Shade Landscaping Ideas For Your Yard

backyard shade plants md 2

It can be tough to enjoy the great outdoors when temperatures soar into the 80s, 90s, or above. Even if you’ve created an area in your yard to relax, beating the summer heat can be a challenge. Here are some tips to help you reduce those temperatures and enjoy your own yard.


The best shade comes from the resources already built into many yards: trees. There are two reasons trees can reduce temperatures by as much as 25 degrees when compared to blacktop nearby.

First, there’s the fact that trees shield you from the sun. That’s pretty obvious. But trees also release water vapor through a process called evapotranspiration. Yes, that’s a fancy word for it, but the bottom line is, even if it will take a while for your tree to grow enough to cover large swaths of your yard, planting one will immediately help the temperature drop.


shade landscaping idea patio umbrella

If you haven’t shopped for patio furniture lately, you might be surprised at all the options. You can set up a patio or deck umbrella that covers a wide area while also tucking out of the way when not in use.

Another option for those outdoor areas is a retractable awning. These attach directly to your house, allowing you to create a roof when you need it, then slide it out of the way when you want to stargaze.


Washington DC Flagstone Patio Landsaping Fountain

Planting trees and setting up umbrellas take time and money. To cut down on that, consider using the shade you already have.

You can make the most of the existing shade by setting up a hammock under some trees in your backyard or adding a bench on your favorite path. This will give you a retreat in your own yard.


Not all plants will thrive without access to sunlight. Some will do the opposite, actually. It’s important to take a look at your landscaping and make sure you aren’t shielding plants that need those UV rays to survive.

If you’re ready to switch those plants out, look for shade-tolerant shrubs and plants. Oakleaf hydrangea and leatherleaf mahonia do well without sunlight and climbing hydrangeas can help you be creative with your landscaping in those shady areas.

If you’re ready to add some shade to your yard, Great American Landscapes can help. We’ll take a look at your yard and create a plan to keep your outdoor areas cooler during the hottest months of the year. Fill out this questionnaire or call us at (301) 972-5681 to get started on your project.

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Great American Landscapes

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