Best Trees to Plant for Shade for Your Front & Back Yard

On a warm summer day, large trees offer welcome shade. Dense, lush trees can also serve other purposes. For example, they can provide a privacy barrier so that people can’t easily see your property. 

When planting trees for shade, it’s essential to consider your climate. Trees are classified according to hardiness zones, which tell you which plants do well in what environments. Find out what trees you can plant for shade in Alberta, Canada, below. 

Front Yard

When planting trees in your front yard, you don’t just want to create shade. You also want to pick trees that are aesthetically pleasing and enhance your landscaping. This boosts curb appeal, which can play a significant role in determining property value. Here are some options.

Tulip Poplar

The Tulip Poplar grows quickly, at a rate of about 60 centimeters per year, making it a great pick if you’re only starting with tree planting. It features large, green leaves and vibrant, aromatic flowers in the spring. Since poplars grow fast, make sure you leave plenty of room for growth.

Manitoba Maple

You don’t just want a beautiful treescape in the spring. You want some gorgeous colors in the fall, too! The Manitoba Maple will deliver. This tree doesn’t flower. However, it features lovely golden leaves in the fall. These leafy trees create dense shade and are highly cold-tolerant.

Red Maple

Add a Red Maple to the mix if you want to ramp up your fall show of color. These trees create great shade as their branches grow out long and strong. Given the dense leaf growth, you can expect excellent coverage. However, note that you’ll be busy raking leaves during the fall!

Green Pillar Pin Oak

This tree offers the best of both worlds, as it grows both tall and wide. You can expect shade in every direction with a Green Pillar Pin Oak in your yard. Make sure to leave plenty of space when planting to avoid running into neighboring trees to the sides or power lines above.

Laurel Leaf Willow

The Laurel Leaf Willow is a pretty tree that has a round, bushy shape and dark-green leaves. It does best in moist soil with plenty of direct sunlight. Although it doesn’t create any stunning flowers, the dark-green, lush tree can nicely complement more vibrant plants.

Back Yard

When planting trees in your backyard, you don’t have to worry about curb appeal. Here, other factors matter—like creating privacy between your and your neighbors’ yards. You might also consider practical components, like if you want a tree that’s suitable for a treehouse for kids.


Birch trees are tall and sturdy, notable for their beautiful white bark. Accentuate this asset by planting clusters of birth together. The trunks can create a privacy barrier that will remain in winter after the trees have dropped their leaves.

Lodgepole Pine

Pine trees are well-equipped to withstand hardy Canadian winters. On top of that, they’re dense and bushy, creating great privacy. As ever-greens, they don’t make any stunning flowers. However, you can expect them to stay lush and green all year long.

Apple Tree

Trees can do more than offer shade or privacy. They can also provide food! If you want some food growing in your backyard, plant an apple tree. Note that you’ll have to be patient for this one! It can take up to ten years for an apple tree to produce fruit.

Cherry Tree 

A cherry tree is another option for food-growing in your backyard. Cherry trees are relatively compact, making them a great pick if you don’t have vast property. Plus, cherries can be used for everything from pie to preserves, giving you a versatile crop.

As a bonus, cherry trees have beautiful blossoms in the spring. You may be familiar with the cherry blossom festivals in Japan, for example. Why not recreate this experience in your backyard? This aesthetic value means cherry trees can also be handy in your front yard.

Swedish Aspen

If you’re starting from scratch with zero trees in your backyard, you’ll want something that grows fast. Enter the Swedish Aspen. This is a super fast-growing tree. It has less of a circular and more of a columnar shape, giving you plenty of height to create a tall barrier.

The Final Word on Growing Trees for Shade in Your Yard

The tips above are just suggestions, not hard and fast rules. If you’re determined to have a tulip poplar in your backyard, go for it! Keep in mind the purpose of your tree planting (e.g., privacy, aesthetic appeal, food source, etc.) to help guide your decision-making.

The most important thing is that you’re choosing climate-appropriate trees. Tropical plants like palm trees won’t survive a Canadian winter, for example. All of the options above are suitable for the Alberta, Canada, conditions. Take your pick from the list!

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At Tree Removal Calgary Inc., all of our arborists are experts in their field and have the necessary equipment to handle any tree removal situation. We pride ourselves in being familiar with every detail of the process, including using the gear to rig, as well as manipulating and pulling the tree down safely.