How to add a large shade tree to front yard?


Our house faces South and we have no shade after removing a tree a few years ago. I want to plant a tree, a cully river birch, 20 feet away and on the left front of the house . The river birch will grow to 30-40 feet and about 30 ft wide. Would it overwelm the yard and front face of the house? We have a small crabapple on the left by the driveway which we would plant somewhere else.Any imput would be great! I am a beginner gardener and I am nervous about making a mistake with the landscaping, I have consulted with a few landscapers and I still undecided.Thank you!

q adding a large shade tree to front yard
The house looks shady now because it was taken in the morning. By 11 am its full sun all day.
  8 answers
  • MARY MARY on Jun 10, 2019

    I think it would block the house too much but if you live where it's really hot and the priority is cooling the house with trees go for it. The house seems to already have a tree on the right corner block part of it. As long as you like it that's all that matters.

  • Kylene Kylene on Jun 10, 2019

    I hope you live in an area without a lot of wind. A 30 - 40 ft tree can do a lot of damage of blown down. You want shade not limbs blowing against your roof or half the tree falling on it. I live in the hill country near Austin, Texas and we get 40 mile per hr. winds. Just last night 40 mile per hr. winds uprooted several LARGE trees just a few miles away. If you plan on planting it yourself I would guess it is small but in 15 yrs. it will be huge. Good Luck.

  • Flipturn Flipturn on Jun 10, 2019

    Before I answer your question about the birch tree, I would like to say that in my experience many folks make the mistake of planting too much way too close to the house.

    Part of the beauty of your Georgian style house is the symmetry in the facade and the centered front doorway. In my opinion you have lots of 'busy' going on already: the various crowded bushes, the tree on the rightside that is already blocking the windows, the ornaments, and the bench that looks like it is being pushed out to the curb. That crab apple tree is soon going to be hiding half of the pretty garage door, and will encroaching upon the driveway itself. Then in front, you have this vast expanse of empty lawn, which does not enhance the property curb appeal as it could be.

    Before planting anything else, I would:

    -Remove the tree on the right. You don't want the roots to interfer with the foundation of the house.

    -Remove the crab apple tree. If you are enamoured with it, then transplant the crab apple tree to the right portion of the property.

    -Remove all the yellow colored disjointed small bushes in front of the walkway. Removing them would draw they eye upward to the classic shutters and would open up the sight lines to the front door.

    -Cover the dirt areas immediately in front of the front of the house with weed barrier landscaping fabric, then river rock. This will add a visual 'base' to the front of the home. (Think of it sort of like a cake displayed on a heavy attractive cake stand, as opposed to just sitting on a flat table.)

  • Katie Yeh Katie Yeh on Jun 11, 2019

    I would like to remove all the yellow shrubs and the crabapple. The purple plum is too close but its a lovely tree. The front is so hot and dry during the day. The driveway heats up and I need something for shade. Perhaps a red maple planted in front center but not too close to the home.

  • Rymea Rymea on Jun 11, 2019

    I think the river birch would look good. It would not hide the front of your house. You need a large tree there to balance the trees on the right side. I do think the tree on the right corner is too close to the house. Also the one green bush on the left side of the door looks out of place. You could move it to the bed on the far right along with the yellow bush that is right in front of the door.

  • Jan Clark Jan Clark on Jun 11, 2019

    Wow, what a variety of answers. Your home design screams symmetry and I'm thinking that's what you're after, in addition to some shade. Yes, do consider the mature size of any tree before you plant it. And, yes, roots can travel far. Because of these things, I would consider planting the tree midway between the house and the street and crosswise at the halfway point of the entire home - from east to west including the garage. The issue with the nandinas (which I think are the shrubs along the walk) is that they need a good trimming. So, too, the purple plumb. Bring it back to size and shape and it won't block the windows. The two smaller trees near the garage will soon outgrow their space, so definitely consider moving them before they're a problem. Take in all of the advice, weigh the pros and cons and then go with your 'gut'. It usually knows best. No one person is standing in your shoes but you. And remember - nothing is permanent. Cheers!

    • Katie Yeh Katie Yeh on Jun 11, 2019

      Thank you for your much needed imput! I want to move the smaller trees and place one shade tree.

  • Flipturn Flipturn on Jun 18, 2019

    Do you have insulating liners on your draperies, or insulating blinds on any of the windows? Although this suggestion is not of the 'garden' nature, they do help tremendously in keeping the rooms that are in direct sunliight cooler.