Shadowy garden areas are often a problem on the south side of a house but, depending on nearby trees and buildings, they can occur anywhere. The garden beds can struggle to look lush, especially when everything you plant seems to languish in dim light. But with these tips under your belt, you can easily transform shady spots. The secret is to pick plants that love being out of the full glare of the sun, then combine them in striking ways and add a focal point or two. For a list of five plants that do well in shade, click here.
And what a difference a few plants can make. Take a look at these before and after shots!
Below: Create a lovely garden bed that’s low on maintenance and brimming with style. Start by improving the soil, then select a fail-safe selection of shade-loving plants.
Shades of success
You can create a verdant oasis in a garden bed or small courtyard that isn’t blessed with hours of sunshine simply by following these golden rules.
• Improve the soil by forking though generous amounts of compost and cow manure – you can buy these in bags or in bulk. Where the soil is heavy clay, spread gypsum over the surface and dig through.
• Work with the site you have and make the most of it. This means choosing the right plants that thrive in lower light levels – there are lots of them! Ferns, bromeliads and many species sold as indoor plants are a fabulous starting point.
• Use feature containers. Many shade-loving plants are lowergrowing understorey species so, by including pots and planters, you can give your garden height, regardless of the plants you select.
• Install a water feature, as this makes an excellent focal point, adding movement and excitement to a garden. In small courtyards, this will also help distract from the limited size of the area.
• Plant an overstorey where the shade is unreliable. Strange though it sounds, some shaded spaces go through a period when they’re exposed to direct scorching sunlight – and this can burn the delicate plants you’ve chosen. So in these spots, plant a few canopy plants to protect the ones below.
Once you transform that previously dreary space, add a sitting spot to enjoy the view. A simple bench and a few throw cushions are all you need.