I live in a unit which has a small fenced back yard which I am presently trying to landscape with low maintenance shrubs. I would love to add a couple of small trees. The width is 20M, but there is a garden shed and fold-down clothesline on the north-facing fence which only leaves 4M length in that corner. The other corner has a stormwater manhole. A deck surrounded by a raised bed leaves 6M length on that side. I am thinking Choisya Ternata in the corners with Star Jasmine along the fenceline, but am stumped when it comes to the trees! Neighbours’ windows are close to the back fence on the clothesline corner. The other corner has small trees behind against neighbours’ fencelines.. I was thinking perhaps a Port Wine Magnolia in that corner, but would like your thoughts on this too. The clothesline side is the problem, as I don’t want to block the sun or anger the neighbours. The obvious choice is a very small deciduous, perhaps 4-5M height X 3M width, but I can’t think what would be best. I can send a photo if that would help?

Thank you,


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Hi Anne

Thanks for your question. By the sounds of it your location must be frost free and if it is then planting a China Doll tree would look lovely with your other choices. Radermachera sinica (China Doll) has white trumpet flowers and is very narrow in growth with a mop top growth habit. Sideways shoots can be pruned off young trees to create a single trunked specimen. The deciduous Silk tree is another very pretty tree which will grow to your required dimensions as well as will look lovely with your chosen plantings.

Happy gardening

Maria – Palmers national garden consultant

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