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I would like to plant a tree in my backyard next to my house. I initially thought a big tree that throws the leaves would be a good idea but now i am worried about how would that affect my house and the surroundings.

I have a 7x7m backyard having 6x6m soil in the middle. It's surrounded by 1 meter wide concrete and next to it it's my house.

  • I would like to create shade for a table and some chairs but I don't want my house to be in danger in the next 10 years.
  • I don't want a tree that produces fruits or attracts bees or any other insect.
  • I don't care if it throws the leaves or keep them for the winter.
  • I need to have hard wood so it won't create any damage to the cars or the house.

How can I choose the right tree for my place? Can you give me any tree suggestions? Is there any any DB that can provide me with these information?


Location

Corfu/Greece, Close to sea (approximately 4km) about 100 sea level.

Surrounding trees

Image

View of the backyard

  • 2
    Where do you live? Where can you buy trees nearby? What trees do well in your neighbourhood? – kevinsky Jul 2 '18 at 21:18
  • do you want something that looks nice, or produces food? grows tall or stays short? et al – black thumb Jul 2 '18 at 21:36
  • Sounds as if a small 'patio' tree or grove of small patio trees might work well. We simply need more information and a picture of the environment. – stormy Jul 3 '18 at 5:24
  • @blackthumb I don't want a tree that produces fruits or attracts bees or any other insect. I would like to get it tall but i don't want to risk the building health. – Menelaos Vergis Jul 3 '18 at 19:37
  • @kevinsky I added the information at the post, thank you – Menelaos Vergis Jul 3 '18 at 19:37
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gravel lawnMenelaos, I think a 'grove' of small trees (15-20 feet as wide as tall) would work beautifully. At least 3 trees...they grow together well. Install crushed gravel (or pea gravel I like compact able crushed gravel no larger than 3/8inch, 4" thick). This would be an extension of your patio because that 'lawn' simply isn't working for you.

I'll be back to give you suggestions for trees, but first I'd like to change your perspective about trees a little bit...

First, all plants flower. There is not a tree that does not. When they flower to attract pollinators (bees) and those flowers get 'pollinated' they make seed usually in the form of berries, fruits. Most floriferous trees produce fruit that has no chance of making to the ground because the birds eat it faster than it ripens. Serviceberry. I am still working on trying to find if this wonderful tree would do well in Greece. I've listed a few other patio trees for you to consider as well as pictures of alternative ways to make a shady yummy spot in your backyard.

There are some wonderful 'vase shaped' patio trees. Serviceberry is but one. They are called patio trees for a reason; they are in 'scale' with us humans. They have close up aesthetic beauty such as bark or sculptural branching. They will have flowers, delightful to sit beneath on a spring afternoon with soft flower petals falling all around you.

The shade is perfect, thus another aspect of 'patio tree'. Dappled shade not total shade allows more breezes through and you won't need a torch to read by.

"Groves" are one of the things I put in my designs whenever possible. Gravel 'flooring', the trunks and branches make 'walls' and the canopy the 'ceiling'...this takes a good 5 to 7 years to get the maturity. A big tree with dense shade about 20 years.

Are you allergic to bees? They would be there UP in the canopy not bothering anyone. Also important to know is what resources you have for nurseries. Wholesale is best but you'd need to go through a contractor with a resale license. That makes sense here in the States but I've no idea what kind of nurseries you have.

If you have resources nearby please send me a list of their available plants/trees. Yes, they will have a list of all the plants that do the best in your locality. This will help whittle the plant list down considerably.

There is another alternative; a lovely patio setting with potted plants/trees/palms, an easy to maintain floor such as gravel or more pavers/flagstone to match your original patio. That hard edge between your flagstone and the rest of your yard was unfortunate. The idea, basically, is to transition from architectural to au naturale as you walk away from your home.

It would be nice to soften that edge and transition by making a flagstone pathway into your 'grove' where a small area of flagstone paving for the Adirondack chairs a little table for your Raki is surrounded by crushed gravel, granite. You could easily host 3 to 5 'patio' trees in a natural configuration. Plenty of the most wonderful dappled shade imaginable.

You have a couple of flowering large shrubs already. Do you become anaphylactic if stung by a bee? I hope to quell you notions of 'no bees'...BUT there is another solution or two.

An awning or a patio umbrella is instant, colorful and will last until you get your perfect tree.little water feature with major ambience producing sound

A simple pergola/arbor planted with golden hops will give you deep shade and fast. They flower in the fall and I've never noticed hordes of bees. Within the last decade I managed to get stung at least 47 times within just a few minutes...47 stingers got pulled out of me of bald faced hornets. I did go into anaphylactic shock but I've been stung since and no problems. Bees are our friends. If you don't bother them they won't bother you.

Bald faced hornets (that is what the doctor called them I thought they were black and white faced) were tiny, fly size, golden but my goodness, their sting packs a punch! Especially when one stings you on the top of the head after the horse has disturbed the nest and is getting away...these hornets FOLLOW...even galloping away, one got on top of my head. Thought we were in the clear and BAM! just one feels like a sledge hammer hitting you over and over again. (The stingers have their own little muscle, a pump to continue to pump the sting after being separated from the hornet)...each squeeze of that muscle you actually have to duck as if you've been hit by a sledgehammer. Ugh.

Bees are not at all a big deal, unless you put your ball cap on over a live bee in your hair (working around bee hives I was stung this way only once), still not a big worry. Gardens aren't gardens without bees. All plants flower. If bees disappear, we humans disappear shortly afterwards.

I have a few epipens just in case, but like I said, I've been stung a few times since and no problems for me. I am also out in the wilderness on horses covering lots of territory. Some of these hornets eat dead meat. I happened to climb up a bank and intrude on their recent cache. Oh my. I'll always be alert to meat eating hornets but never worry about bees. They are the good guys. Even wasps, the European kind are good guys and not at all aggressive. Bees are not at all aggressive.

I love your backyard and (I admit I looked up Raki...grins, I drink saki, never tried Raki...) I get it! AAhhhh!

If the bee thing is a deal breaker, the architectural arbor/screens with vines or a patio umbrella will fix you up quite nicely!

I just added a picture of a back yard in the Pacific North West. They had a thick beautiful lawn but big 800 plus pound Elk just walking across their lawn coming to a stop causes the sod to buckle just like carpet. So we got rid of the lawn and replaced with 4" crushed 3/8 minus gravel. Added the pavers to make a transition as well as a place for table and chairs. The 'peninsula' blocks the view causing a bit of mystery as well as enlarging the space mentally. If you can't see it, your imagination makes it up. Lots of 'rooms' are way larger than one big 'room' in our minds.

I would find out what hornet is in that large shrub. Let us know. You might not want to install a lawn. How old is your child? I grew up in Japan where the parks were crushed gravel, crushed granite not lawns. Kids love gravel.

Let me know what you think. I am trying to find my pictures of groves, patio trees to help with your visualization. I have filed my pictures poorly and I have thousands.

Hope this helps, I'll be back with more pictures and suggestions. Would like to hear what you think at this point...

Adding pictures for imaging...this one is for the 'arbor' and vine for shade... arbor shade

shade by architectural arbor

olive mini grove

patio tree size and feel

transition from formal patio to informal patio

patio trees for Greece I vote for Redbud and Katsura

Amelanchier is my all time favorite 4 season beauty tree

Amelanchier Service or Sarvisberry first to flower in early spring profusely

a simple 'grove' in a backyard

patio trees power of professional lighting, these are multi stemmed patio trees breath taking another grove

service berry 'grove' in fall

this is a patio tree

Amelanchier

another grove situation

  • Some of these links aren't working...just trying to get you used to the idea of size of patio tree and the remarkable space they provide for humans. Groves of trees, instant rooms. Easy peasy maintenance (you need a great gas powered blower such as Stihl). – stormy Jul 4 '18 at 0:55
  • Thank you for the time and effort took you to write such an answer. Small trees would work better than one big tree, thank you for providing me this perspective. I don't become anaphylactic when stung, I am afraid for my child, my problem is not the bees (my mistake) it's some hornets that party all the time on that tree at the right! It's not that a big deal so it's ok to have flowers and fruits on the trees. I am not interested in pergola, it's a nice idea for another part of the land. I am really sorry for the 47 stings! It hurts me only by reading this. – Menelaos Vergis Jul 4 '18 at 11:53
  • I will plant lawn in a couple of days, this is not lawn, it's just wild plants roots. I also like the idea of pavement and i will look at images for ideas. – Menelaos Vergis Jul 4 '18 at 11:59
  • If you have hornets in that tree you should find out what kind they are. Mowing a lawn, or line trimming or blowing with loud machines causes some hornets to ATTACK the operator. I maintained landscapes for a living. These hornets would sting my butt before I knew what was happening...time to run!! Guess they had a nice big target to hit! I hope I'm not making your worry about bees even more pronounced! I am sorry! Getting stung is part of being out of doors. 47 was the number of stingers with their own little muscle continuing the sting. I think one sting is worse than 47 plus...numb – stormy Jul 4 '18 at 20:11
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Here are two things to keep in mind. When the tree is fully grown its roots will reach roughly as far out as the edge of its canopy of leaves. So look at full grown trees of the kinds you consider and see how wide their canopy is. You don't want to plant the tree any closer than that to the house. The roots may grow into small cracks in the basement walls and also if you have drainage tiles around the house they will grow into those and block them. That's the first concern. The second is being on good terms with your neighbours. Don't plant it where it will interfere with them by, for example, rubbing its branches against their roof or shading their vegetable garden.

  • I have read the provided information as general instructions but I couldn't find a place to search with criteria. e.g. I need any tree(throw or keep leaves at winter) with maximum radius 3 meters, no fruits, not attracting bees, good shadow, hard wood. – Menelaos Vergis Jul 3 '18 at 14:05
  • @MenelaosVergis I'm sorry I can't offer specific advice but another criterion you probably want to consider is how quickly does it grow because if you want shade you probably don't want to wait a lifetime to get it. If they are available there, consider a eucalyptus: they can be beautiful and would fit your landscape, would fit your climate and soil and some grow very quickly. You would have to be careful to choose a variety that doesn't grow too large. – Al Maki Jul 9 '18 at 18:44
  • Thank you, we have many eucalyptus on my island but they cause problems because it grows too tall and the branches break causing damages. – Menelaos Vergis Jul 10 '18 at 9:26

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