Beautiful fall leaves right in your own yard

Choose the trees that will produce the most fall color in your yard.

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If you want to have a good-looking home landscape, one of your long-term goals should be to have something that looks attractive in the yard every month of the year.

No, that doesn't mean flowers in bloom  -- unless you live in a very mild climate. But it is possible to have something that draws the eye, that causes everyone to look closer at some aspect in your landscape from January through December.

In fall, what draws the most attention is colorful foliage, of course. How do the trees in your yard measure up, using Vermont as the top of the scale? When you pull into your driveway, do you see a riot of colorful reds, oranges, and yellows?

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If not, it's probably because someone else planted the trees or because they were bought in spring when fall color was the furthest thing from your mind.

But trees that call attention to themselves every October are an easy way to  give your yard more visual oomph. Plant them once, and every year afterward they shine.

Oh, yes, there's one more thing: You've got to choose the right trees first. Some trees almost always produce beautifully colored fall foliage, while others have leaves that just turn brown and fall off.

Here's a good list of trees to add to your yard to give it outstanding fall color. And here's another.

My favorites include dogwood, sassafras, sweet gum, and -- No. 1 -- sourwood (Oxydendrum arboreum). Sourwood is a native tree that offers something special in three seasons (flowers and seedpods in addition to colorful leaves).

It does have two drawbacks -- it doesn't live in Zones 5 and colder, and it's difficult to transplant.  (Buy only container-grown plants.) But it's small and beautiful.

I like Ginkgo biloba very much, too, due to its clear yellow fall leaves and its interesting habit of dropping all of them at almost the same time. Makes raking so easy!

One of my favorite activities in autumn is enjoying the gorgeous fall leaves. And I've discovered that it's even nicer when I needn't drive anywhere but can just gaze out through a window.

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