Japanese maples make lovely ornamentals, especially in small yards. They grow to between 15 and 20 feet tall and wide, and thrive in full or partial sun, and well-drained soil.
As shown here, the 'Osakazuki' Japanese maple's large leaves are flocked by dainty, red inedible fruits in summer. The 'Osakazuki' makes a good container tree but special care must be taken to protect it from drying out, or being exposed to cold winds.
For color year-round, the 'Sango-kaku' Japanese maple is a perfect choice. In winter, new shoots start out coral-pink, then deepen to orange, green and yellow, before finally dropping in fall.
For a grander look, pick the 'Bloodgood' Japanese maple, which sports dark reddish-purple leaves and small purple flowers.