Shade tree placement / sitting area plan

sergeantcuffMarch 16, 2012

I am mourning the loss of a hideous silver maple that provided a nice shady spot in my backyard. I have a long, narrow lot with mature evergreens near the house. The back corner is my vegetable garden.

The old tree was right inside the fenceline where you can see the stump grindings. I am thinking about planting a red maple (for fast growth) in the same area, but 6 feet or so away from the fence. The seems to be the obvious place but I would like some opinions before I plunk down the money for a large specimen that couldn't be moved.

From window:

from back door:

from back corner:

I had created a nice sitting area next to the tree with Adirondack chairs and giant elephant ears (colocasia?) in the whisky barrrels. Now I don't know where to use these things as I hate to sit in the sun.

I liked that this sitting area was inside the border so nothing had to be moved when we mowed.

Thank you for your insights

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natal(Louisiana 8b)

No idea what kind of root system your silver maple had. We lost, or had to cut down, a number of 60' Loblolly pines about 4 years ago. We had the stumps ground, but the roots had to die a slow death. That meant no tree planting in the general vicinity for a couple years. Your situation may be different.

I might be inclined to enlarge the bed and plant the new tree further away from the fence.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 12:36PM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

I might suggest a smaller growing tree like a Cercis canadensis 'Forest Pansy', and maybe even two of them planted about 18 feet apart, Relatively fast growing but not as tall as the maple, and wide enough to create a nice shade canopy. The foliage color in spring/summer is a nice bonus, and picks up the color of the Colocasia as well.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 2:49PM
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catkim(San Diego 10/24)

Compass points, please?

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 2:51PM
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catkim(San Diego 10/24)

Compass points, please?

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 3:18PM
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A little more info -

I have had other maples removed and have always been able to plant fairly easily in the vicinity of the stumps. I am blessed with good soil which may be a factor?

Compass points - the back of the house faces SW.

Bahia - I think of cercis as fairly small trees.. Do they really provide much shade? but I will research that variety. Are you suggesting two trees planted parallel to the fence? That sounds nice, if I could then put the chairs between them.

Our winter has been so mild that the colocasias tubers are growing in the basement while still wrapped in plastic bags. I do not know what to do with them as it is so early!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 3:52PM
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The rest of my family claims to want to keep the patch of grass in the middle of the yard clear.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 3:55PM
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I suggest you do the following:

1. Determine the location of the sitting area needing shade.

2. Determine the time of day the area will most be used.

3. Determine the direction of the sun for the time of use during the hottest time of the year. Use the NOAA solar calculator to get the answer.

4. Determine the distance to plant the tree from the sitting area considering the tree height and the upward angle of the sun at the time of use.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 4:32PM
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Well, you can plant trees for shade, and to give you something attractive to look at, and you can also use them for screening. You have a lot of windows staring down at you back there.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 9:09AM
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I like Red Oaks, a deep root system compared to Maples (close to your vegetable garden)Some will complain about the acorns....does not bother is a beautiful tree , with a nice broad branching habit as it matures & very strong limbs..
For really fast growth....... the Princeton American Elm is resistant to the dreaded Dutch Elm disease and grows very very fast best bang for the buck, only con is that the branches grow in a somewhat a acute manner so you can can possibly lose a branch (for example we had a freak early snow last year & leaves were still on the trees & I lost some branch due to the extra weight) but these trees grow so fast I'm not worried.
Someone mentioned Redbuds, although a pretty tree I have found them to be unreliable, prone to sudden branch die back, they do have there place in the garden, not sure for what you are looking for.
There are many more to choose from...I'm sure you will get more posts on this.
Good Luck

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 11:08AM
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If you were happy with the previous tree location, there's no reason not to place a new tree in the same spot or somewhere near. Just make sure it's planted in soil and not sawdust. No matter what tree you choose, it will be better than a silver maple so there's nothing to worry about there either. Whatever you plant will surely produce enough shade to get two chairs out of the sun. (Unless it's a honeylocust or similar.) Plant what strikes your fancy.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 1:50PM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

Here in the San Francisco bay area, Forest Pansy Redbird is a trouble free tree without dieback issues or other pests/diseases, and at maturity will get about 20 wide by tall. If you were to plant two, I'd plant the first close to the original stump, and locate the second about 15 feet further along the fence but perhaps 5 feet or so from the edge of the lawn. Shorter trees such as Redbird would be less likely to shade your veggies, and yet still give good privacy at the level of the garden.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 4:34PM
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Thank you for all the suggestions. I wish I had another spot for the vegetable garden, as a grouping of trees would be really nice in that corner.

I really need to fix the bed shapes. Any suggestions? I guess it's obvious that I should put the new tree near the old one. I hope 6 feet away is far enough.

I do not want to make the border against the fence any deeper as it is already so deep. But I will have to in order to incorporate the tree??

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 9:44AM
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I would tweak your bed shape a little to better accommodate the pine tree. Then, balance the curve.

Seems like a tree would look better in the bed where the bed was wider. A pair of fastigiate trees would work where bed is narrower.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 10:40AM
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Yardvaark - Thanks for the visual. I will have to decide if I want to risk shading either the veggies or the roses planted in the long border against the fence.

I am afraid of planting anything too close to the fence as the neighbors will hack away at anything hanging over the property line. I like borders to look full, so am worried about having a big empty area behind the tree.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 11:56AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Move the vegetables closer to the kitchen and not where they are right in the midst of the prime spot for planting a tree and some shrubs (the latter being something you badly need to make this look like a finished, enclosing garden).

I wouldn't want to walk all the way to the back corner every time I wanted to pick something for the pot anyway. You can plant shrubs on the sides of the vegetables to screen the plot just anywhere you place it in the yard, and sheltering a kitchen garden improves the growth of the plants and makes it a more pleasant space to be spending a lot of time in.

Another method is to interplant edibles and ornamentals, throughout much of the yard, instead of having the food plants all together in a utilitarian-looking near-wasteland.

There is also the arranging of vegetables and herbs into attractive designs, instead of having them all in straight rows or blocks.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 10:51PM
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