Welcome back, readers! In last week’s blog, we discussed how a plant’s personality could boost curb appeal, and recapped on container herb gardening. This week we’ll continue to bring you luxury landscaping and organic home lifestyle with the Top 3 garden shade structures! Pour yourself an icy mint julep and let’s go!

Location, location, location!

As with any home project, we’ll need to take a look at your current design and architectural style. If you’re in a Tudor, a plastic exterior won’t do. Likewise, if you own a cottage style house, ultra modern lines won’t align with your aesthetic. So be sure to customize your shade structure to your preferred style, size, and location. Allowing it to blend seamlessly with your home’s architectural and landscape design adds that extra special touch. And speaking of location, consider adding the structure to your west or south-facing walls. It will help reduce your home’s overall heat index and by proxy lower utility bills.

Two Types of Shade Structures

Left: Wood Trellis Pergola Right: Wood Trellis Panel

Best Plants For Creating Shade

Once a shade structure has been added, it’s time to personalize it even further! From classic whitewashed trellis to a custom wooden Pergola archway covering a patio or deck area. Adding shade around building structures over a patio or deck area provides many benefits, including shade, an opportunity for dramatic custom landscape lighting, and thoughtful protection against pesky bugs and mosquitoes. Also, coverage is a breeze! Many varieties of vine species grow quickly and are low maintenance once set up for a season. Many of them even offer fruits or vegetables as a bonus! According to gardening favorite Organic Life, some traditional versions are:

Cardinal climber (Ipomoea x multifida)

Height: Grows to 20 feet

Climate: Good for a dry, hot climate

Appearance: the red flowers and fernlike foliage of this vine attract hummingbirds, in addition to shading your house.


Runner beans (Phaseolus coccineus)

Height: Grows to 15 feet

Climate: Moderate and agile to environment

Appearance: Produces sweet red, white, pink/salmon, or multicolored flowers


Hyacinth bean (Lablab purpureus):

Height: Grows to 20+ feet

Climate: Moderate and agile to environment

Appearance: Serving as a mostly ornamental plant that attracts butterflies, the Hyacinth aka Tobacco Vine, boasts fabulous white or purple flowers over green and reddish foliage


Morning glory (Ipomoea purpurea)

Height: Grows to 10+ feet

Climate: Best on trellis, frames and pergola extension

Appearance: Considered by many to be a “weed” these heart-shaped leaves display a showy pink, blue, red or purple flower that grows quickly adapting to shade structure frames, making it an easy solution to coverage


Which to choose?

If you need help determining which vine looks good season round, call or email us to schedule a consultancy visit! We’ll keep you out of the hot summer sun and make it easy for you to sit under a new shade structure through this season into next!

transparent-glass-icon-business-light-onGardenalia Tip: When it comes to edibles, know your stuff! The Hyacinth Bean, aka “Tobacco Vine” closely resemble sweet peas, but are ONLY edible when cooked! These beans make great, fast growing shade structure and grow in clusters of pale purple and white. 

Shade Structure

Left: Walkway to Trellis Arch Right: Trellis Arch Entry

Investing in your home’s future

According to Realtor.com, 51 percent of buyers surveyed said that outdoor living spaces, like shade structures and patios, were THE most attractive quality in a home, over even “open floor plans and front facing” curb appeal! In addition, more than half of homeowners told Houzz.com they would be improving their home’s outdoor footprint over the summer season. Furthermore, forms of outdoor spaces noted as entertaining spaces, were the “second most popular trend in outdoor design, following gardening and landscaping,” according to the 2014 Residential Landscape Architecture Trends Survey of landscape architects.

Shade Structures Help!

In conclusion, investing in a new shade structure, or outdoor landscape design is not only an excellent answer to summer heat but also worth its weight in real estate value! Also, if you want to find out more, drop us a note and we’ll get back to you with ways to make that shade dream come true!

transparent-glass-icon-business-light-onGardenalia Tip: You can plan your trellis or shade structure maintenance ahead of time with Gardenalia’s hands on white glove service, be sure to check it out and see what we can do to keep your home’s landscape design unified.

Furthermore, as summer keeps you traveling, we’ll be here in Pittsburgh keeping your space lush and green! Stay tuned for next week’s blog on how to make sure your garden and landscape remain beautiful while you’re vacationing! Until then be sure to follow us for special announcements, events, and new gardening inspirations on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.