ornamental tree for front yard in East Bay?
I am looking for a flowering tree to be planted in my front yard, near the entranceway pavement, and about 10 feet from the steps to my house. The tree will be west of my house and will receive sun for most of the day. We have clay soils, but the tree will be on top of a bank and will have good drainage. Currently, there is a Japanese black pine in the location (we are having it removed because it is constantly shedding needles, and it seems too heavy/dark for the front of the house). The tree does not need to fulfill any particular shading/screening purposes.
I am considering magnolias, but I worry about the branches being too low and spreading (as the tree will be very close to the entranceway). I'm ok with the cleanup required post-blooming. Also considering dogwoods and pear trees. The house is painted a dark green; so it would be nice to have a tree who's flowering and branching pattern will create some nice contrast/visual interest.
I would love to hear of any suggestions! It's my first house, and I am new to gardening.
I will be testing the pH of the soil (kit is in the mail). Preferably, the tree will be fairly drought tolerant. I understand that I will need to keep the soil moist via deep waterings while it is getting established.
Thank you for your help!