There is no single right answer when selecting a small flowering tree. There are a huge number of diminutive strains perfectly suited for tight spaces or low gardens, and each has its advantages and disadvantages. Ultimately, the most important thing is that you select a tree that you feel happy about. In gardening as in all matters of personal taste, feeling good about your choice is the best evidence that you have made the right one.
Find your USDA plant hardiness zone. The hardiness zone dictates which plants will be able to thrive in your own local climate. Make a list of several species of flowering trees less than 10 feet adapted to your zone.
Narrow your list to trees adapted to the particular site you intend to plant on. Pick trees that can grow in the type of soil and the amount of sun or shade available at your planting spot. If you have clay soil on your property, for example, you should eliminate flowering trees adapted to sandy, well-drained soil.
Consider the flowers, appearance and bloom date of each flowering tree. Consider which flowers you find most attractive and which trees create the longest-lasting displays, or bloom at the most desirable time of year for your own landscaping needs.
Consider other benefits of each tree. Do the flowering trees have attractive fall foliage, edible fruit or interesting seed pods? Do they produce attractive smells while in bloom? Would you prefer a flowering deciduous tree which goes dormant for the winter or an evergreen flowering tree which stays green all year?
Consider the work that goes into each tree. Make a list of fertilizing, pruning and watering requirements for each tree. Note any insects or diseases that you need to protect each tree from.
Consider how each tree harmonizes with the rest of your landscape. Does it have colors that complement your yard or clash with it? Will it look good all year round, or only when in bloom?