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Tree for shade on the terrace: fast-growing tree species and beautiful espalier trees

In summer, all garden owners shift life to the terrace. The outdoor area fulfills several functions at once and is ideal for both lounging and barbecuing. If the terrace is in full sun all day long, then only one thing helps: sun protection. In addition to sails, parasols and co, the tree is also suitable as a shade for the terrace . In today’s article, we list several types of trees with an umbrella-shaped crown.

1. which trees are suitable for shade?

Tree for shade for terrace

During hot spells in summer, they provide shade for the terrace and garden: the house trees with an umbrella-shaped tree crown are essential for sunny seating areas. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a tree:

  • Tree choice: evergreen or deciduous. The tree should fit harmoniously into the garden and complete the overall picture.
  • Growth height and width of the tree: this is very important for garden planning, because it allows you to estimate whether the available space is sufficient.
  • Root spread: If the tree roots spread too much, they can cause numerous damages, such as lifting paving stones.

Tree as a shade tree for terrace and seating area in the garden tips

  • Shape of the tree canopy: Tall trees provide enough space for the dining table and garden chairs. However, they are not the best shade trees as they usually have a compact crown. Trees with drooping branches are also not very suitable. Woody plants with a trunk that has large leaves are the best choice.
  • Growth rate: trees that grow too slowly will not serve as shade trees for 10-20 years. Trees that grow too fast and do not tolerate topiary may develop in such a way that they do not cast shade on the terrace at all.

2. what tree to provide shade for the terrace?

Which tree to choose as a shade tree for terrace

You wonder which tree is suitable as a shade tree for your terrace? The following four groups are well suited: fast-growing deciduous trees, fast-growing conifers, tree species with an umbrella-like crown and espalier trees. Each group has its advantages and disadvantages.

Deciduous trees are very suitable for a terrace that is close to the house. Thus, in summer, the tree provides cooling shade for the house and garden. Then in the fall, it sheds its leaves and the terrace and the house get more sunlight. This allows the house facade to dry quickly after a rain. The disadvantage of deciduous trees is that they require about more maintenance: you have to dispose of the autumn leaves.

Choose deciduous tree for terrace with umbrella-shaped crown


Conifers are easier to care for and provide sun and privacy protection all year round . However, they do not tolerate underplanting and also grow quite tall. Therefore, they are more suitable for seating areas in the garden.

Trees with an umbrella-shaped crown require regular topiary. But the approximately greater care pays off, because they cast shade specifically only on the terrace.

Trellis trees can completely replace a pergola. Here, the choice of the right variety plays a decisive role in its success.

Choosing a tree is not an easy task. Especially because it will develop for many years. Once planted, it is a permanent garden element. Therefore, it is worth thinking ahead and seeking expert advice.

2.1 Fast-growing deciduous trees for shade on terraces

Fast growing deciduous trees for shade bluebell tree

The bluebell tree (Paulownia tomentosa) has a loose crown and large leaves with a heart shape. In spring it forms very beautiful purple flowers. Since it is a deep rooter, it is suitable for underplanting . It grows about 50 cm per year. Its only disadvantage is its size. It grows about 10 meters wide and 15 meters high.

The vinegar tree (Rhus) has a dense, but not completely opaque crown. Depending on the variety, it reaches a maximum growth height of 6 meters. Nevertheless, it can provide cooling shade and allows enough light to pass through for potted plants.  The vinegar tree has no special requirements for soil and tolerates both heat and frost. Even urban climates and air pollution do not bother it. The vinegar tree is a shallow rooter and sprouts vigorously. Therefore, a root barrier is necessary.

The trumpet tree has a compact spherical and very dense crown. It tolerates topiary, so it is perfect for planting around the patio. It grows up to 12 feet wide and tall. The trumpet tree scores with rapid growth and gains 40 cm in height annually with good care. Its spreading umbrella-shaped crown makes it the perfect shade tree for the patio.

Mountain ash is an excellent shade tree for the patio. The deciduous tree gains up to 70 cm in height annually and reaches its maximum growth height of 12 meters in less than 20 years. The mountain ash sheds its foliage in late autumn, so that in winter the house and terrace get enough sunlight.

fast growing deciduous trees for terrace field maple care


Unlike other native shade trees, the field maple (Acer campestre) grows rather compactly. This tree species gains 45 cm in height annually and grows to a maximum height of around 15 meters. Its roundish dense crown grows 10 meters wide. In the garden, next to the terrace, it provides not only sun protection, but also wind protection. The field maple has a great ecological value, because it attracts bees and bumblebees and provides nesting place for birds.

2.2 Which tree for shade in the garden? Fast growing conifers

conifers as shade trees for garden primeval redwood tree

The Blue Atlas Cedar is a fast-growing conifer that lends itself to the large garden. It is the perfect shade tree for patios that are not directly adjacent to the house. The Atlas cedar grows about 25 feet tall and 12 feet wide.

Sickle fir comes from China, where it reaches a height of 40 meters. However, for the domestic garden are especially interesting cultivars. For example, the variety “Compacta” grows up to 4 meters high. Do not be mistaken by the young plants in the garden center: the young trees are very slender, but after several years they form their typical pyramidal crown.

Scots pine fast growing conifer for terrace in partial shade

Scots pine (Pinus Sylvestris) gains about 50 cm in height, depending on the variety. It has an umbrella-shaped, loose and translucent crown. So if you prefer a seat in partial shade, this conifer is the one for you.

The virgin sequoia (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) is fast growing. It reaches a maximum growth height of 35 m and grows up to 10 m wide. It is a good choice for sunny corners of the garden where you want to create a seating area. If the patio is not directly next to the house, then the primeval sequoia is a good choice. However, since it is a shallow rooter, you should keep the necessary distance from the terrace and garden paths.

2.3. tree for terrace shading: species with an umbrella-shaped tree crown.

Garden design with Judas tree as shade tree ideas

Fan maple (Acer palmatum) grows really strong and reaches a maximum height of growth of 7 meters. It is conditionally hardy and cannot tolerate strong winds.

The Judas tree (Cercis siliqaustrum) grows slowly. The young tree initially has a compact crown with large kidney-shaped leaves. Multi-stemmed cultivars then develop their typical umbrella-shaped crown after several years.

Black elder tree for terrace

Black elderberry (Sambucus Nigra) has an upright but fairly loose growth habit and an umbrella-shaped crown. The Black Elder grows really fast and reaches its maximum growth height of 7 meters in 6 years.

Copper rock pear (Amelanchier lamarckii) is a multi-stemmed tree with an umbrella-shaped crown. The rock pear tolerates topiary, although in most cases it is not necessary. It reaches a maximum growth height of 6 feet and grows just as wide. The woody plant provides food for birds and insects.

3. planting trellis tree for shade

Trellis trees as shade for terrace and garden

An espalier tree may be the perfect shade tree for the patio. There are many varieties that have a roof-shaped crown, but the roof plane is the all-time favorite. In favor of the roof plane is its fast growth and large leaves. But there are other tree species that are in no way inferior to it in terms of sun protection. And they all have similar care requirements. Their crowns should be guided in the first years. So they need a trellis. All espalier trees need topiary, but it should be done only in the spring, when they have no foliage.

If you do not have experience with espalier trees, then you should seek advice from a nursery. Be sure to discuss the following factors with a professional:

Trellis tree as shade for terrace ideas

  • The climate,
  • The soil conditions,
  • Any experience with pests and pathogens in your own garden.
  • The maximum tree height, the growth rate, the maximum width of the tree crown.
  • The available space incl. nearby garden paths and water pipes.
  • The distance to the patio, house, garden shed and property line. Possibly the distance to other trees (root competition).
  • Some tree species require a root barrier.
  • Neighborhood and state regulations regarding house trees.

Popular species:

The hornbeam as an espalier tree (Carpinus betulus). The hornbeam is available in garden centers as a tall trunk tree and as a hedge plant. Depending on the variety, the high trunk tree reaches a maximum growth height of 14 meters and grows around 8 meters wide. Its crown is slightly arched downward, very dense and has horizontal branches.

Roof plane tree as trellis tree for small terrace

The roof plane (Platanus hispanica) is the classic among the espalier trees. It reaches a maximum width of 20 meters and scores with a spherical crown. The tree gains up to 60 cm in height annually and grows up to 35 meters high.

Evergreen espalier tree: The cherry laurel (Prunus laurocerasus Caucasica) retains its green foliage all year round and in this way fulfills two important functions at the same time, acting as a shade provider and privacy screen. Depending on the variety, it reaches a growth height of 3 to 6 meters. The tree has a dense crown with elongated and narrow leaves. It is a deep rooter and can be easily underplanted. The cherry laurel is a beautiful addition to the Mediterranean-designed patio and looks great with olive trees, lavender and Mediterranean flowers.

Certain fruit trees such as pears, as well as some varieties of linden are also well suited as espalier trees.