Creating Summer Shade With Vertical Shade Gardens

When one thinks about creating shade on their property, what first come to mind are using trees. A single tree with a large expansive canopy is ideal for creating a shady corner in the backyard. A row of tall trees along both sides of a long pathway offers a hall affect along with shade.

A vertical shade garden.
Example of a vertical shade garden.

However, if your property is small and you still want to establish more shade for those sizzling days of summer, then another alternative to trees is to create vertical gardens. These creations with the vertical garden expanding above the ground offers interesting visuals and deep shade specifically in the parts of the property where you want it. It also saves space and creates beautiful outdoor living areas where you can entertain guest or simply enjoy with the family.

What’s also so good about this source of shade is that you can use many varieties of plants from fruits and vegetables to green foliage.

For the concept to work the plants need to be growing on an overhead structure.

Ideal Structures For Vertical Shade Gardens

The structures that hold up the vertical gardens must be sturdy. Ideal forms of structures include pergolas and arbors. They are stable, pretty to the eye, and easy to make. They can also be purchased from local gardening or hardware stores if you don’t want to hire someone or you don’t want to construct the edifice. The concept of vertical gardens also provides a seamless progression from the garden above the ground with the garden on the ground. It also results in a natural appearance about which no one will complain.

Plants For Vertical Shade Gardens

Just about any plant would work in a vertical shade garden. So the choice of what to use is totally up to you. Plants that tend to creep such as vines work great. However, you will have to decide whether you want to create an annual or perennial shade garden.

Perennials will offer shade for many years to come. However, you will need to prune these plants. Annuals won’t last for beyond a year, but they do give you an opportunity to change up the specie of plants you use. You can experiment with plants that offer different blooms or vegetables. Still, you will have to re-plant every year and give them time to fill out the area and grow.

Flowing vines, fruits, and vegetables lend well to shade gardens and provide you with edibles that you can harvest and enjoy during the year.


No doubt, when thinking of a vertical shade garden, vining flowers quickly come to mind. They provide great shade and a beautiful appearance. Roses, morning glory, wisteria, honeysuckle, trump vine, golden hops, climbing hydrangea, and jasmine are great examples of vining flowers to use. These plants thrive on all types of trellises and will present a lot of color and shade.

Non-Flowering Plants

Of course, vining flowers attract pollinating insects, which you may not want to encounter when relaxing. A great option is non-flowering vines. Plants of the ivy family provide terrific shade. Other options include Virginia creeper, climbing fig, greenbriar, and fatshedera. However, these plants require pruning and are somewhat evasive and thus try to spread to closely situated structures.


Using fruit plants provide the added benefit of being able to pluck a sample and partake as you enjoy the comfortable conditions. Fruits that would prove ideal include grapes, melons kiwi, and passion fruit. However, before choosing fruit for your vertical shade garden be aware that they can rot on the vine and attract an assortment of insects and perhaps an odor as well.


Trellising vegetables is an ideal alternative to fruit, non-flowing plants, and flowers. There is the benefit of having food to harvest for the dinner table, they make managing weeds easier and they help to provide improved air circulation. Vegetables that vine include cucumbers, squash, gourds, beans, peas, and tomatoes.


About Robert Janis

Written by Robert Janis for LawnEq - Your specialists for Lawn Mower Parts and Small Engine Parts. We offer genuine premium OEM parts for Land Pride, Toro and many more dependable manufacturers.