Plants for the west side of a house need to be tough. They receive full sun during the hottest part of the day, and if planted near a wall they may get additional reflected heat. Tall plants, such as small trees and trellised vines, can help reduce energy consumption by providing much needed shade.
Hollyhocks lend old-fashioned charm to a garden. They grow up to 8 feet tall and are attractive when grown against a wall. The flowers are up to 5 inches in diameter and bloom in summer in white and shades of red, pink and yellow. Hollyhocks grow well in United States Department of Agriculture Hardiness Zones 2 to 10.
Crossvine is a climbing vine with stems that grow up to 50 feet long. When grown on a sturdy trellis on the west side of a house, it will shade and cool the west wall in the heat of summer. The 2-inch trumpet-shaped flowers bloom in spring in shades of brick red and yellow and attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Crossvine grows well in a wide range of soils in USDA Hardiness Zones 6 to 9.
Blue sage does well on the west side of a house because it can take a lot of heat, as well as the drying effects of sun reflected by a west wall. The plants grow 3 to 5 feet tall, but they are bushier and bloom better if cut back by up to half in late spring. If left to grow to their full height, they may need staking. The blue flowers rise above the foliage bloom from midsummer until mid-fall and attract butterflies and bees. The plants prefer a dry soil, but they will do well with average moisture. Blue sage is winter hardy in USDA Hardiness Zones 5 to 9.
Sea thrift grows about 6 inches tall and is used as a ground cover for small areas, as an edging along paving stones, in front of borders and in rock gardens. Sea thrift tolerates salt spray, making it ideal for beachfront settings. The bright pink flowers rise above grass-like foliage that grows in neat clumps. The individual clumps are about 12 inches across and spread slowly, making the plant impractical as a ground cover for large areas. Sea thrift is hardy in USDA Hardiness Zones 4 to 8.
This Japanese native is a deciduous shrub that grows 6 to 8 feet tall with a spread of up to 15 feet. It produces a profusion pale pink buds that blossom into 1-inch white flowers in early spring. The flowers are fragrant and make good cut flowers. The pea-sized fruit is sweet, but because of its size, it is usually left for the birds. If the birds don’t get it all, the bright red fruit is attractive against the yellow fall color of the leaves. Although it will adapt to a wide range of soils it prefers a loamy, well-drained acid soil. Sargent crabapple is hardy in USDA Hardiness Zones 4 to 7.