While we all love a garden bursting with colorful flowers and plants, no landscape design is truly complete without trees. Incorporating native trees into your landscape is an ideal way to add beautiful shades of green, a touch of diversity, and even strength to your yard. By securing the soil with their long roots, trees actually work to prevent erosion in your yard. And on top of that, they can serve as an important home for local critters. Adding native trees to your landscape is an ideal way to work toward a sustainable and beautiful outdoor space. 

But what trees should you be using if you live in Colorado? While our state may not feature the luscious forests found throughout the Southeast, for example, there are many beautiful native pine trees and deciduous trees that can elevate your landscape. Here, we’re taking a closer look at Colorado Blue Spruce and other native trees for your landscape design. 

Which Native Trees Should I Use for My Colorado Landscape?

Curious about which native trees to use in your own Colorado landscape design? Well, we’ve gone through and assembled a list of some of the most beautiful and popular native trees found throughout the Centennial State. Just take a look to see how you can take your outdoor space to the next level.

  1. Colorado Blue Spruce.

Makes sense to begin with our official state tree, right? The Colorado Blue Spruce is one of the most popular trees in the state and is emblematic of Colorado’s natural beauty and outdoor spaces. The beautiful pine needles give off a blueish hue that is easily recognizable, and boy, can they get big. Colorado Blue Spruce can grow to a height of 115 feet tall and are most commonly found between elevations of 6,700 to 11,500 feet in the foothills and mountains. If you’re looking for classic Colorado for your landscape, considering adding in some Blue Spruce.

Ponderosa Pine Tree for landscaping

  1. Ponderosa Pine.

Another noteworthy pine tree, ponderosa pines are another popular landscaping choice. Recognizable with their reddish bark and thick trunks, ponderosa pine can grow up to 160 feet. In their native landscapes, ponderosa are commonly found between 6,300 and 9,500 feet in elevation. As some of the larger pine trees found in the state, it’s important to give these trees ample room in your yard.    

  1. Quaking Aspen.

Every fall in Colorado, the mountains literally burst into colors of gold and orange. This beautiful sight is due mostly to the quaking aspen trees that are commonly found throughout the American West. While the beautiful changing leaves in autumn get most of the attention, aspen are also loved for their unique black and white bark, which can make them perfect for adding for a winter landscape. As a deciduous tree, they can also add diversity to your little forested landscape.  

  1. Bristlecone Pine.

For a truly unique native tree, try incorporating the bristlecone pine into your outdoor space. These hardy pine trees can survive and thrive at high elevations and they’re recognizable for their twisted trunks that make this tree look like its been constantly outlasting the elements. Found mostly in Montane and subalpine zones, bristlecone pine can do well in most conditions. In fact, they’re also thought to be some of the longest living organisms in the entire planet. Talk about resilience.

  1. Gambel Oak.

Oak trees covers a wide range of the United States—and Colorado is no different. The native Gambel oak can be found blanketing wide open spaces throughout most of the state. Officially an oak tree, the Gambel oak often looks more like a shrub as it won’t grow too tall and spreads horizontally. Also known as “scrub oak,” this tree is especially common in plains and on the sides of foothills and offers a beautiful mix of colors every autumn. Gambel oak can be perfect for diversifying your landscape design with a low-growing oak.

Rocky Mountain Juniper landscaping

  1. Rocky Mountain Juniper.

Often found growing alongside thickets of Gambel oak, the Rocky Mountain Juniper is another popular native Colorado tree. This coniferous tree is known for its scale-like evergreen needles that truly make it stand out from other coniferous trees, like pines and spruces. The Rocky Mountain Juniper can be found mostly in the southern regions of the state and grows up to 50 feet in height. They also feature clusters of distinctive small blue berries that can add a unique touch of color to your landscape.

  1. Plains and Narrowleaf Cottonwoods.

Some of the most majestic trees in the state, cottonwoods can be commonly found growing along creeks and other water sources. There are two subspecies of cottonwood found in Colorado and their elevation makes the major difference with where they can thrive. Plains cottonwoods grow between 3,500 and 6,500 feet throughout the plains, foothills, and lowlands. Narrowleaf cottonwoods, on the other hand, can be found higher up at elevations reaching 8,000 feet. While narrowleaf cottonwood only grow to a maximum of roughly 60 feet, plains cottonwoods can be much taller, reaching heights of 190 feet. A few large cottonwoods can be the perfect complement to smaller trees or shrubs that are used in your landscape design and they’re resilient native trees.

  1. Douglas Fir.

One of the more common pines in the state, the Douglas Fir has medium to dark green evergreen needles and can reach heights of over 100 feet. Found naturally throughout the foothills and Montane zones, Douglas Firs can be found in a wide variety of Colorado landscapes as one of the most popular and resilient trees. 

Conclusion – Colorado Blue Spruce and 7 Other Native Trees for Your Landscape Design

As you can see, you have quite a few options when it comes to finding native trees for sprucing up your Colorado landscape design. From classic coniferous trees like Douglas Fir or ponderosa pine or the stunning fall colors of the quaking aspen, native trees can be the perfect way to help you create a unique and beautiful landscape design.