Cool Your Home – Choosing Trees for Shade

shade trees

Cool Your Home with Trees

Is your street hot? Are you living in an area that is suffering from the Urban Heat Island Effect and craving some shade? Don’t just put up a patio or shade sails, plant more trees!  The best trees for shade to cool down your home are those massive trees planted 50+years ago. You know, those large n leafy Jacarandas, and Plane trees plus others that line leafy suburbs, growing more than 15m+ and usually found in older areas close to the city or town centres in surrounding parks and gardens, sucking up urban pollution and creating cool patches around the city. – But this isn’t practical for our small plots of land that have been taken over by large houses. We care way too much about tree roots getting into the plumbing and cracked retaining walls.

And fair enough, but we really need to do something to counteract the rising temps in our suburbs. Something that probably should have been addressed at the pre-development level by local shires, now rests in our hands. We’ve got to be planting more trees.

Aside from uncomfortable rise in temps in the suburbs, there’s the huge environmental impact as we use more energy to cool homes, there’s less biodiversity in our urban areas, and associated health problems with more heat related deaths.  Plus, the mental aspect – we’re just happier living amongst trees.

We’re still suffering from the hangover of those  ‘low maintenance’ gardens thrust upon us from early 2000. You know those gardens thrown together using  grassy, spiky yuccas and cordylines, flax and dianellas. While these plants are very easy to look after and quite drought tolerant, they quickly look scraggly if not kept up and they don’t really encourage the birds and insects into the backyard, or provide much shade. Yes, they were a low maintenance, hard to kill type of garden, so we could focus on the important stuff like buying all the latest mod cons and toys for our larger homes. But now the burbs are heating up and we need to remedy this by creating shade back into our gardens.

Here’s a list of trees that you could use to create more shade in the garden

Large Shrubs  

Great for smaller blocks, these large shrubs can grow into small shade creating trees.

Large shrubs can be quite useful for creating shade. Plant different varieties with trees and you’ll have lots of local wildlife like birds, bees and lizards making a home in your garden – creating a little microclimate for these little guys.

Hibiscus cottonwood – used a lot in landscaping projects all over the place. It likes living in our corner of the world and grows quickly.

Viburnums -Very versatile large shrubs. We usually have a few varieties growing. Can grow in the full sun. Or in the shade. Great for those narrow areas down the side of the house.

Syzygium -Lilly Pilly – Bush Christmas can grow up to 4m, creating a beautiful, evergreen little tree for shade that small birds, like the Blue Wren, make homes in as it has dense foliage.

Magnolia Little Gem – Chunky, white flowers year round, this is the small version of the huge 20m+ Magnolia grandiflora. These are a very adapatable small tree that can be planted in the sun and in shade.

Bottle Brush – WA favourite, fast growing, big beautiful flowrs and they can be grown in wide range of soil types and sun and shade positions.

Grevillea – Enjoy these year round, Grevilleas are really easy to grow. Fast growing and bird and bee attracting, as many are long flowering.

Crepe Myrtle – This is one of our favourites here at Lakeside. In the heat of summer, Crepe Myrtle will dazzle you with its vibrant flowers. Leave as a large shrub or train into a multi stemmed tree. Spectacular flowers in the heat of summer. Long flowering. Well suited to our climate. Can grow 3m – 7m depending on variety.

Small – Medium Sized Trees 

 Agonis flexuosa – Peppy Trees – native to our Southwest area, these trees are very easy to grow and the local, wildlife likes them too.

Chinese Elm – classic deciduous tree with an interesting shape. Quick to grow and easy care.

Gleditsia There are  3 types. Ruby Lace, Sunburst and Shade Master – Quick growing, these trees put out a lovely shade canopy.

Chinese Tallow very popular deciduous tree that does very well in Western Australia’s hot and sunny climate. Chinese Tallow is fast growing and displays gorgeous Autumn colours.

Evergreen Ash – Lovely small tree with dense, evergreen foliage. Use these as tree row against a fence with shrubs planted underneath.

Silver Birch  – this deciduous tree has a gorgeous stark white character trunk that cracks with age and contrasts beautifully with small, dainty green foliage.

Flowering Plums – add one of these to your garden for a splash of red/purple.

Cercis – American Redbud or Forest Pansy – a beautiful small tree with heart shaped leaves.

Ornamental Pear – there’s a few different choices when it comes to this tree. Choose one that suits your block. They range from column shaped, upright tree shape to more of a traditional pyramid shaped tree. All display autumn colours.

Olive Trees – grow 6-10m. Can be kept clipped and are easy to grow, plus you get olives!

Large Trees

Pick these trees if you’ve got some room for the canopy and roots to grow. These are big, beautiful shade giving trees.

Jacaranda – everyone’s favourite tree that flowers in late Spring and Summer. Creates a gorgeous shady canopy

Tipuanu Tipu – fast growing tree with fern like foliage. Also has a nice canopy for shade

London Plane – elegant and grand, these trees can grow quite large.

Brachychiton – big leaves that stay most of the year, followed by bright red flowers.

Alford Blaze  – this oriental plane tree produces fiery red foliage in Autumn.

Claret Ash – Lovely tree with soft, handsome foliage that turns a deep claret colour in Autumn

Liquid Amber – well known large tree with large, colourful autumn foliage. Quick to grow



tree rows

Come and check out our tree nursery or get in touch with us if you’re after a specific tree for your backyard.















Tuart Forest Primary School Mother’s Day Fundraiser

cordyline and syngonium planters

Welcome to Tuart Forest Primary School Mother’s Day Fundraiser 

This fundraiser has now finished. Interested in a plant fundraiser for your school? Get in touch with us to discuss

Celebrate Mother’s Day with the gift of a living plant for Mum!

Indoor Plants are In!    As well as being highly decorative, keeping plants indoors have loads of of air filtering benefits for your home    We’ve been testing out indoor plants for many years and grow those that are easy to keep.  Now we’re making it easy for you to get a gift for Mum.

It’s easy, here’s what to do

  • Select from the plants below and place your order here online

  •  Pick up from school on Friday 6 May from 2.30pm, just in time for Mother’s Day 8 May

Thankyou!!  We are grateful for your support. As well as purchasing great quality plants you’ll be helping our  P&C association  raise funds for school resources that benefit your kids


Clean Air Plants for Your Home & Office

cordyline rubra syngonium pixie houseplants

What are the best plants to bring indoors?

We’ve been busy cultivating an array of plants for indoors or patio that we’ve tested out over the years based on our own practical experience. Adding indoor plants is an easy decorating measure that just makes it feel nicer inside. We’re always bringing up new plants to the house and love how plants add shape and texture to a room as well as interesting silhouettes on the wall when the sun shines through – think big, leafy Philodendrons,  bright red Cordylines, Fiddle-leaf Figs, as well as Mother-in-Laws Tongue.  Aside from their handsome good looks, these plants, as well as a heap of others can make your home and office a healthier place to be.

Toxic build up indoors

How’s the air quality inside your home?  Has your place been recently renovated?  or are you stuck in an office with a lot of people and no ventilation?  Got newish furniture or carpets? Cookware with chemical coatings?   What effect does all this it have on our health?

Use Plants To Filter The Inside Air

Plants improve the quality of the air that you breathe.  According to NASA,  who have done some intense planty research, they’re  adept at soaking up unhealthy toxic compounds that we have lurking in all sorts of chemical junk that we bring home via synthetic carpets, protective coatings, furnishings, varnishes and paints – stuff like benzene, toluene, formaldehyde, and ammonia – all lumped together to be known as volatile organic compounds or VOCs and have been blamed for causing asthma and other respiratory problems, allergies, rashes and general malaise. If you look into the NASA studies, they’ve really only researched a few plants and some are better than others at removing certain pollutants. In my humble, non researched opinion though, it stands to reason that plants that weren’t included in the study will also have benefits when used as Indoor plants.

And, it’s not just the plants that clean the air! Bring in the micro-bugs!

There’s lots of buggy research going on these days on the importance of healthy microbiomes in various eco systems. Stuff like the human gut and its micro-organisms  the connection to the brain and how it influences our emotions.  Or how healthy soil teaming with living micro-organisms have a symbiotic relationship with plants.  And it is really quite fascinating to discover that the soil organisms that are brought into the house along with your plants have air filtering qualities that suck up these VOCs, storing them in plant tissue with some evidence suggesting that they may even destroy airborne pathogenic viruses and bacteria!!


 Ever heard of Sick Building Syndrome?  Allergens and toxins (aka Airborne Volatile Compounds or VOCs) build up in the home  causing ill health in the form of respiratory symptoms, asthma, rashes and general malaise. Problem is, in any closed off area, with lack of ventilation - we're left with the toxic effects of all our modern day materials. Synthetic, paints, glues, fabrics and carpets all omit gases and odors that can cause these health problems, as well as our own human produced waste products from breathing.


Monstera DeliciosaChoosing Your Indoor Plants

General rule of thumb for house plants. The bigger the plant and the broader its foliage, the more surface area for gas exchange (ie oxygen production, and carbon dioxide consumption). The broader the foliage, the more it can tolerate the lack of light.  Many tropical plants fall into this category as they’re understory plants that are in the shade most of the day and have developed their broad foliage as a way to store the sun’s energy.

It all starts with the Potting Media

Get the right potting mix. Don’t skimp on this. Your plants are only as good as the potting media that they’re living in and a quality mix will ensure your plants are happy.  It sounds obvious, but our potting mix is designed for plants that grow in pots. It is different than landscape soil mixes and other organics or amendments that you use to put plants into the ground in your garden.  We grow thousands of plants in pots and have developed the best mix for use on all of our potted plants – a recipe that is free draining, while holding onto water and nutrient.  Our free draining, fertile blend contains super ingredients like zeolite, a mineral that holds onto nutrient and water and rock dust which also keeps nutrients locked in and available to the plant, rather than draining out. We also add a 12- 14 month slow release fertiliser plus mycorrhizal inoculants to this mix to slowly feed your plants. Come in and check it out.

Then the Watering

Watering requirements for each plant do vary. The plants that require the least amount of watering, for those of you who tend to be a bit light handed when it comes to remembering to give your plants are drink are succulent type plants like Sansevieria and also Cordylines and Dracenas and syngoniums.


Here’s a list of plants that we find are suitable for Indoors (or your patio) Click on the links below for more information on each plant.

  1. Sansevieria – this is one of the easiest plants to look after – and is a great choice for the bedroom as it converts CO2 into O2 at night time!! (most plants do this in the day as a by product of photosynthesis)
  2. Ficus benjamina – (pictured above) put a tree in your lounge room – lovely, weeping, glossy foliage
  3. Ficus starlight – the variegated leaves lighten this plant, would brighten up a dark area
  4. Monstera Deliciosia – climbing plant with large foliage and interesting aerial roots
  5. Philodendron Imperial Red  Easy to grow plant with large foliage.
  6. Fiddle Leaf Fig – On trend indoor decorative plant
  7. Syngonium pixie –  will trail out of pot or can be kept pruned upright. Heart shaped foliage. Can be used to underplant a pot. Is really great at looking good when not watered.
  8. Syngonium Cordyline Multiplanter – 2 plants in one pot.
  9. Cordyline terminalis ruby one of the easiest to care for indoor or patio plants with a beautiful ruby red colour.
  10. Cordyline terminalis purple prince another easy care indoor plants with a striking purple colour
  11. Dracena Marginata  handsome feature plant with good architectural form. Prefers to be kept on the dryer side.
  12. Bangalow Palms or here – these are quite easily kept in pots indoors. They’ll put up a nice canopy, even in smaller pots.
  13. Golden Cane Palm – NASA tests have shown this to remove toxins from the home. Very easy to keep indoors.  Can tolerate lower light areas. They do like to be kept watered regularly. We have these in our lounge room, 3 x pots placed into a planter box with no holes at the bottom. They’re actually putting on new growth!
  14. Banana Plant – Its broad foliage would look lovely kept indoors – grab a leaf or two for use in Asian cooking.
  15. Strelitzia nicolai – indoors, this ‘giant’ bird of paradise will add height and big, green leafy foliage.
  16. Croton – originating from Indonesia, Crotons are bold and bright.  This particular variety ‘Mammy’ has the most interesting foliage – watch it twist and turn as it grows.

Here’s some really nice Patio Planters that would be great for house too. We have Square Patio Planters and Round Patio Planters

Patio Planter Bangalow Palm Philodendron Mondo grassBangalow Palm Xanadu Patio Planter






Here’s more that we’ve got in stock  that would work. Elephant ears, Spathyphyllum, Rhapis Palm, Kentia Palm, Ponytail palm, Jade Plant, Aralia.  What else has worked for you? What would you add to this list?


Indoor Plants at a Glance, Go Here


This article was updated May 2016