My question is; what trees can I possibly plant in the area between walls? I was unable to load a picture of the (walls)so I hope I can describe this. I have 2 walls in my backyard (the issues), a 4ft block retaining wall and a 6ft block privacy wall.

The retaining wall is 10ft in front of the privacy wall. The privacy wall is on a hill about 12ft from the ground with a (?) grade which the retaining wall is holding. We live in a high desert area, so shade is needed.

The length of both walls is 60ft. They run parallel to each other East/West.

  • It looks to me as if you live in some sort of medieval castle, no?
    – VividD
    Dec 14, 2017 at 22:59
  • Assuming you're in the States, which USDA zone do you occupy? And does the area face north, or south - you've said the walls run east/west, but which way the area faces could be either north or south...?
    – Bamboo
    Dec 14, 2017 at 23:02
  • Some clue about how steep the slope is between the lower retaining wall and the higher wall 10 feet away is essential too...what's growing there currently?
    – Bamboo
    Dec 14, 2017 at 23:18
  • Zone 8b. House faces north and nothing at the moment we just moved in so it a dirt patch.
    – Karen
    Dec 15, 2017 at 23:33
  • I wish is lived in a castle. The house behind us is just higher up the hill side.
    – Karen
    Dec 15, 2017 at 23:34

2 Answers 2


I'd advise against planting any kind of tree in between the walls, especially in such a small area (yes, 10 ft in such context is actually small). The reason for this is that most of the trees have this immense power to push all kinds of objects (including asphalt, concrete and walls!) gradually upwards with their roots causing such objects to crack, break and/or deform. Perhaps conifers are exceptions to this rule (they have quite a weak root system), but they aren't really suitable for an arid climate (especially in USDA zone 8b). Perhaps pistachio trees are a suitable candidate, but they grow slow and it'd take a long time (quite a few years) to produce any appreciable shade. Instead you could try some ornamental grasses perhaps that can grow fairly tall (10ft, perhaps slightly more even), climbing vines (e.g. kiwi) or bushy plants (e.g. pomegranate "trees") that'd also provide ample shading.


I live in an arid climate so i can provide you with a few suggestions based on what I've seen do well in my region. Firstly, check your soil. Usually or atleast where im at, all the junk that's left by the time they're done with road surfaces, walls or houses is buried, or part of it, near by. Stuff like bricks, concrete pieces, rocks etc. If your soil is riddled with garbage then clear it if you wish for your trees to grow their best. Secondly, 10 ft of space is a lot. More then enough to work with. There are trees in my neighborhood planted next to houses with a 3 ft space between the outside walls and pavement with no visible signs of damage to the surrounding structures. Pines, conifers, ash, china berries are widespread in similar circumstances. Cypress would work well but 60ft of length would mean planting a lot of them which would make watering problematic. Fruit trees are another option. Whatever you choose, look for something that would grow 20+ ft with a similar width since your looking for shade while at the same time being conservative of the amount of water you'll need through out the growing period. With 60ft length, 3 large trees would do the trick. My pick=fig tree.

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