Living in North America, there is one thing we can almost certainly count on during the fall season—beautiful foliage. Though you might want to take a drive to experience the sights, there’s also plenty of opportunity to experience the colors right in your backyard.
You shouldn’t have to drive very far to experience gorgeous fall foliage (which peaks early September through early October). There also are likely native species of shrubs and trees already in your yard that will experience change, but if not, try planting one of these varieties.
Best tree to plant: Maple
Japanese and sugar maples produce some of the most incredible red and orange leaves around, though some types can be invasive, so these are best for a large lawn.
More options: Witch Hazel, Smokebush, Gingko
Though portions of the south remain fairly warm through the fall, peak season at the end of October sprouts plenty of beautiful colors to observe.
Best tree to plant: Lowbush Blueberry
Yielding delicious fruit in the summer and blossoms in the spring, this bush fairs well in a southern climate and is a beautiful addition to any yard through all seasons.
More options: Hydrangea, Dogwood, Pomegranate
Similar to the Northeast, winters can be brutally cold and summers, brutally hot. Peak foliage times will vary year to year, but October is often the best month to catch the brightest colors.
Best tree to plant: Cranberry Bush
You (and the birds) will love this bright red, medium-sized bush. Sprouting bright red and orange leaves, as well as cranberry red berries in the fall and winter seasons, it’s a relatively low-maintenance option that produces wonderful results.
More options: Burning Bush, Sumac, Fringe tree
Extensive amounts of rain leading into the cooler rainy season makes early fall the best time to plant in the Northwest. Choosing a species native to the area is also key for prime foliage.
Best tree to plant: Vine Maple
This tree (native to the Pacific coast) fairs well in wet climates, and with leaves that spark vibrant red and orange through most of the fall, is a great way to add a little color without a huge commitment or extensive care.
More options: Katsura, Persian Ironwood, Paperbark Maple
Unlike the Northwest, Southwest gardeners need to pay careful consideration to plants that fare well in arid climates. Though foliage is harder to come by, it’s not impossible to achieve.
Best tree to plant: Ash Tree
Most varieties do well with very minimal water, but the Raywood ash, which produces a deep red colored leaf, as well as the Modesto, which produces gold leaves, are among the best types.
More options: Chinese Pistache, Sumac, Mexican Buckeye