easy to manage. But since Japanese maple trees are somewhat expensive, we recommend researching their fertilizer, pruning, and planting best practices before planting one.

One of the most popular landscaping trees, Japanese maples come in over 300 varieties. They range in color from green to burgundy and can be either deciduous or evergreen. Japanese maples do best in moist, well-drained soil and partial to full sun. They are slow-growing trees that mature between 15 and 25 feet tall with a similar spread. 

Honorable Mention Trees

We already shared a list of our favorite trees to line your driveway. But – we also researched a handful of backup trees that you might want to consider. However, these trees all have quirks that might make them less desirable than others. But – we want to share our research nevertheless!

Sound good?

Then let’s continue!

Plum Trees

plum tree branch with ripe fruit

Want a decorative driveway tree with lovely flowers and wheelbarrows of fruit? Then grow a plum tree! Plum trees are perfect if you want a medium-sized tree, as they usually only reach 10 to 15 feet tall.

We also recommend an article about Plum Production in Maine on the University of Maine Extension blog. We learned that plum trees usually produce fruit after three years. After they mature, expect roughly 50 to 80 pounds of plum fruit each year.

Pear Trees

delicious looking pears growing on tree

Pears are another perfect fruit tree for helping decorate your front yard, driveway, or homestead. They grow around 15 feet tall and produce loads of delicious healthy fruit for your homestead.

We read on the University of Maryland Extension blog that pear trees usually begin bearing fruit after four or five years. Their article also advises planting trees soon after the soil thaws in spring or during the early fall.

Amur Maple Trees

amur maple tree with lovely autumn colors

Want a colorful deciduous tree with breathtaking autumn shades? Then consider Amur maple trees. Since Amur maple trees have thick foliage and grow surprisingly wide, they make spectacular privacy hedges for your front yard or driveway.

The Clemson Extension blog (Home & Garden Info Center) published an excellent maple tree guide – including growing tips and a list of maple cultivars. It’s perfect if you’re considering a maple tree!

Zelkova Trees

zelkova tree growing in rural devon england uk

The zelkova tree is another beautiful tree for lining your driveway. Zelkova trees are native to Japan and China and have a reputation for growing surprisingly fast. We read on the Oregon University Department of Horticulture website that zelkova trees love deep, moist soil. They can also tolerate dry conditions once they establish themselves.

Ginkgo Trees

ginkgo biloba tree growing gracefully in autumn park

We want to conclude our list of best trees for lining a driveway with one of our little-known favorites. The ginkgo tree! These trees are arguably the rarest on our entire tree list. We even read in Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum that botanists thought the tree didn’t exist in the wild until Frank Meyer found them growing in China back in 1915. We’re glad these trees aren’t extinct! In the fall, the leaves turn a fantastic yellow that everyone should enjoy at least once.

What Tree Grows Fastest?

Our favorite fastest-growing trees include the weeping willow, silver maple, and honey locust. Either tree adds a romantic touch to your landscape. However, some trees you choose may require more care and attention than other varieties.

Fast-growing trees can also be more prone to disease and breakage. They may also require more pruning and maintenance than slower-growing varieties. As a result, it is vital to weigh all of the pros and cons before making a decision. 

Conclusion

When choosing trees to line your driveway, it’s vital to consider variables like size, growth habits, and sunlight requirements. But with so many great options, you should also pick a tree that you love looking at and nurturing. After all, you’ll be looking at it every day! (And hopefully, it’s a gift you can pass on for generations.)

Which tree on our list is your favorite?

(We love them all! Maybe we’ll add a fruit tree or two next?)

Thanks for reading.

And have a great day!

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