Shade in Summer

Summer can be a tough time in the garden. Especially when most of your time is consumed watering and trying to keep your beloved plants alive; all while combating the blistering, summer sun.  Summer is the season where most of us have been caught out driving around the shopping centre carpark on a mission. Searching and scanning repeatedly to try and find that empty park under the cool shade of a tree. It’s the season where before you’ve even begun for the day you’re hot, sweaty and exhausted and already looking to retreat to find some shade.

Trees and the shade they provide are very, very much appreciated this time of year. Shade trees provide the aesthetic value of being a prominent feature or point of emphasis while functionally they lower temperatures indoors and out; cooling you, your house and car. They create a comfortable shady oasis enjoyed often over an outdoor seating area. Trees can also form a micro-climate via their protective canopy, ideal for an understory of plants to grow and thrive. This can add depth and a completely different ‘garden room’ or theme in your garden. All possible by the shade of a lovely big tree.

Put quite pain and simple: I love trees.

So if you love trees as much as I do and want more, now’s the time of the year to search for the perfect spot and think about establishing one come autumn. Important things to consider are; ideal dimensions, tree type (being deciduous or evergreen), and possible functional and aesthetic desires.


The spread of a tree as it matures is particularly important for shade and for planning. Knowing the width of a tree as well as its root structure is vital to position a newly planted tree so it is away from structures and boundaries when it matures. Ideally keep trees at least 5 metres from structures and avoid digging near services (Dial 1100 before you dig to check the location of these services at your place).

Where space is limited, there are many small trees that suit compact spaces and summer is the time to seek them out. While a shade sail or an umbrella can provide summer shade, the shade from a leafy tree feels cooler and can be more appealing and of course trees provide environmental benefits and offer a changing display through the year. So next time you’re out, look around and see what is planted in parks and gardens or even people’s yards in our area. This will help you narrow down your choices, in terms of finding something you like and something that will thrive in our conditions. Even if you’re still stuck; a visit to the nursery is always great for inspiration and ideas.


The other vital decision to make about which tree to plant is to decide whether it is deciduous or evergreen. A deciduous tree is one that loses its leaves in autumn and winter – often after putting on a colourful display – and remains bare for several months and grows new leaves in spring. An evergreen tree is green year round. It does discard leaves but these leaves fall occasionally throughout the year.

The benefit of a deciduous tree is that it allows the winter sun to shine through. Evergreen trees provide shade all year round.


Having trees not only provide a cool shady spot.  Depending on variety they can also be quite productive and produce fruit, give privacy and as mentioned previously, they can contribute greatly to a landscape.

Having a bit of leafy shade in the garden becomes somewhere to spend time playing, relaxing and eating. And as you’ll probably already know if you have kids or from your own childhood; trees are often the perfect place for little legs to climb and explore.

So before planting; consider what other benefits such as these might attribute to and influence you tree choice.

Trees are an enormous environmental value in the community.  Sure they drop leaves and sometimes they are messy but if chosen appropriately, trees in your garden will pay you back for all your labour; especially on those scorchers when we appreciate them most.

Caitlin Sawyer
Wingham Nursery & Florist


  • Great article Caitlin,
    They do more than just shade think about the carbon they sequester

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