Creating Foundation for Woodland Setting Behind New Home
I have just moved into a new home and I would love to create a wooded setting in our backyard. The only problem is the yard was completely bare when we moved in this past summer. We live in zone 5 (Indiana).
The yard is about 104' x 100' and is surrounded by a 6' privacy fence. It slopes towards the house and meets the slope from the house about 25' feet from the foundation. I am planning on creating a creek bed at the low point, as ground water already naturally flows down that path and it can be pretty wet around there during the rain season.
I desperately wanted to get some trees started this fall, as I knew we would need a lot of time for the yard to develop so I wanted to start ASAP. We put in three sycamore trees across the back (we are near a river and they seem to grow well in this area), I also added a red maple near the head of the creek thinking it would thrive in the wet conditions. I added a sugar maple near the house, and planted a quaking aspen grove on the North side near the fence. I know the quaking aspen will not live long, so I also put a small (12''- 18'') Burr Oak down underneath it, hoping the the Oak will be ready to take over once the Aspen run their course. I also added grass just to get some groundcover to keep weeds down and prevent erosion, but I would really like to turn most of this area into a wooded lot. The backyard is about 1/3 of an acre so I was hoping I could do something with it.
Our Great Dane took an immediate interest in the Sycamore trees
The old barn adds some character to the area. There is also some poplar coming up on the opposite side of the fence, near the barn.
Obviously, I have a lot of work to do. It seems like I am so far away from my goal that I don't really know the best way to start off. I am guessing I just need to design a path (or two), paper/mulch over some sections of grass, and get a lot more trees in there? I am not sure what type of trees would be best, so if anyone has any ideas I would love to hear them. The soil looks pretty good in most areas, there is some heavy clay near the house from the excavation.
I know in a normal setting you generally want to space trees to allow for their full growth (spread) at maturity, but if the goal is a wooded setting shouldn't they be placed much closer to each other? I think the placement is my biggest concern, I would like add some more Oaks and probably some evergreens as well, but I just do not know how to properly space them to set the foundation for a wooded setting? Also, I don't want to go overboard and try to cram too many trees into this area? I definitely want it to be wooded, but I just don't want to waste money on any trees that will be crowded out by other and not survive.
Any suggestions or ideas would be much appreciated!