A patio is a great place for enjoying the outdoors in your Chicagoland backyard.

Whether you want a place to enjoy summer dinners al fresco, a regular relaxation nook, an outdoor office, or maybe a spot for your family to play games, patios can give you what you need … and then some. 

But a patio without plants might be a bit bland. This is your landscape after all. You want to get outside to enjoy nature and find peace, privacy, and tranquility. 

Choosing trees to plant near a patio can be tricky though. You don’t want to pick something that doesn't work for your needs. 

Let’s talk about choosing trees for landscaping near patios so you can get some great color, texture, and shade, making your patio more enjoyable.

10 Trees to Plant Near a Patio 

When you’re looking for trees to plant near a patio, you want certain qualities more than others. 

You want trees that aren’t too dense or messy, dropping fruit all over your patio. You don’t want trees with invasive roots that will break up your patio. 

This means usually ornamental varieties that offer some privacy and a little shade are great choices. 

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Here are some of our favorites. They provide seasonal interest and have small enough root structures so they don’t interfere with your patio subgrade.

1. Dogwood

This popular small- to medium-sized ornamental tree provides stunning flowers that bloom early in the spring. Blooms are typically red, pink, or white. 

dogwood flower

Then, in the fall, green leaves change to brilliant purples and reds. The tree reaches 15 to 30 feet in height.

2. Serviceberry

Serviceberries make nice trees around your patio because, depending on your variety, you’ll get spring blooms in pink or yellow that fade to white, as well as reddish-orange fall color. 

Serviceberry tree leaves

In June, serviceberries have red fruits that ripen to blue, providing great fruit for birds. The tree’s smooth, gray bark is also attractive. 

This tree can handle full to partial sun and is tolerant of most soils except for those that get too wet.

3. Magnolia

Magnolia is one of the more popular trees to plant around a patio because of its delightful flowers. The simple, large, showy blooms are usually white or pink, but they also come in yellow, purple, and wine or orange-red. They are star or bowl-shaped.

magnolia tree flower

Magnolias also bring fragrance with their flowers in spring. Magnolia shrubs can get 8 to 15 feet in height and small trees can grow to 25 feet tall. Some other species will grow taller.

4. Horse Chestnut

Another eye-catching shade tree near a patio is the horse chestnut.  

Its thick, scaly bark makes a statement, as does its handsome, spreading branches and large clusters of ivory flowers. 

horse chestnut tree with flower

This one grows larger so it needs some room, but can add great shade to your patio if planted correctly by your landscape professional.

5. Japanese Maple

Japanese maples are great trees around patios because they love some protection from winds, so your patio is a nice insulator. 

Japanese Maple Leaves

They offer pointed deep red leaves with yellow-ish bronze fall color, depending on the species. Some can be quite small ornamental trees, while others grow a bit taller. Some have weeping branches that offer some drama. 

These trees prefer moist, well-drained soil.

6. Lilac

For stunning spring flowers and fragrance, a lilac tree adds a sensory experience to your Chicagoland patio. 

Lilac bush around patio

This tree to plant near a patio loves full sun and is quite drought tolerant. Dwarf varieties add just a touch of pink or lavender blooms, while larger varieties or shrub varieties add more privacy and shade. All of them provide that amazing floral scent.

7. Hydrangea

Hydrangeas come in shrub form, as well as dwarf tree varieties. All offer those big bunches of blooms that can last through the summer and are stunning to look at. 

Hydrangea near patio

Hydrangea flowers range from white to pink to blue or purple, based on the variety and your soil alkalinity. You can find a species of hydrangea to suit your patio preferences since there are quite a few that perform well in Chicagoland.

8. Columnar Hornbeam

This rigid, shapely specimen can grow 35 feet tall with a 15-foot spread, and it makes a great allee or tall hedge tree. It’s a perfect tree around your patio, bringing privacy with its dense branches and formal structure. 

Columnar Hornbeam

This tree’s leaves turn yellow in the fall and its smooth, gray bark brings an interesting dimension. Relatively low maintenance, this tree likes full sun to partial shade best.

9. Armstrong Maple

This distinctive maple has a narrow, upright growth habit and brings stunning orange autumn color – a great tree around your patio that offers year-long interest. 

Armstrong Maple

Its rigid columnar form is unique and offers showy clusters of red flowers in early spring before the leaves emerge. It’s a great accent tree and can offer a high canopy height to support patio traffic underneath.

10. Regal Prince Oak

This tall, stately tree has a narrow oval growth habit and is great for tight spaces. 

Regal Prince Oak

Tough and adaptable, this tree also doesn’t need lots of fuss. Whether you want some privacy or vertical interest, this tree around your patio enjoys full sun.

Need Help Choosing Trees for Landscaping Near Your Patio in Chicagoland?

You want to feel relaxed and comfortable in your Chicagoland patio space, and we don’t blame you. A patio is for stress-free enjoyment. 

Planting the right trees around your patio can really amplify this experience and make your patio more inviting, cozy, and memorable. 

But since there are so many trees out there, it can be really tough to choose the best ones. It’s hard to know which species are proven to offer the right type of growth, privacy, and positive attributes near your patio. 

If you’re having trouble deciding, give KD Landscape a call. We can talk to you about your goals – whether it’s privacy, color, fragrance, or all of the above – and suggest the right trees for your space. Then you can just sit back and enjoy the view. 

Ready to see how KD Landscape can transform your Greater Chicago landscape into something you can really use? We’d love to share our tips for choosing trees around your patio. Get started today with a free consultation. Together, we can help you pick trees that best fit your needs.

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Image Source: Dogwood, Serviceberry, Magnolia, Horse Chestnut, Japanese Maple, Lilac, Hydrangea, Columnar Hornbeam, Armstrong Maple, Regal Prince Oak