Help? Trying to Create Shade in my Sunny Massachusetts Yard
We have a bit of a dilemma here, as my fiance and I are both being very picky about what trees we want to plant in our backyard, and have both been researching for months. We have a 6 ft privacy fence, but our lot is up on a hill, so the privacy fence does not actually give much privacy. We can still see the windows of neighboring houses while we sit on our ground-level patio. Walking around in the backyard, no privacy at all. Neighbors can see right into the yard. We also have absolutely no trees in our backyard :( So the entire yard is in full sun basically all day from morning til evening. During the hot, humid, sunny days of summer, this is not very pleasant. We would like to have a bit of shade, and some privacy from the neighbors. Although we are lucky to have very nice neighbors, still, it would of course be nice to have some privacy. One half of the yard gets some shade, but only after about 6 PM, due to some very tall trees in the next yard over.
Part of our dilemma is that we can't plant trees that will get super tall, because we have solar panels on the roof of our one-story house, which need sunlight as much as possible to generate electricity. So we prefer to plant trees that will only get to be about 25 feet tall at maturity.
My fiance and I both agree on the height, no more than 25 feet tall. We also both agree that we don't want fruit trees, because we don't want fruit falling off the tree onto the lawn, adding to lawn maintenance and worrying our dog will get a hold of some bad fruit or pits which are toxic to dogs. We both agree that we need to make sure we don't plant any trees that are toxic to dogs. That is extremely important.
My fiance does not want trees that flower, because he doesn't want flower petals falling all over the lawn. I, on the other hand, don't mind flowering trees, and I actually think flower petals falling onto the lawn would be pretty. This, we disagree on.
I don't want any trees that have red flowers or that turn red in the fall. I don't mind seeing red trees out in the woods, but I don't want them in my yard. I just personally don't like the color red. We really like trees that turn yellow or orange in the fall.
We want to pick out 3 different types of trees. One for the far back corner, to block the view of a neighbor's house, which can be the tallest (25 feet) because that is the lowest corner of the yard. Something we can put a couple of chairs and a dog house under. One for the middle back to block the view of a neighbor's house, which can be a bit shorter but no less than 12 feet tall). For those first two, the wider the spread, the better. And one for the side of the yard which we would like to plant in a row along the fence to block the view of a two-story neighboring home with an above-ground swimming pool that has no privacy and we don't want to see it. For the row of trees, we would like them to be on the taller side (20-25 feet), and can have a narrower spread, since they will be in a row, but my fiance does not want big puffy evergreens with foliage low to the ground, which I agree with because those kinds of trees also harbor more ticks, and we don't want our dog to be exposed to more ticks in our backyard.
Every time we think we have agreed on some trees to plant, one of us discovers something about it in our research that makes us change our minds.
Right now, we think we have agreed on a Wax Myrtle tree for one of the trees we want to plant. The one in the middle back of the yard. I have read that this tree is an evergreen, but I'm not sure if it stays evergreen in our zone, which is Zone 7a. We are very close to zone 6b, but are considered zone 7a. The Wax Myrtle can grow in zone 7-11, but does anyone know how tall they get in southeastern Massachusetts? I have read they are 15-20 feet at maturity, but I'm guessing that can vary depending on the zone? Especially considering they are more common in the South, I'm a bit concerned about this one. Although if it IS evergreen and grows to 15-20 feet, that would be perfect because it would give us privacy in the winter, too.
Another one I have my eye on is for the far back corner of the yard, and that is the Muskogee Crape Myrtle. Yes, I realize these are flowering trees, but I might be able to convince my loving fiance ;) I think they are gorgeous in purple, and they grow in zones 7-11 and up to 25-30 feet at maturity, with a wide spread as well. This would be perfect for that far back corner. I also love that they turn a beautiful bright orange in the fall. Does anyone on this forum have this in their yard in Massachusetts? Can you tell me how tall it is at maturity in this area?
As for the row trees along the side of the yard, neither of us are sure what we want to plant over there. Suggestions are welcomed!!!