5 conifers for central texas
Taking a cue from Ken - I'll suggest 5 conifers that are good in my region, central Texas. Zone 8b.
Cedrus deodara, or actually any cedrus in my opinion. Curiously, the sunset national garden book reccomends cedrus deodara here but not the other cedrus. How different is the climate in the atlas mountains from the himalayas where the deodar grows? I think they will all do fine unless you're in the hill country and have no soil. Also, the plain species trees are very big in time so not a small lot tree but the cedars are heavily cultivated and lots of dwarf or intermediate selections are available.
Cupressus sempervirens. I posted some photos of a gold variety recently that are pretty neat. I like the regular horizontalis type more than the "stricta" but it just isn't available at nurseries.
Cupressus arizonica or glabra. Lots of blue and yellow clones. They grow really fast here. Native to a tiny part of west Texas.
Taxodium. Native here. Gets huge here in time. Can grow in standing water but fine on drier locations too.
Lots of different juniper species work here. Ashei is native to the hill country but scarcely cultivated. Chinese juniper is planted along freeways and ignored and does fine. I've seen pretty large virginiana and scopulorum cultivars and relatively few locales work for both of those species. I have squamata, procumbens, even communis cultivars and haven't killed a juniper yet.
Pines are generally tricky. East Texas has native pines. So does west Texas (mostly in mountains). Central Texas has none, unless you count a tiny part of the SW corner of the edwards plateau as "central". Theres a really nice pinyon pine there, which I've posted pics of before. FWIW I think several species will work here, just haven't been tried. One frequently reccomended by the 'experts' at the extension office is thunbergii. But I've been looking for a long time for nice large one in cultivation and they all look like crap.
You almost never see any spruce trees. I have never seen a true fir planted in this region.