For the majority of families, a copious amount of time during the summer is spent in the backyard. From entertaining to playing—the space is multifunctional. However, some yards lack natural shade options. To combat this issue, it’s best to determine what types of foliage can be planted now, ultimately allowing sufficient time for the plants to grow large enough to protect you from the harsh rays in the future.
- Catalina ironwood: Often a large tree with long reaching branches and dense leaves is exactly what an open backyard needs. A tall fern-leaved ironwood is ideal for a sizable yard, as it can grow up to 50 feet. Although it takes years to reach its maximum height, it fares best in climates with notoriously warm summers. If you’re interested in providing shade to the whole space, plant the tree in the middle of the yard. To shade specific areas, plant next to certain structures such as patios and decks.
- Muskogee crape myrtle: If you have a smaller space that is in need of shade, the crape myrtle can be extremely beneficial. Like the ironwood, it boasts overflowing branches and thick flowers that offer maximum coverage. However, it typically grows 6-12 inches per year, only reaching 20 feet, making it ideal for a smaller backyard. Since the myrtle blooms in the summertime, it only requires occasional water and fares best in warmer climate. Another additional feature? Its gorgeous light lavender-pink flowers!
- Hydon Dawn rhododendron: The Hydon Dawn is one of the few rhododendrons that enjoys full sun, making it a great selection for the warmer months. A rhododendron doesn’t require as much time to reach its maximum height of five feet as an ironwood does. Its size makes it ideal for a location around structures like a deck, patio, and pool. The shrub can also be planted around a sidewalk, offering optimum shade during a multitude of outdoor activities. It typically fares best in a warm climate, and blooms vibrant pinky-white flowers around May.
Get your backyard ready for years to come by planting any combination of the above options. Both your friends and family will appreciate the shady area!
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