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The Ultimate Buyers Guide_ Outdoor Artificial Trees

While buying artificial trees, you have two options before you.

Option #1: Scrolling through endless artificial tree Pinterest vision boards and complicated catalogs, hoping to eventually find the perfect trees. Sounds like a nightmare, if you ask us. 

But you know what’s worse? Option #2.

Option #2: Skimping out on the legwork and ordering the first few trees you find online… Only to have them look obviously fake and then fade out in a couple of months.

But worry not. 

Finding and buying outdoor artificial trees doesn’t have to be as hard or painful as either of the options. We present to you, option #3.

Option #3: Follow our strategic outdoor artificial tree guide for a simple and efficient selection and buying process. 

Here’s what the ultimate guide covers:

  • How to select the right outdoor artificial tree for me?
  • Are there different styles of artificial trees?
  • What size tree do I need?
  • What artificial tree to use where?
  • How to identify the best quality outdoor artificial trees? How to find the ideal brand?

Let’s get you started then.

1. How to select the right outdoor artificial tree.

Before we tell you how to find the right tree, let’s cover what you should never do. 

Pick a tree based on what your competitor has or what looks good in a catalog. The same tree can look very different in two different spaces and two different design aesthetics. (Plus you risk looking generic, or worse like a wanna-be.)

UV protected outdoor artificial Bay Leaf Tree

Now down to what you should be doing. 

Selecting the right outdoor artificial tree may not be rocket science. But it does require serious thought and a solid process. 

Think A-S-P.

Ambiance, scale, and purpose. (More details on how each of them works, coming up.)

These three factors are unique to every space, so filter trees based on these factors to arrive at the perfect-fit outdoor trees for your needs. 

2. Ambiance: Are There Different Styles of Artificial Trees?

Faux outdoor trees might not rely on the weather or soil conditions, but that doesn’t mean they exist in isolation. Each tree brings with it its own visual style and personality.

First, establish the ambiance of the space in which you plan on adding artificial trees.

outdoor maple tree

Then select a tree that complements or adds to that ambiance. 

For example, a bushy, spiky cell tower pine tree placed in a minimalistic rooftop deck would stand out like a sore thumb. A clean-edged faux outdoor topiary, on the other hand, would complement the space and fit right in.

So think about the bigger picture aesthetic, and shortlist trees based on that. 

Here are a few ideas to get you started… 

  • For the classic English aesthetic: Think fragrant rose bushes and topiaries arranged in symmetric patterns.
  • For Mediterranean spaces: Think stately Italian cypresses and olive trees, organically places around brightly colored bougainvillea’s.
  • For a tropical or semi-tropical effect: Think lush foliage and exotic flowers, with ferns, plan trees, or even banyan trees.
  • For a zen landscape: Think a balanced composition of smooth rocks, moss, small bonsai trees, graceful bamboo, and water bodies.

3. Scale: What Size Tree do I Need?

Let’s get this truth out there first, size matters. 

But it’s not all that matters when it comes to your artificial outdoor trees.

The outdoors might not have a height ceiling, but that doesn’t mean a towering evergreen can be placed in a 20’x40′ court.

outdoor artificial bay leaf tree

The proportion of the tree with respect to the space, the height of the tree, the tree span, and even its foliage density all matter. 

So before choosing a tree, measure the deck, entry garden, courtyard, or plaza. 

Consider the volume that the tree would occupy physically and visually. 

Also, consider the artificial plants or other objects that will be surrounding the tree. The right size tree will be one that catches the eye, while still allowing visual breathing room for the objects and people around it.

Pro tip: Also consider the extra space and visual weight that a planter or pot will add to the tree if you choose to use one. 

4. Purpose: What Artificial Tree To Use Where?

Finally, we come to the question of the purpose of the tree. 

Yes, outdoor trees make your space look “nice”. 

But you can also use them to divide, accent, cover, and highlight certain aspects of a space. 

And certain types of trees work better for certain functions. 

For example: 

  • For partitions or dividing: Artificial outdoor bushes, outdoor topiaries, boxwood hedges, cedar privacy screens, etc.
  • For avenues: Coconut palm trees, bamboo trees, Aspen trees, etc.
  • As centerpieces or focal points: Acacia trees, Azalea trees, Olive trees, Bayleaf umbrella trees, etc.
  • For purely aesthetic purposes: outdoor topiary balls, topiary letters, bonsai, or other more ornate trees.

Use this to narrow it down to specific trees that work best for each part of your space(s). 

Crossing faux tree selection off your checklist feels like a monumental task done. But, now comes the next big mountain to climb, finding the right brand or manufacturer.

5. How to Identify the Best Quality Outdoor Artificial Trees? 

When it comes to faux plants, and more specifically faux outdoor plants, one can never be too careful. 

First, we have the quality of the plant itself. 

A badly crafted outdoor artificial tree will instantly ruin your carefully curated aesthetic. 

So look for brands that put in the effort to make their trees look as realistic as possible. 

Look for features like:

  • Asymmetrical build: No real tree would ever be symmetric or have identical leaves or branching patterns.
  • Realistic texture: Every tree has a unique texture, and the best faux trees mimic this down to the grain of the branches and pattern on the leaves.
  • True color: Avoid trees that are made to look extra vivid, have an unreal sheen, or a solid color all through.

But we can’t stop here. Your outdoor artificial trees need to not just look good, but also be worth the investment.

Artificial plants might be made of plastic or other synthetic materials. But not all plastics will look fresh and springy, even after years out in the harsh sun, rain, and snow.

For long-lasting trees, look for manufacturers that have an exclusive UV-resistant or fade-resistant range of outdoor trees. 

Obviously, there will be those making false claims. 

To set apart the best from the rest (without studying their entire chemical makeup) look for manufacturers who:

  • Inject UV protectants into the raw materials of the products during manufacturing itself (spray-on UV-protectant coats wear off in the blink of an eye)
  • Are able to offer some level of proof (through real-life testing) for their fade-resistant line of products.

Pro tip: With high-impact products like outdoor artificial trees, it’s better to invest in the higher quality products that will last you years to come.

You will definitely find cheaper brands if you do away with some of these selection filters. But, be aware that this comes at the cost of lower product quality. Think plasticky trees, faded leaves in two months, cracked branches, and more nightmare-inducing realities.