It’s Getting Hot – How to Plant for Shade

As the weather heats up shade trees become more important in the garden. Read on to learn about three factors involved in shade creation – time, plant selection, and spacing.

One of the great things about gardening is that it forces even the busiest person to be patient. You can’t force it to be spring or fall, you can’t force grass seed to germinate faster, or bulbs to come up before they are ready. This is especially true with shade creation – most trees that we plant will never provide shade for us, maybe the future homeowner, or our grandkids, years down the road.

For clients looking to create shade as quickly as possible, I would advise starting with as big a tree as you can afford, while still making sure it is a tree that works in the space at maturity. There’s nothing worse than planting a large tree too close to the house and then having to cut it down once it’s tall enough to provide shade.

Mature Tree Blocking House


Alternatively, some trees can be placed very close together to create a grove of shade. To achieve this I would recommend a group of 3-5 of one type of tree, planted quite close with the idea that the canopies will grow together. I’ve seen this done very successfully with Crape Myrtles, planting trees that would get 25’ wide only 6-7’ apart. The result is a more dense shade canopy achieved in less time.

A Grove of Crape Myrtles
Crape Myrtles

If a client is planning to phase their garden installation I would always suggest adding plants for screening and shade in the first phase. Giving these plants a jumpstart on the rest of the garden will ensure that you get the most shade out of them during your time in the house.

Interested in adding shade to your garden? Contact Bright Leaf Landscaping at (919) 619-4460 or fill out our online contact form. We are always happy to meet with new clients to discuss potential landscape design and installation projects!