Selecting smaller maple for shade garden
I am Zone 8 near Seattle. I have a shady area beside my house that I was trying to establish as a native/small tree shade garden; this is a patch of land about 20 feet long by 10 feet wide or so with southern exposure. The plot is shaded by houses on both the long sides, open to the south - it gets direct sun for about 3-4 hours or so during the summer and is in generally in bright shade for the rest of the time - lots of protection from the wind. My climate is the typical Northwest pattern of dry summers/wet winters.
I am trying to pick a maple tree to complete the collection in this area. I was looking (or hoping) for these characteristics:
1. Interesting bark for winter interest
2. Not too large (less than 12 feet or so in 10 years)
3. Not too wide (less than 6-7 feet in spread). I did not want the tree dominating the patch
4. Does well in shade of the type mentioned (I suppose the type of shade I describe would be rated part shade?)
5. Good fall color
I was looking at:
1. Coral bark japanese maple (Acer Palmatum Sango-Kaku)
2. Pacific Fire vine maple (Acer Circinatum)
3. Aoyagi japanese maple (Acer Palmatum)
I really like the look of the Aoyagi with the pea green bark. The Pacific Fire looks very striking when beside the Aoyagi and I was going to try to pair them. A few questions:
1. Does the Pacific Fire make a good combination with the Aoyagi with time - are the plants of similar size?
2. Does the coral bark tend to be redder than the pacific fire? Most reviews I read about the Pacific Fire have it being redder than the coral bark, but when I saw the plants in person at the nursery, the Pacific Fire seemed to have a more muted red coloration than the coral bark (the Kaku looked like it was positively glowing red)
3. Would the coral bark and the aoyagi get too large for this patch (I define too large as anything greater than 14 feet or so)?
4. How is the fall color interest on these varieties and do they need more light than I have to bring out their color?
5. I like the fact that the vine maple is a hybrid of the native variety and should therefore be more adapted than the Japanese maples to the NW climate of dry summers and be able to tolerate the wet winters. Is this true - I see Japanese Maples all over the place in this area so obviously they do well here but I am looking for the proverbial low maintenance plant :)
6. Any other suggestions for plants I should be looking at?
Thanks for reading and my apologies for the extended message