Very boring symmetrical landscape (pics!)

sosgal721March 15, 2011

Hello all, new here.

I have done some small updates to the landscape, but being on a corner lot, I feel like I need more trees.

There are two spots where I am basically certain of which tree I want. In the corner of the lot I am hoping to do an Autumn Blaze Maple. And in the front of the house a Yoshino Cherry tree.

In the back of the lot it's basically a square of 4 trees (and I have no idea what kind of tree they are), very boring- very symmetrical, and doesn't leave me much room to add more. This is where I need help. I'm not really looking into adding any type of shrubs quite yet... but any advise on tree type as well as location would help! I really want to add some color (more cherry trees perhaps?)

Looking at the side lot

Backyard photos (note some of these pics are before we added a fence)


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I don't have suggestions except it reminds me of corner my DS is on in his new tract. When I saw the house I told him to put some strong evergreens spread out somewhat on the corner so when a drunk comes along he won't end up in your living room! He planted 3 of them largest type closest to corner & looks very nice & put Japanese maples on the 1 side blvd. So you might think about that as coming off a road like you have with intersection right there I would think of safety 1st! I'm on a straight street with cul-de-sac coming out right between neighbor's & my houses.It's a 2 block long street, how fast could anyone go- fast enough to end up on my blvd,14 yr old kid who stole his mom's car while she was sleeping. Glad he wasn't hurt but we put in hedge to protect our family. Nice house & yard, lot to work with! Enjoy!

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 10:54PM
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karinl(BC Z8)

Cherry trees: 4 days in spring. Four fabulous days to be sure, but the rest of the year it's boring foliage, and with the one I live under, some fall colour. Shop at specialty nurseries, maybe even do mail order - there are so many fabulous trees that will give you interest at other times of the year. That would be my response to repeating the Yoshino: shop more!

As for placement, did you put the four-square arrangement, or was that a builder contribution? As you are feeling constrained by it, I wonder if you should consider moving or removing one or two of your quad. Just for fun, let yourself sketch out what you would do if they were not there. If the quad is a mistake, now is the time to correct it, even if it means losing the tree, before some 60-70 years of humans have been frustrated by their placement. Where is south/west, where will you need shade?

But if you like it, it may indeed constrain you with respect to more deciduous trees, but there is still room for evergreens. And I agree with Sunny that I would like to see more of those if I were you - although I think you've not shown us the ones that are there, and that is why it looks bare to us. But exposed to the street, it clearly is.


    Bookmark   March 16, 2011 at 12:10PM
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The Cherry trees have already started blooming here (very popular tree in NC and SC) and they have been blooming for about 1.5 weeks straight now (full color).

The 4 trees in the backyard are the builders doing - I have no idea what they are. I haven't thought of taking them out mainly because I figured it would be expensive- but if I can't fit anything else there I might need to do it. I have trouble keeping them alive in the first place.

West is basically facing up if you are looking at the plot map (in my back yard), besides for the shade you get from the house there is basically nothing.

We do have small evergreens along the street where there is no fence... and plan on putting some evergreens continuing down the line (on the outside of the fence)

We have looked at various nurseries, they all basically have cherry trees & maple trees. We were lucky and found this place : Mr Jack's Farm. He has so many trees it's unbelievable. (Look at the satellite image here- pretty crazy).

One tree we were really considering for the front corner was a Southern Magnolia- but I found conflicting images/data on how low the branches lie. Because we are on a corner lot we have a sight easement- which basically means that the branches on the tree in the corner need to be 5 feet off the ground so that you can see coming around the corner. Am I correct in thinking that the Southern Magnolia does indeed have low lying branches?

I will definitely get some more pictures after work today and post them here.


    Bookmark   March 16, 2011 at 4:15PM
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Here are some more pics:

We want some sort of 'statement' tree there in the corner (this is where the site easement is)

The backyard:

Side Yard:

Front Yard:
We also want some sort of statement 'pretty' tree here:

Any advice is greatly appreciated! I feel like I've been researching for the past 2 weeks and haven't come to a decision. I get overwhelmed when I look at all the trees.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2011 at 6:15PM
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karinl(BC Z8)

If you're feeling overwhelmed, it might help to think first of all about WHAT YOU WANT THESE TREES TO ACHIEVE.

Then consider just tree shape and size, and only then about which trees you want or what you want their finer attributes to be, eg flowers or fall colour. It might also help to simply ignore the builder trees for now in this exercise as they are likely some Bradford Pears or something, may not have been well planted, and may not last long anyhow.

You need to look out all your windows and from various points on your property and think about what view corridors you want to preserve, which ones you want to block, and where you want shade. Sometimes our instincts tell us to do something that when we really think it through, is not right. As an example, your proposed spot for a "pretty" tree appears to be right in front of the front door and windows. Ornamental trees typically don't grow all that tall, so the tree will block a clear view of/from your house. This may be what you want; it may also not be. Print out your pictures and sketch or overlay moderate sized trees at various locations, see how you like the impact (or photoshop, the modern equivalent).

You do not need to be afraid of big trees. You have lots of space for good-sized trees since you can borrow airspace from the public sides of your property (may mean you have to clear leaves there if you do). The kind of profile I'd be looking for for at least a couple of specimens (for the future of course) is like the tree shown across the street in your second-last photo.

The other thing that may help you is to remember that landscaping decisions are almost always reversible. If you put a tree in the wrong place, you can move it, or cut it down and replace it.

And Mr. Jack certainly does have some trees! If I were shopping there my selections would include some of the shade trees - Ash, Little Leaf Linden, London Plane if you have a space for very big; maybe a nut tree, though they can be messy and difficult, and in the case of Pecan, very big; and a Magnolia Jon Jon for the "pretty" part. As far as planting BIG trees is concerned, they need not grow to maturity. You will of course have no control over the trees 50 years from now, but a residential treescape should be renewed from time to time anyway so the trees need not grow to maturity (and ash and walnut wood, for example, are very desirable and need not go to waste). And you might enjoy a fruit tree in the back yard.

But again, so much depends on you and on what you want from these decisions and from the property - we often research the plants to death, and forget to examine our needs as closely, and without understanding those, it is impossible to pick the right tree.


    Bookmark   March 17, 2011 at 2:57PM
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