I just bought a nice Coral Bark Japanese Maple and I am trying to determine where to plant it in my backyard

Here is the layout of my backyard, just read below the picture the constrains that I have

enter image description here

  1. I would like the tree to be visible and be a focal point (position 1)
  2. I would like to also used it to obtain privacy in the patio area (position 1) respectively to block kitchen to kitchen view ( position 4)

Position 1 seems to expose the tree to wind blowing from W or North (the most frequent . it will also mean full sun all the day long. The picture shows the shadows at noon in August

Position 2 will offer shadow in the morning but full sun in the afternoon. The tree will compete for attention with the big magnolia tree that is just below that position in my neighbor's backyard

Position 4 would be ideal if I would not have a smaller lilac tree just to the left of it. When the Japanese Maple will reach maturity it will dominate and hide that lilac tree completely

Position 3 seems the only reasonable one BUT when the tree reaches maturity it will practically section the L shaped backyard in two blocking the view from from the access gate next to the garage toward point two which one way or the other must become a focal point for whoever enters that gate or sits at the table or on the deck Besides that position 3 puts the tree behind some of the people sitting at the table

An alternate position would be just to the right of that shed but then the tree will not be visible from the deck or patio It will be in the most remote corner of the property.

Below is the wind rose showing frequency and strenght for winds in winter in an area close to Toronto (the airport) . The winds might be less strong within the city enter image description here Honestly if it would not be the summer sun I would opt for Position 2 How much sun can this tree really take ?

Here is a picture of my tree

enter image description here

For those of you who wonder what I am up to here is the design thread that preceded this one

Please help me to select the best form composition for this backyard design

Here is what the place looks like right now enter image description here

And here is my rendering

enter image description here

  • Your yard is a microenvironment...protected in many ways. I've been charged with planting and maintaining these guys in far less favorable conditions. Bringing a tree like this into the fore/middle ground makes sense. Sitting at that table this tree will truly be appreciated. This tree will be able to grow, unrestricted. 15" height 15' or 20' width? Pruned correctly will not hamper the sun to your lawn. I'd make a bed that starts left corner of house to widen and go around to end at the bottom of this graphic...bout 1/3 the way to the right corner.
    – stormy
    Commented May 4, 2017 at 2:08
  • A stepping stone path to the lawn from the patio this tree to one's left. Large shrubs at least three will form privacy. This tree will never provide privacy unless from upper windows. A few 'screens' by the edge and another set out a few feet would be immediate privacy. Akebia quinata would be a great choice to grow on these screens.
    – stormy
    Commented May 4, 2017 at 2:12
  • Draw a to scale rough drawing to incorporate the horizontal distance, the height of the 2 story building window and your table/chairs on your patio. That tree will give privacy closer to the patio than it could by the fence.
    – stormy
    Commented May 4, 2017 at 2:15
  • ...as well as giving humans sitting on that patio interesting foreground and screening.
    – stormy
    Commented May 4, 2017 at 19:06

2 Answers 2


getting rid of the cat box landscapeenter image description hereGorgeous baby coral bark maple. I abhor trees, shrubs planted right up against the fence or the foundation of your home. In my opinion, I would plant this dude to the left of your patio...super small tree. There it would be very appreciated for its beauty and a bit of shade.

I would caution against thinking any ONE plant can be focal point, privacy and structural plant to solve all problems. This guy is obviously a focal point and shade. When he gets larger he will be able to form 'walls' and 'ceiling' for your patio. I would purchase at least 2 or 3 more to make a bigger statement. Stay with one species, to incorporate too many species makes a chaotic environment for humans. Human brains can only handle 3 different things at a time and be comfortable. Think of trees, lawn and patio. 3 things. Keep the trees the same species, honest injun.

Plant him just to the left of that patio. About 3 or 4' from the edge. I'd make a plant bed off that side to wrap partially around the lower edge. Plenty of plants that could be planted alongside this guy for privacy. The best privacy however are 'screens' made from dimensional lumber. Take up far less room and are immediate.

In the picture with my screen (I love 90 degree angles and great workmanship), there are 2 story homes behind that fence blocking the view of Mt. Rainier. Sad but worse was hot tubbing with an audience. This is a very tiny back yard, that screen makes one wonder what is on the other side. This yard is 25' deep and 60'wide. There are 6 'rooms'. Very private, very stimulating very much another world where the knowledge one lives in a 'development' with neighbors 5' away on either side just disappears. See the fence's dove gray color and how it recedes into the background? Paint it red or white SMALL YARD with screens and 9 cedars[![][2][2]and watch it come forward.

This gravel yard used to be a large lawn but elk were frequent visitors. Just walking across the lawn and then stopping would cause the sod to bunch up like a loose rug. In front of this view blocking half the expanse is a 'peninsula' that is purposely blocking being able to see the entire expanse of gravel. Doesn't it make you want to go take a peek around the corner? Gravel is a wonderful surface. It is also loud so that when visitors even those who are walking bipedal can be heard. Super security system. At night the lighting is ambient lighting coming from the uplit trees, shrubs expanse of boulders. Easy to see bad guys. 'Security' lighting that makes a cone of bright light makes it easy for bad guys to stand right outside that cone to see what is happening inside the home without you being able to see them. Correct lighting at night makes and entirely different landscape, one that you can appreciate during the dark of night and the dark of winters. Never want to see the fixtures, ever. Just the part of the landscape being lit. I use mostly up lights and back lighting...lighting the wall of your home with a tree in front of that light making the tree and its form a black sculpture.

Just some ideas. Takes a lot of work to get people to relax their preconceived and personal ideas enough to try these techniques, but not a single soul ever ever was disappointed. Got lots more clients this way. And they all wanted MORE lights added to their yard and all their out door rooms to add personality and punch. Did you notice that picture of the brick home and newly installed screens what was behind those screens? Probably not. Far better than solid fences that cause this cat box feeling/look.

See the screen I put up in the last picture? That was meant to 'come forward' to distract the fence to break up the fence...to get rid of the cat box feeling. Tied it all together with a white picket fence you can't see that is to the left.

Privacy screen

  • Those screens will block the view toward my own garden. See the update at the bottom of the initial post. I will probably buy tow more blood good japanese maple to make a total of three ..stil debating where to place them ..see the other thread
    – MiniMe
    Commented May 4, 2017 at 4:01
  • @MiniMe - be aware that Acer Bloodgood,in my experience, is much more sensitive to wind/sun exposure than the coralbark one you've got already, seems to need more shelter/shade.
    – Bamboo
    Commented May 4, 2017 at 12:01
  • Really? I am seeing that one everywhere in Toronto but I can't find mine. The nursery offers warranty that will it will pass the winter for tBloodgood but not for Coral Bark
    – MiniMe
    Commented May 4, 2017 at 12:06
  • Blocking the views of your garden is the ENTIRE point. Just bear with me a moment. One of the 'tricks' designers use is to cause mystery and more ROOMS in a garden is to block partial views. Trees are cool in that they add 'walls' and 'ceilings' for these rooms. If you can see your entire yard just by stepping out the back door, how likely will it be that you need to go 'investigate'? I also use peninsulas from plant beds out into the lawn as a way to break up a big space, especially one that is small and fenced in. Sorta like a cat box feeling. These rooms make the yard feel huge...
    – stormy
    Commented May 4, 2017 at 18:14
  • ...and interesting. Another trick is to make the sound of water in one of these rooms. People always have to go check out the water. Each room although similar with a small pallet of plants that ties the whole together ends up with its own personality. Being able to see everything from the back door is boring. Why venture out of doors when you are able to see it all anyway? Blood good has larger leaves and not at all the same hue of reds. I would seriously, get more coral bark. More of the same makes a big impact. Too many different plants cause chaos in human's minds.
    – stormy
    Commented May 4, 2017 at 18:19

I'd choose position 2 - it just gets afternoon sun, so less risk of frazzling in hot sun, and wind in summer is more of an issue than sunlight. If it catches north winds in winter down that narrow part of the garden, where there's presumably a gate at the end, that's not an issue, it's repeated wind exposure when the leaves are present that causes leaf frazzling, though it doesn't kill the plant. By 'frazzling' I mean shrivelled, whitened, scrunched up, tatty, damaged leaves or areas of leaf.

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