Well, this is a question that many people ask themselves when they are designing or redoing their landscape. Although I am a bit bias, I believe that I can show you why Landscaping with Large Trees has a much greater value and can actually become more cost effective than landscaping with small trees.
When you talk to most any landscaper they will tell you that, if you are going to use smaller plantings in your landscape design, to space the trees, plants, and shrubs so they will look good 5 to 10 years down the road.
This is important, especially for trees, because if the trees are planted to close together when small, when they grow larger they can make your yard look extremely cluttered and overgrown. If your plants become overgrown in time, they can easily be removed and transplanted somewhere else. Trees on the other hand cannot be so easily relocated.
The problem is, if you are planting for 5 to 10 years down the road, you need to ask yourself is why you are doing any landscaping in the first place. Some common answers might be: to add beauty and interest to my yard, to have a place where I can go to relax and find peace, to increase my property value, to provide privacy and shade, to provide a wind break or block excessive noise.
These answers probably cover about 95% of the reasons why people decide to landscape their yards. The dilemma is that to truly accomplish what it is that you want your landscaping design to accomplish; you are going to have to wait 5-10 years – generally people only live in their house for 5-10 years.
Then it comes down to why you did the landscaping in the first place. Why would you pay for landscaping for the next owners to enjoy, when you could pay a little more to have a landscaped yard that you can admire from the day it is completed and not have to wait until you are going to move out before you can truly appreciate the full potential of what you where trying to accomplish.
The other issue is proportionally, planting a small tree in an area that is designed for a large tree will make your landscape look out of proportion until the tree matures. When you do interior decorating you do not put one very small picture on a large open wall because it would look out of place, the same holds true outside. Why would you plant a small tree in an area that demands a large tree to make it appear proportional to the surrounding area?
If your goal is privacy or to block wind or noise consider that a 10 foot tall spruce tree will be about 3.5X wider than a 3 foot tall tree. Also by blocking wind or shading the house will cut down on heating and cooling utility expenses. By planting small trees you are missing out on any utility cost savings.
According to the American Public Power Association, Landscaping can reduce air conditioning costs by up to 50 percent, by shading the windows and walls of a home. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was quoted as saying Trees can reduce bothersome noise by up to 50 percent and can mask unwanted noises with pleasant sounds. Also American Forests did a study and found that Trees can reduce temperatures by as much as nine degrees Fahrenheit.
If your goal is to add value to your home consider that A mature tree can often have an appraised value of between $1,000 and $10,000, while it was found that small trees did not have any effect on the selling price of the home.