When you plan your deck or patio you have to take into account how much shade it will have. A key part of having an amazing outdoor space is proper balance between sunlight and shade.
Patio umbrellas and shade sails help homeowners quickly control the sunshine, but a lot of people wonder if they can effectively grow a natural shade element to protect them from the sun.
Growing shade can be easy. Homeowners with time on their side can plant a tree and wait for it to grow into place. With proper planning and pruning it is possible to provide shade to your patio. Depending on your climate it might even be possible to plant a fruit tree or fragrant flower that adds to the environment.
For people in need of a faster solution, plantings that grow up along a wire, trellis, or guide can provide several months of good shade. Growing your own shade with an ivy or other greenery can provide a very organic, calming space and bring more color into the backyard. It can improve a building’s energy efficiency, and also can be used to create privacy in a more natural way than bringing in a cumbersome umbrella.
The Green Screen project shown above is by the Hideo Kumaki Architect Office and is one of the most popular examples of effectively growing shade using ivy or other plants.
Types of Plants for Growing Shade
A plant curtain can be grown using a number of different plants including morning glory, sweet pea, bitter melon vines, and more. Morning glory works well and they have a nice flower that blooms in the morning. Flowering bougainvillea can also be lovely. Carefully consider what sort of plant is right for your climate and maintenance routine. All plants have advantages and drawbacks that homeowners should be mindful of.
Passion vines work well for homeowners and it can grow quickly up a lattice. The plant provides good shade in the summer. Place a soaker hose underneath it with a wifi water timer to easily keep them watered. The fragrance is great and can often attract birds. Jasmine and thumburgia also work well on a trellis or arch.
Hops is another popular choice for growing shade. Hops dies back to the root system every year and then regrows over the spring. By early summer the plant can start providing good shade. In the winter the vines won’t be there, but the summer and fall will be nice. Plus it will smell good and you can use the flowers to make beer!
Similarly, many homeowners recommend using grapes to grow natural shade for your deck or patio. The grape vines are sturdy and can provide a lot of ambience all year long. They provide a charming, rusting sense of nature that can enhance a lot of outdoor spaces. The grape vines do have to be trimmed otherwise it will look bad and you won’t get any grapes.
Care and Maintenance of Natural Shade
The trimming of your vines is important and homeowners planting for shade should carefully consider the work involved. While backyard vines and plantings can be beautiful, they routinely will grow several feet a month during the summer. At that rate they can quickly overtake anything in their path like your roof or neighboring trees. Growing your own shade requires a lot of regular trimming.
Ivy can be trained to follow a line or trellis but it does not magically know how to stop when it reaches your roof. A lot of clipping is involved in the beautiful images that you find online promoting shade from ivy, vines, and flowering plants. Maintenance can also be difficult because things die and new things grow on top. If you leave it too long it will make things look like they are half dead. Also, for the best looking shade you have to often cut it back every year and let it regrow so it will only provide shade for a portion of the summer. The maintenance is a big drawback to growing your own shade.
Do You Want Spiders? That’s how you get spiders.
The other big drawback is that spiders, insects, and rodents that might find your planting attractive. The natural element cascading up to your roof presents conducive conditions for animals to travel from the ground to cracks and nooks in your building. Homeowners imagine relaxing at a picnic table underneath a natural green canopy but underestimate just how much people fear a spider jumping down onto them.
Now spiders are useful at killing other insects and they are not known to just jump down out of trees but they can put a lot of fear into some people and quickly spoil a meal. Of course, many people think it is great to have spiders, birds and lizards living in a plant nearby because it keeps the bugs down. Also, the fragrance from a planting often smells good and the bird singing can be great.
Growing your own natural shade using ivy or the like can be an exciting experience. The plants can take root fast and quickly move up the vine to provide you with great shade by the mid summer. Lots of different plants can be used successfully and will provide a positive experience.
However, some homeowners underestimate the work involved in trimming the plants to keep them looking good. Ivy or other shade plants can quickly overgrow your space and end up on the roof and under the shingles where they can make access easy for rodents and bugs. If you are going to stay on top of the maintenance it can be a very rewarding experience, but if not remember that umbrellas and sun shades are so popular because they look nice, install easy, don’t harbor any insects, and are virtually maintenance free.