How Can I Shade My Plants From the Summer Sun?

Overview

What do you do when part of your garden is in the shade and part of it is in the sun? This can be particularly challenging if your desire is to plant arrangements for balance, like matching what's in two window boxes. In warmer zones, the afternoon sun is just too much for sun-loving flowers, causing them to wilt. That's when you should seek ways to shade plants from the summer sun.

Landscape Structures

Step 1

Build an arbor that can hold sun-loving flowering vines. The structure can provide some shade that is most needed in mid to late afternoon. For more shade, build a pergola. The top horizontal beams of the structure will provide filtered sunlight. Add awning material to all or part of the top of the pergola for controlled shade. A picket fence or solid plank fence will also create some shade.

Step 2

Locate a bench to block sunlight from plants. Using a high-back bench or a pergola over the bench will increase the area of shade.

Step 3

Place one or an odd number of obelisks or teepees to create shade. These can be created at home from kits or small-diameter tree limbs, giving the option to create structures of varying heights and widths. Chicken wire can be secured to the ground with stakes to create a form for bushes or vines. The wire can be formed into shapes or simply rolled into a tall column. Potato vine, ivy or clematis can be trained to cover the wire.

Step 4

Install awnings to the house to add shade to plants close to the house.

Step 5

Setup shade sails, which are large triangular pieces of weather-sturdy fabric attached at each corner to tall wooden or steel poles or to a structure. The sails can be removed on blustery days and before snow fall.

Plantings

Step 1

Plant tall flowers, like purple coneflower that grows 3 to 4 feet tall and can tolerate full sun as it provides shade to shorter plants nearby. Plant a hedge, a good choice because you can control how tall it gets with annual pruning. Spirea and forsythia are fast growers and produce flowers each spring.

Step 2

Plant evergreens, like fast-growing Thuja Green Giant, which can grow 3 to 5 feet a year. Sky Pencil Japanese holly also is an option. Though a slow grower, Japanese holly is tall and narrow, adding vertical interest to the garden as it provides shade to shorter plants near it. Plant one Japanese holly or a group.

Step 3

Plant trees. Though small trees might take some time to produce lots of shade, they can be a great value overall. Trees provide shade to your house, reducing energy costs. Their fallen leaves can be used for compost.

Things You'll Need

  • Wooden or vinyl outdoor structures
  • Shrubs or trees

References

  • Pergola for Shade
  • Shade Sails
Keywords: shade for plants, shade ideas, garden structures

About this Author

Barbara Raskauskas's favorite pursuits are home improvement, landscape design, organic gardening and blogging. Her Internet writing appears on SASS Magazine, AT&T and various other websites. Raskauskas is active in the small business she and her husband have owned since 2000 and is a former MS Office instructor.