How to Create Microclimates in Your Garden

Ever wish you could grow cool-season crops in the middle of a hot summer? Or perhaps you’d like to extend your growing season well into the winter? Either way, microclimates are the answer.

A microclimate is a small area of your garden that has its own unique climate. It could be several degrees cooler or warmer than the rest of your garden, or even more/less humid. Most gardens already have a few natural microclimates – for example, the area under a mature evergreen tree will be drier, shadier, and cooler than that sun-soaked spot in the middle of your garden.

Microclimates boost a garden’s diversity. They enable you to grow plants that you wouldn’t have otherwise been able to grow, making it worth understanding how to create a few additional microclimates around your garden.


Shade in the Summer

With climate change giving us increasingly warmer summers, some of the plants in your garden may appreciate a little extra shade. While you can build structures to provide this, you can also turn to taller plants to do the same.

Trees are perfect for providing shady areas – the larger the canopy, the more shade that tree will offer. If you only require the shade in the summer, go for a deciduous tree that’ll lose its leaves in the winter. Alternatively, if you’d like to keep that part of your garden shaded year-round, look into evergreen trees, such as a majestic Dragon Tree.


Redirecting Cold Air

Some plants can’t handle cold winter winds, but this doesn’t mean that you have to avoid them if you live in an exposed area. Instead, learn how to redirect that cold air flow to create a warmer microclimate.

Trees and tall plants are ideal for this. The cold air will hit them and sink down to the ground. This means that the exposed side of the tree will be much cooler than the protected side. Since you’ll need this to happen in the winter, go for mature evergreen trees, such as a cluster of grass trees or some strategically-positioned yuccas.


Thermal Mass to Create Heat

Thermal mass refers to a material’s ability to absorb heat. Some materials, from brick walls to paving slabs to large stone boulders, are able to absorb large amounts of heat during the day, which they’ll then release at night. This is why the area around a sun-soaked wall will usually be a few degrees warmer, both during the day and at night.

Many gardeners in cooler climates have made clever use of thermal mass to create warm microclimates in their garden. This enables them to grow plants and trees that aren’t usually cold-hardy, such as citrus trees, since the heat released overnight keeps them warm enough in the winter.



These are just three of the numerous methods out there that you can use to create microclimates in your garden. These little pockets will enable you to extend your growing season and increase your garden’s productivity. Whether you’re only growing ornamental plants or you have a few edibles sprinkled about too, a few new microclimates can bring your garden to life in a whole new way.


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