When you picture a log cabin, it’s usually in the woods with lots of shade.  Your log cabin kit probably included a covered porch but who couldn’t use more shade? Shade trees make summers more comfortable, enhance your landscape, reduce energy costs, provide wind protection and improve property values.

Shade Trees Are a Must

Spring is the time to plant many varieties of shade trees.  They may not be ready to provide shade this summer but you’ll be prepared for the future.  When you’re making your selection think about the size of the trees.  Will they outgrow the space?  Will they provide enough shade at maturity?  It’s wise to put smaller trees near your log cabin and taller ones further away.

Check out some of these popular shade trees:

Bald Cypress

shade trees - Bald Cypress Tree

Bald Cypress Tree

Zones 4 – 9

50 – 70 feet

Even though its native habitat is Southern swamps, the Bald Cypress is tough enough to withstand Northern subzero temperatures and a variety of soil types.  It is one of the few conifers that sheds its needles in the fall.

Eastern White Pine

Zones 4–9

50 – 80 feet
Often seen in parks, this evergreen has soft blue-green needles and grows quickly. Since this tree can reach soaring heights, it’s well suited for log cabins on large properties.  The Eastern White Pine thrives in moist, rich, well-drained acid soil and full sun.

Hackberry Tree

Hackberry Tree


Zones 2 – 9

40 – 70 feet

These tough trees can endure cold, wind and pollution.  As it quickly matures, the branches arch out overhead creating a canopy of shade.

Heritage River Birch

Zones 4–9

40 – 60 feet

Like other varieties of Birch, the Heritage River Birch sports exfoliating curling ornamental bark in salmon, cream and brown hues.  The effect is especially stunning when planted in groups.

Honey Locust

Zones 3 – 9

30 – 50 feet

The Honey Locust is durable and adaptable with small leaves and pods that drop in the fall. Make sure you select the thorn-less variety to protect bare feet.

shade trees - Nuttal Tree

Nuttal Tree

Nuttal Oak

Zone 5 – 9

40 – 100 feet

As a constant source of acorns, this is not a good choice if you don’t want squirrels and deer feasting around your log cabin. Nuttall Oaks provide a canopy of shade with red leaves and lots of head clearance so you can easily mow under it.


October Glory Red Maple

shade trees - October Glory Red Maple Tree

October Glory Red Maple Tree

Zone 3 – 8

40 to 50 feet

While other trees are bare and brown in the spring, the October Glory Red Maple boasts vibrant leaves that last into autumn.  It is one of the most popular Maples because of its beauty and tolerance.  This maple is fast-growing with fruit and flowers that attract birds.

shade trees - Ohio Buckeye Tree

Ohio Buckeye Tree

Ohio Buckeye Tree

Zone 4 – 7

Height 40 -70 feet

Even Penn State fans will appreciate the shade of the Ohio Buckeye.  It is known for its dense branches and flower clusters with spiny husks that contain a shiny brown seed.



Royal Empress Tree

Royal Empress Tree

Royal Empress

Zone 5 – 8

30 – 40 feet

This native of China is one of the fasting growing trees in the world rising at 12 feet per year.  Also called Princess Tree, this large-leafed beauty has pinkish purple vanilla scented blooms.

Sourwood or Sorrel

Zones 5 – 9

25 – 60 feet

Known for their year-round attractiveness, Sourwoods are medium-sized and relatively low maintenance.  In the right conditions, sourwoods produce expensive, sought-after honey.

Sweet Bay Magnolia

Zones 5–9

10 – 20 feet in the North and up to 60 feet in the South
Considered deciduous in the North and evergreen in the South, the Sweet Bay Magnolia has lemon-scented creamy white flowers in the spring and summer.

Tulip Tree

Zones 5 – 9

70 – 90 feet

Named for its beautiful flowers, the Tulip Tree grows quickly and is highly resistant to disease and insects.  They tolerate a variety of climates and temperature extremes.

Weeping Willow Tree

Weeping Willow Tree

Weeping Willow

Zones 4-9

Height 30 – 40 feet

With branches that sweep to the ground it provides hiding places for children or the perfect picnic spot.  Weeping Willows are easy to grow and are comfortable in soggy soil so they are ideal for lakeside log cabins.




Read more on creating an outdoor living space at your log cabin.