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Shade gardening

An umbrella, a gazebo, a sail, a tree… they all create shade to make living in the garden more enjoyable.


They can be permanent fixtures bolted into walls and concreted to the ground, or may be temporary to be taken away after its function has concluded.


To determine the best structure for shade, ask yourself:

  • how often do I need shade in that area
  • will I need additional structures to create the shade
  • do I want solid shade or part shade
  • what is my budget and how soon do I want the shade

If you plan to use an area a lot and would benefit from having permanent shade that is waterproof, consider building an outdoor entertainment area complete with roof, guttering and concrete/paver flooring. 


If you plan to use it periodically for entertainment but do not wish the expense of a new construction, consider having shade sails installed. These can be self installed provided suitable supports are present to bolt the sails to.


Alternatively you can have them professionally installed in a range of patterns, colours and opacity (shade intensity). Major hardware stores sell all parts to undertake the self installation.


If time is on your side then consider trees. Wonderfully economical in price especially when plants are bought young, however it may take many years for a small tree to grow to a suitable shade size. Select your trees carefully as some create dense shade, others dappled shade, and others are deciduous.


With a general move by councils to encourage rainfall to enter the soil rather than wastefully enter storm water systems, it is perhaps more advantageous to invest in a few large trees. Large trees delivered and planted into your yard can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.


Fast growing shade trees for large properties:-

  • Akee (Blighia sapida)
  • Corkwood (Melicope elleryana)
  • Ice cream bean (Inga edulis)
  • Flame tree (Brachychiton acerifolius)
  • Yellow flame tree (Peltophorum pterocarpum)
  • Pride of Bolivia (Tipuana tipu)


Fast growing shade trees for small properties:-

  • Annatto/Lipstick plant (Bixa orellana)
  • Carambola (Averrhoa carambola)
  • Cassia sp.  Paluma Range
  • Flowering potato tree (Solanum wrightii)
  • Fraxinus griffithii
  • Little Evodia (Evodiella muelleri)


Deciduous trees for summer shade and winter sun:-

  • Burdekin plum (Pleiogynium timorense)
  • Cassia ‘Rainbow Shower’
  • Crepe myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica)
  • Frangipani (Plumeria rubra)
  • Poor man’s orchid (Bauhina variegata)
  • Trumpet trees (Tabebuia species)




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