12 Charming Ways to Make Your Small Front Porch Pop
By Ed Ball | Published on September 28, 2020 | 2 min read
When we think about shade in the garden, we typically think about large, established trees, with many of them likely in place long before the house was built. Yet, creating shaded areas is easier than you might think and faster than waiting 20 years for a tree to mature. Also, the benefits of adding shade to your yard go well beyond creating a backdrop to enjoy lemonade on a hot day.
When it comes to creating a shady retreat in your yard, trees top the list. But you are not necessarily relegated to having large, traditional shade trees like Oaks, Maples and Poplars to get the job done. Intermediate trees such as Cherry and Redbud are large enough to create shade, and don’t require decades to mature. And just like large traditional shade trees, intermediate trees provide seasonal interest and absorb water while preventing runoff.
If you’re looking to add shade while also defining a living space, then a physical structure might be a viable option. A Pergola may only provide dappled shade, but adding climbing vines can bring more reliable protection from the sun while creating a living wall. We also work with a company called StruXure that offers a complete system with louvers and optional fans and lights.
Pavilions offer more permanent shade since they have roofs, but still often remain open on the sides. Screens can be added to create an outdoor room, protected from the rain and biting insects.
In most cases, the best solution is a combination of structure and plantings to achieve both form and function while ensuring year-round beauty and interest. Our primary goal is to offer respite from the sun and we work in concert with your home’s architecture to design an inviting space that increases the time you can spend in your yard.
Surprising Benefits of Shade
Adding shade to your yard can undoubtedly create cool areas and protection from the sun. But did you know that the effects of shade go beyond the immediate structure or tree? Shade reduces the yard’s ambient temperature around it as well – so the whole yard is cooler as a result. Reducing the temperature of the yard can also help cool your home, easing demand on your air conditioner and lowering your electric bill.
Another benefit of adding shade is water conservation and efficient use of water. With the heavy rains we see in this region, trees reduce the amount of rain that falls directly on the ground, allowing the soil valuable time to absorb the water. Absorbing the water is not only beneficial for the plants but also reduces the runoff of water into your neighbor’s yard.
Shade helps retain water in another way by reducing and slowing evaporation, again giving your yard a chance to utilize it efficiently. Shade also helps with irrigation systems, reducing the resources required to water your landscape thoroughly.
These benefits extend to all the plants in your yard – from the tallest trees to the lowest ground cover. Even sun-loving plants appreciate a break from intense sunlight and added water retention in the soil. Our designs include layered plant materials to afford the ground time to absorb and use water, therefore, keeping more of the rainfall in your yard.
Adding shade to your garden will help you manage water, cut electricity costs, control erosion, and reduce runoff while providing a beautiful place to get out of the sun. Who knew shade was so cool?