On Monday, over at The Simple Dollar, Trent Hamm wrote a post that really resonated with me (Dawn), “Plant Shade Trees.” The post is part of his “365 Ways to Live Cheap” series.

Many people may not be as interested in this post as I am, but it really hit home for me because I know exactly what it’s about. My husband and I bought our fixer-upper house three years ago in an older, well established neighborhood where the houses range from being built in the 1920s-1950s (ours was built in 1953). It just so happened that, for whatever reason, our house is one of, if not the only, house in the neighborhood that doesn’t have at least one large shade tree in the yard.

Depending on where you live and what your yard/home is like, not having a shade tree may not be an issue for you. But for us, it has become a major issue, so much so that for the past few weeks we’ve been trying plan how we can pull off planting one in our yard.

This post was great for me, because it gave me some ideas on where to start. So far, our plans have consisted of deciding we need a tree and, in general, deciding where it would likely go. But I wanted to share some of the reasons why we decided a shade tree would be right for us. Not all of them are financial (though the financial benefits will be worth it as well).

  • Lawn Maintenance – During the dry summer months, many people have issues keeping their lawns green. We have trouble keeping our lawn alive. The first year we moved in, the city had repaved the road we live on. During the process, they had put new sod down on the easement between the sidewalk and the street. Through observation, we were one of the only houses on the street that took the time to water the new sod. And by the end of the summer, we were the only house on the street with completely dead sod.
  • Cooling Cost – Our house is a bungalow, and because of that, our ½ story upstairs is often much warmer than downstairs (often by 10° or more). This problem is exacerbated by the sun beating down on the roof with no relief during the summer months.
  • Outdoor Activities – Due to the positioning of the house, we usually get only a few hours of shade a day (some in the front yard, some in the back). It makes afternoon outdoor activities unbearable, when the sun is directly overhead and providing no shade from the house. While some people don’t mind sitting out in the sun, I am not one of them!
  • Tree Envy – Sounds petty, but when you are the only house in the neighbor without a shade tree, tree envy sets in. Most of our walks through the neighborhood include discussions about how we wish we had a tree like that in our yard.

So, we’ll work on our shade tree plan and hopefully be planting one in the near future!


  • Disclaimer: The information on this blog is not meant for specific financial advice. The ideas/opinions stated are not suited for everyone, and readers should use their own judgment in applying them in their financial lives.