The Perfect Tree

I live in Seattle and have been trying to hunt down the perfect tree to act as a privacy screen from some neighbors. About 12 - 15 ft. tall and 10 or so feet wide would be about right. Nothing has struck me as the perfect size. Ideally I would like to be able to trim and shape it a bit so it didn't take over the yard and something pretty would be nice. A tree that could sit at the back of a mixed border and be prominent but not take over the whole border. Deciduous would actually be okay if it added structure to the garden in the winter. Any ideas?
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A mature size of 12-15' is a VERY small tree - some dwarf flowering crabs, small magnolias or selected Japanese maples may do the trick. Otherwise you are most likely looking for some more tree-like shrubs - smokebush, dwarf lilacs, flowering currants, tree-form peegee hydrangea, all sorts of choices in the broadleaf evergreens (laurels, escallonia, garrya, ceanothus, compact strawberry tree, nandina). And there is always the standard screening selections - arborvitae, Irish yews, clumping bamboo, other columar conifers.
Visit a local nursery and ask what they suggest. Planting at this time of year will limit selection, obviously, but they will be bringing in new plant material soon after the first of the year and selection will increase significantly during late winter and early spring (February and March). Drive out to Emery's Garden in Lynnwood and ask for me - I'd be happy to show you what choice are available.
pam - gardengal
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com writes in article
23:21:31 -0800:

Holly could fit your specified size and shape, if you prune the top. And it doesn't lose its leaves in the winter.
The only drawback is that the leaves which do come down occasionally are sharp, so you need to wear shoes when you're in that area.
-- spud_demon -at- thundermaker.net The above may not (yet) represent the opinions of my employer.
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