Three Quick, Easy Shade Ideas to Keep Plants From Burning in Hot Summer Gardens

shade unbrella
Shade cloth on a small garden fence for temporary shade
Shade cloth on a small garden fence for temporary shade

During the heat of summer even plants who like full sun may need a little break. If it has been in the 100’s for a few days, like it has here in Southern California, the plants will be starting to show the stress.

Your first impulse may be to water them more. Sometimes that helps if the plant was dry to begin with. But turning your garden into a bog could make things worse. Instead, try a little temporary shade.

Here are a few cheap, do-it-yourself ideas for shade in the garden:

Staple some shade cloth to the back of a small fence: This is a little piece of fencing left over from a project. I used a staple gun to attach a small piece of shade cloth to the back. The cloth is fastened at the top and down the sides.

The ends of the fence are longer, so I can push them into the soil. Voila! My rose is protected from burnt canes.

You can also build a small square frame and staple on the shade cloth. Either attach a foot to the frame or lean it over your plant (if it is strong enough).

Use up extra tomato cages:  A pretty spring umbrella fits into the top of the cage for a quick patch of deeper shade.  You need to attach the handle of the umbrella to the cage so it doesn’t fly away!

You could also weave shade cloth around a tomato cage. Or get creative and slip an old t-shirt over the cage.

If the plant is too big to fit under the cage, just place the cage between your plant and the late afternoon sun.

Cover your existing fencing: This is a small wire fence covered with a plastic tablecloth from the dollar store.

quick shade for plants using a small fence and tablecloth
Quick shade for plants using a small fence and a plastic tablecloth

You can cut it to fit without guilt. Have some fun and use colors or patterns that fit with the theme of your garden. The cloth needs to be attached to the fence. Poke a hole in the tablecloth to tie it to the fencing with zip-ties, wire, string or use clothespins, even a stapler, or tape.

If you don’t have shade cloth use fabric, old sheets or an old shirt. Garden flags or fun lawn signs can come in handy for shade too.

You need shade too. Don’t forget to put on some sunscreen while you’re out there in the sun. Good luck and happy gardening!