Time to Throw Some Shade

This year has been a scorcher! With summer temperatures in Ontario rising to 30°C and feeling even hotter, we could all use the relief that shade provides.









Direct sun is hard on everyone, compounded with the summer heat.

Nobody wants to be cooped up in their home on a beautiful summer day, especially with a nice backyard just waiting to be played or partied in. A shade tree could be your answer! Besides helping to clean the air and water, creating habitat and food for wildlife, and adding aesthetic value to your yard, trees can increase the usability of your yard during the hot summer months.







A carefully planned shaded area creates a comfortable space to relax in, even if the rest of your yard is in full sun.

Here’s how you can make the most of your yard. First, figure out which area of your yard you’d like to use the most—is it the swing set for the kids, is it the outdoor dining table, or is it both? Once you decide where you want the shade, you’ve got to decide when you want it. Remember that the sun moves throughout the day, so you’ll have to place your tree depending on whether you want shade in the morning or late afternoon. Of course, you can always plant two trees in different locations to keep an area shaded for a longer period.








Shade is integral to you guests’ comfort during your backyard party.















This newly planted tree will soon grow up to provide shade and add to the aesthetic appeal and usability of this yard!


Take a look at York Region’s Shade Audit Document, which supplies information about shade and includes a helpful planning sheet. There’s a diagram that you can fill out yourself, or if you have kids, you can use it as a fun and practical tool to teach them about the natural environment in their own backyard! It’s a unique opportunity for them to be involved in every step of an important project, from planning, to planting, to enjoying the shade for years to come.

Whether you’re comfortable with planning the location of your tree based on your shade audit or prefer to have some help, we’re here for you! As part of our Full Service Backyard Tree Planting program, we offer an on-site consultation, where we can help you figure out where to plant if you want shade at a specific time of day, and we deliver and plant the tree too. If you opt for our DIY program, we still do an online consultation where we use a global imaging system to actually view your yard so that we can help you make the best placement choice. If you do decide to plant a tree, check out either our Full Service Backyard Tree Planting or DIY Tree Planting. Native tree species that we offer that are especially shady include sugar maple, hackberry, bur oak and basswood. Contact us today to plant one of these trees, or another shady species!

The Backyard Tree Planting Program is supported by the City of Toronto, the Regional Municipality of York, Toronto Hydro, the Town of Newmarket, the Town of Ajax, and the town of Oakville.

Rachel is the Marketing and Education Assistant at LEAF.