Lemon trees have always been a popular choice, especially for those with a bit of room in the backyard. A lemon tree needs a lot of sun and good drainage, given the right conditions you should start to see fruit in 3 years. If you don't have room for a fully grown lemon tree, you could just as easily grow one in a pot and prune as required. The ‘Eureka' is a popular variety that fruits twice a year with its biggest crop in summer.
There's nothing like the taste of a delicious, crunchy apple straight off the tree. If you've got the room and the patience, a standard apple tree can grow over 9 metres tall and produce fruit in 4–8 years. Semi-dwarf and dwarf apple trees don't grow as tall but still produce standard sized apples. Generally a fruit that's ready to harvest in summer, apple trees are relatively low-maintenance. Planted in a sunny spot with good drainage, you can expect them to fruit in 3–4 years.
Imagine enjoying a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice every morning. It'd taste even better when it's from your very own garden. An orange tree that enjoys at least 5 hours of sunshine a day can reward you with spring fruit in as little as 3 years. Whether or not a tree bears fruit has more to do with growing conditions and age than it does with the height of the tree. As with some of the other fruit and citrus varieties, a semi-dwarf is a good option if you don't have room for a fully grown orange tree.
Olive trees have been grown for centuries and are highly regarded for their tolerance to the harsh Australian climate. In fact, the only place they're not suitable for are tropical climates, preferring hot dry weather reminiscent of the Mediterranean. When planted in fertile soil that gets full sun for at least 6 hours a day, you can expect your olive tree to bear fruit in 4–5 years. Picking usually takes place from mid-autumn to early winter and olives need to be soaked, salted and preserved in oil to remove their bitterness.
Stone fruits such as nectarines, peaches, apricots and plums can also provide you with a delicious crop within 3–4 years. Ripening occurs between November and March with the most ripe fruit providing the most flavour.