Whitehorse City Council

Trees in your landscape plan

Trees provide many economic, environmental and social benefits. They can add value to a property. They provide shade and cooling to our homes. They make our suburbs more liveable. Trees strategically designed into the landscape and building design can maximise these benefits.

Use trees for seasonal heat control

  • It is best to protect north, east and west facing windows as this will help protect against hot summer sun.
  • Deciduous vegetation will provide summer shade but allows winter sun to penetrate the building.
  • Trees with dense foliage create more shade and therefore have greater cooling abilities.
  • As space is often limited in urban developments, vegetating courtyards as much as possible is an effective way to reduce temperatures in your courtyard and internal living spaces.
  • Vertical shading is most appropriate for east and west walls and windows to protect from hot summer sun at lower angles e.g. trees, shrubs and vines supported on a frame.
  • Utilising plants that grow on walls can act as thermal insulation for a building. Horizontal shading is best for north facing windows e.g. deciduous vines grown over a pergola.
  • Warning: tall evergreen trees planted too close to north-facing windows can create too much overshadowing in winter.

Use trees to reduce wind penetration

Vegetation can be selected and positioned to control the chilling effects of winter winds and also assist in capturing and harnessing cooling summer breezes. Some points to consider:

  • Windbreaks are most effective when located at 90° to the direction of the wind.
  • A row of trees with 50–60% density is generally more effective than a solid wall. A solid windbreak can create turbulence.
  • Large dense shrubs can be used as windbreaks to the south-west to counter cold winter winds and channel cooling summer breezes.
  • Medium to large-sized shrubs or trees clipped to form a hedge can provide useful still air insulation and shading when grown close to a wall.
  • Careful positioning of windbreak planting can encourage the entry of desirable summer breezes through the building.
  • Low shrubs, lawn and ponds to the north will help cool hot summer winds.

Use trees to increase habitat & biodiversity

In addition to creating larger areas of habitat in local parks and reserves, sustainable gardening around dwellings and buildings can contribute to increasing habitat value and urban ecology. Points to consider to achieve a sustainable habitat garden include:

  • Select plants that are indigenous, as they will best suit your local climate and soil.
  • http://www.whitehorse.vic.gov.au/Indigenous-Plants.html
  • It is possible to have contemporary gardens, e.g. cottage or formal gardens, and still utilise indigenous plants.
  • Find out what plants will attract native birds and insects.
  • Complete a site analysis focusing on soil quality, sun, shade and privacy before you choose your native plants.
  • Avoid using plants that are known environmental weeds. Check the Weeds of Whitehorse list and DSE.

Source your plants from our indigenous nurseries: