If you’re looking to set your backyard up for summer, your first task is to figure out which trees are great for shade. Summer in Australia is synonymous with the outdoors – soaking up the warmth and sunshine at every available chance. What better place to relish in the warmth than the comfort of your own backyard?
Investing in some thick foliage trees for your yard can allow you to enjoy the outdoors beneath the protection of generous shade cover. The Everlast landscaping pros have pulled together this comprehensive guide to the best trees for shade. Get that green thumb at the ready!
How to Pick the Best Trees for Shade
Before you rush into choosing the biggest, leafiest tree you can find, there are a few considerations to make. Your climate, property size and visual preferences will determine which trees are great for shade.
Most importantly, the size of your yard. And by extension, the potential height and spread of your chosen foliage. If you pick one that’s going to shoot into the sky, will this be a problem for neighbours or infrastructure? In the same vein, one that has a wide spread will need ample space around it to grow without interfering with other plants or fences.
The second question to ask yourself if whether you want evergreen or deciduous trees – or a mix of both? Evergreen trees will keep your backyard sheltered in shade all year round. You’ll need to weigh up whether this suits your warmer climate or if you’d prefer sun to reach your yard in the cooler seasons. By contrast, deciduous trees will drop their leaves in time for winter to roll around, allowing your yard to bask in the sunlight. You’ll have leafy green shade coverage in summer followed by glorious red and orange hues come autumn.
Large Trees for Shade
For those who have ample space to work with, or sprawling yards, these large shade trees will grow to over 10m.
- Red Maple – As the name suggests, Red Maples offer a fiery red hue come autumn. These glorious trees grow to 12m tall and 8m wide, making them great trees for shade.
- Jacaranda – The Jacaranda is an Australian staple, despite actually being native to Brazil. Their iconic purple flowers can infuse a burst of colour into your yard, while their towering 15m height provides abundant shade cover.
- Blackwood – This towering giant soars up to 30m high and 15m wide. Be wary of their hardy roots which can wreak havoc underground.
Small Trees for Shade
It can be hard to determine which trees are great for shade cover if you only have a small space to work with. Rest assured, these compact plants deliver big on shade for their size.
- Magnolia ‘teddy bear’ – Growing to just 4m, the adorable magnolia is perfect to perch beneath with a book on a sunny day. Its leaves have a deep green glossy finish, making it a striking feature in any garden.
- Tahitian Lime – What’s better than a tree that delivers on shade AND delicious limes? Be aware, these citrus trees tend to perform best in warmer climates.
- Dwarf Flowering Gum – Also an iconic Australian native, the dwarf flowering gum is compact in size, with a dense canopy and brilliant, unique, red flowers.
Evergreen Trees for Shade
To keep the backyard sheltered beneath leafy, green foliage all year round, these evergreen trees are your go-to garden additions.
- Yellow Box – If you’re looking to add an Aussie bush look to your yard, you can’t go past the Yellow box. Not only is it one of the top trees for shade, but it’s also extremely adaptable to different climates.
- Coast Banksia – This tree is typically selected for its ornamental value; however, it shouldn’t be overlooked for the shade its foliage offers. Its distinctive cylindrical yellow flowers are a gorgeous garden element.
- Tristaniopsis ‘Luscious’ – Growing to almost 7m in height, the ‘Luscious’ is a low maintenance shade tree due to its minimal leaf drop. It develops an oval shape making it more suited to spaces with little room for spread.
Deciduous Trees for Shade
These deciduous trees offer brilliant colour changes through the season while providing shade cover through the hotter months.
- Japanese Maple – A stunning focal tree, the Japanese Maple turns an electric red in Autumn. It comes in a range of sizes so you can pick the perfect shade coverage for your yard.
- Cut Leaf Birch – The weeping branches of this tree make it an eye-catching addition to any space. Perfect for perching beneath the weeping limbs on a summer day.
- Golden Robinia – Transforming from a lime green in summer to a striking gold in Autumn, this deciduous tree offers filtered shade beneath its broad pinnate leaves.