Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum)
Varieties range from red-stemmed with dark burgundy foliage to traditional light green with intricate, delicate small leaves. They are compact in shape and growth and produce a beautiful, dappled shade. They need regular watering and protection from burning winds.
Crab Apple (Malus - various hybrids)
Textured bark and stunning white, pink or deep red blossom in spring. It provides an arching spread, is easily pruned to any shape, and can be espaliered against a wall. It produces small red fruits in summer which are perfect for making jams.
Crepe Myrtle (Lagerstroemia)
Another example of a superb, tough small tree with rough bark which strips to a silvery smooth, dappled trunk as it matures. In early summer it produces papery flowers in a range of mauve, white, pink, orange and crimson. Fabulous autumn colours and great structure when bare in winter.
Forest Pansy (Cercis canadensis)
Narrow, vase-shaped tree with heart-shaped lleaves. Deep mauve flowers emerge directly from the trunk and branches in spring/summer. Needs to be watered deeply.
Once established, all of these trees are long-lived, compact and relatively pest-free. Ask the experts at your local garden centre and they will help you select the best trees to suit your space.