West Facing Backyard


I am looking to add colour to my backyard(currently all green and surrounded by trees) Our backyard is west and is in full/hot sun early afternoon into the evening. I want to plant something that is tolerant to the heat, but also has colour.
Our yard is unfortunately sand but seems to drain well.
Do you have any suggestions?

Thank you,


Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners.

It is always exciting  and a challenge to respond to the question how can I add colour to my year. It is exciting because there are so many wonderful combinations and possibilities, while the challenge being knowing what some of the existing architectutal features as well as your own colour preferences.

To start with there are many plants which will work well in a sandy soil environment , but the amount of organic matter that is present or added provides a much broader of spectrum of possibilities from which to choose. So I would like to recommend that you first amend your soil by incorporating either composted manure or a good triple mix into your soil.

Adding colour can be achieved by using trees, shrubs or perennials with interesting foliage, bark,  persistent fruiting, while others provide flowering for additional interest. I will provide you with a number of shrubs that provides foliage or bark interest .

Once you have an idea of your colour scheme and how much spacing  , you can also incorporate other perennials and even annuals depending on how much colour and maintenance you wish to have.



I do not know the spacial dimensions of your yard,  but will provide shrubs that offer a varyiety of  sizes and colours.

Purple Smoke bush

eastern redbud ‘ruby red’

rose of sharon

ninebarks (Coppertina, centre glow, diabalo

Weigela  (such as My Monet, Wine and Roses or Variegated)

Burning Bush or dwarf form

smaller japanese maples such as (crimson queen, red dragon, Inabe Shadare ……….    for weeping forms)

Red Osier dogwood,…. good year round bark display

Elders (black beauty or golden variety such as golden madonna)

For a blue colour have a look at the globe blue spruce, or fat albert) ….. also mounded form


Longer flowering shrubs:

Potentilla (long flowering shrub … check urseries)

Hydrangeas (such as; Pinky Winky,  Limelight, Pee Gee,  Incredibal, etc. ) ; also look at standard forms

Enjoy your garden planning and planting!