Top Native Trees & shrubs for your landscape

Table of contents:


Top Native Trees

Top Native Shrubs

FAQ about trees & shrubs

Welcome to Project Landscape’s latest blog post, “Top Native Trees & Shrubs for Your Landscape,” where we delve into the beauty and benefits of incorporating native greenery into your Calgary landscape. Nestled in the heart of Calgary, Project Landscape is committed to enhancing the natural charm of your outdoor spaces with the best of local flora.
In this blog, we’ll explore a curated selection of trees and shrubs that not only thrive in Calgary’s unique climate but also add an unmistakable touch of local splendor to your garden. Embracing native plant species in landscaping is more than just a trend; it’s a sustainable practice that promotes biodiversity, supports local ecosystems, and ensures your garden is a vibrant and resilient oasis.
From the majestic beauty of aspen trees to the hardy resilience of native shrubs like the Saskatoon berry, each plant we discuss is a testament to the natural heritage of Calgary. These native species are perfectly adapted to our local weather patterns and soil conditions, meaning they require less maintenance, water, and care than non-native varieties.
Join us as we take you through a journey of discovering the top native trees and shrubs that can transform your landscape into a thriving, eco-friendly, and visually stunning space. Let’s celebrate the natural beauty of Calgary together with Project Landscape!
Top Native Trees:
Amur Maple Tree:
The Amur Maple, a small and resilient deciduous tree, is a popular choice for landscapes due to its adaptability and ornamental appeal. Native to northeastern Asia, it thrives in a range of soil types and environmental conditions, making it a versatile option for gardeners. In spring, it boasts lovely fragrant flowers, followed by winged samaras, adding unique texture to the garden. Its most striking feature is the vibrant autumn foliage, displaying a spectacular array of reds and oranges. Compact in size, the Amur Maple is ideal for smaller gardens or as an accent in larger landscapes.
Colorado Blue Spruce:
The Colorado Blue Spruce, with its majestic stature and striking blue-green needles, is a favorite among evergreen conifers. Native to the Rocky Mountains, this tree is renowned for its beautiful pyramidal shape and dense foliage, making it an excellent choice for a focal point in landscapes. It’s particularly loved for its resilience to cold climates and ability to thrive in various soil types. Perfect as a windbreak or for adding year-round color, the Colorado Blue Spruce is a classic addition to any garden.
Toba or Snowbird Hawthorn:
The Toba Hawthorn, also known as the Snowbird Hawthorn, is a captivating ornamental tree celebrated for its stunning floral display and compact growth habit. In late spring, it bursts into a breathtaking show of double white flowers that gradually turn to a delicate pink, exuding a subtle fragrance that enhances its charm. This small, deciduous tree, reaching about 15-20 feet at maturity, is ideal for urban gardens and smaller spaces. Its foliage transforms into a rich, golden hue in autumn, adding seasonal interest. The Toba Hawthorn’s disease-resistant nature and hardiness in various soil types make it a low-maintenance choice for both novice and experienced gardeners, adding elegance and beauty to diverse landscapes.
Ivory Silk Lilac:
The Ivory Silk Lilac tree, a smaller yet stunning ornamental tree, is renowned for its showy late spring and early summer blooms. It features large, creamy-white flower clusters that exude a sweet, captivating fragrance, attracting both admirers and pollinators like butterflies. This deciduous tree, growing to about 20-25 feet, is well-suited for smaller gardens or as a striking accent in larger landscapes. Its compact, rounded shape and attractive dark green foliage, which turns a lovely yellow in the fall, make it an excellent choice for adding visual interest and a touch of elegance to any outdoor space.
Columnar Spruce:
The Columnar Spruce is a magnificent evergreen that stands out for its unique, narrow upright form, making it a perfect choice for landscapes with limited space. Reaching heights of up to 30 feet while maintaining a slender profile, this spruce variety is ideal for creating vertical accents in gardens or as a natural privacy screen. Its dense, blue-green needles and uniform columnar shape provide year-round visual interest and texture. Hardy and low-maintenance, the Columnar Spruce is well-adapted to a variety of climates, thriving in both cold and temperate regions.
Swedish Columnar Aspen:
The Swedish Columnar Aspen, a sleek and elegant tree, is celebrated for its narrow, upright growth habit, making it a perfect fit for landscapes where space is at a premium. This fast-growing deciduous tree reaches impressive heights while maintaining a slender profile, creating striking vertical interest. Its leaves, a vibrant green turning to golden yellow in the fall, flutter beautifully in the breeze, adding movement and a soothing sound to your garden. The tree’s ability to thrive in various soil types and its tolerance for cold climates make it a popular choice in urban and suburban settings, providing a graceful, low-maintenance screen or accent.  
Top Native Shrubs:
Globe Blue Spruce:
The Globe Blue Spruce shrub is a captivating dwarf evergreen, treasured for its distinct spherical shape and striking blue-silver needles. A compact variant of the classic Blue Spruce, it’s perfect for small gardens or as a standout feature in larger landscapes. This slow-growing shrub typically reaches 3 to 5 feet in height and width, making it an excellent choice for accentuating rock gardens, borders, or foundation plantings. Its unique color and form offer year-round interest, requiring minimal care and thriving in a range of soil types and climates, adding a touch of elegance to any outdoor setting.
The Potentilla shrub, a hardy and versatile perennial, is a popular choice for gardeners seeking a long-lasting floral display. Known for its profusion of delicate, five-petaled flowers that bloom from late spring to frost, it comes in shades of white, yellow, pink, and orange. This low-maintenance shrub reaches about 1 to 3 feet in height and thrives in full sun, adapting well to various soil types. Its drought tolerance and disease resistance make it an excellent addition to any landscape.
Calgary Carpet Juniper:
The Calgary Carpet Juniper is an exceptional ground-cover conifer, prized for its dense, low-growing habit and vibrant green foliage. This evergreen shrub, native to the Calgary area, forms a lush carpet-like mat, spreading up to 6-8 feet wide while staying only about 12 inches tall. Its fine-textured, soft needles create a plush appearance, making it an excellent choice for covering large areas, controlling soil erosion, or adding a verdant touch to rock gardens. Hardy and adaptable, it thrives in a variety of soil conditions and withstands Calgary’s harsh winters, offering a maintenance-free and visually appealing solution for year-round greenery.
The Ninebark shrub, a robust and versatile deciduous plant, is renowned for its multi-seasonal appeal and ease of care. Named for its unique, peeling bark that reveals multiple layers, it adds textural interest, especially in winter. In spring and summer, it flourishes with clusters of white or pink flowers, complemented by foliage that varies in color from deep purple to bright green, depending on the variety. This hardy shrub adapts well to a range of conditions and is ideal for naturalizing, mass plantings, or as a standalone specimen, bringing enduring beauty to any landscape.
Top Grafted Globe Spruce:
The Top Grafted Globe Blue Spruce is a unique and eye-catching ornamental tree, combining the classic appeal of the Blue Spruce with a distinctive form. Grafted onto a standard, this tree features a perfectly round, globe-shaped crown atop a straight trunk, creating a lollipop-like appearance. Its striking blue needles maintain their vibrant hue throughout the year, offering a constant splash of color in the landscape. Compact and versatile, it’s ideal for small gardens or as a focal point in larger landscapes, adding a touch of elegance and whimsy to any setting.

FAQ on Tree and Shrub Planting

Q1: When is the best time to plant trees and shrubs?

  • A: The ideal time to plant trees and shrubs is during their dormant season, typically in early spring before bud break or in the fall after leaf drop. This timing allows the plants to establish roots in their new location before the stress of summer heat or winter cold.

Q2: How do I choose the right location for planting a tree or shrub?

  • A: Consider the plant’s sunlight, soil, and water requirements, as well as its mature size. Ensure there’s enough space for the tree or shrub to grow without interference from buildings, power lines, or other plants.

Q3: How deep and wide should the planting hole be?

  • A: The hole should be as deep as the root ball but two to three times wider. This gives the roots room to spread out and establish themselves.

Q4: Should I amend the soil when planting?

  • A: It’s generally best to plant trees and shrubs in native soil without amendments. Over-amending can cause roots to circle inside the planting hole and not spread into the surrounding soil.

Q5: How much should I water a newly planted tree or shrub?

  • A: Water thoroughly at planting time and then regularly, allowing the soil to dry slightly between waterings. The amount and frequency depend on the plant type and local climate conditions.

Q6: Do I need to mulch around newly planted trees and shrubs?

  • A: Yes, mulching helps retain soil moisture, regulate temperature, and reduce weed competition. Apply a 2-3 inch layer of mulch around the base, but avoid piling it against the trunk or stems.

Q7: When should I start fertilizing newly planted trees and shrubs?

  • A: It’s usually recommended to wait until the second growing season to start fertilizing, allowing the plant to focus on root establishment initially.

Q8: How can I protect new plantings from pests and diseases?

  • A: Choose disease-resistant varieties and maintain proper plant care. Regularly inspect for signs of pests or diseases and consult with a local gardening expert for treatment options.


As we conclude our journey through the diverse and enriching world of trees and shrubs, it’s evident that these natural wonders are more than just plants; they are essential elements that breathe life, beauty, and balance into our landscapes. At Project Landscape in Calgary, we are passionate about transforming outdoor spaces into vibrant ecosystems where trees and shrubs play a pivotal role.

Whether you’re looking to create a serene backyard retreat, enhance your property’s curb appeal, or contribute to a greener planet, the right selection of trees and shrubs can make all the difference. Each species, with its unique characteristics and needs, weaves a distinct story into the tapestry of your garden. From the majestic heights of the Swedish Columnar Aspen to the subtle elegance of the Ivory Silk Lilac, every tree and shrub holds the potential to turn your landscape into a living masterpiece.

In Calgary, where the climate and soil present their own set of challenges, the knowledge and expertise of Project Landscape come into play. We understand the local environment intimately and can guide you in choosing the most suitable varieties that will thrive in your specific setting.

As we wrap up, remember that the journey of creating a beautiful landscape is ongoing and ever-evolving. Trees and shrubs will grow and change, and so will your connection with your outdoor space. At Project Landscape, we are here to accompany you every step of the way, ensuring that your garden continues to flourish and inspire.

Thank you for joining us on this exploration of trees and shrubs. May your gardens bloom with health and happiness!

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