Shade is a word, which when used by gardeners can have a multitude of variations. Shade may be the dimly lit area beneath a forest of towering evergreens, or the bright but non-sunny spot on the north side of another shrub.
As seasons change, an area might receive more or less sun. Is a garden which gets a few hours of morning sun, but shade during the rest of the day considered to be shade? Partial shade? Partial sun?
All of these considerations must be taken into account as you make your decisions of what to plant in your shade garden.
The success of your shade garden will of course depend on more than just choosing the right plants. In addition to their light requirements, plants need good soil, good drainage and sufficient water.
Available sunlight may sometimes be increased through selective pruning. While large shade trees are a valuable resource, removal of dead, diseased or structurally poor limbs can improve beauty as well as increase light available for plant growth. Another method to increase light is through reflection. Painting a fence or house siding a light color can have a significant effect.
Shade gardens are usually more subtle, lacking the bright, bold colors found in sunny locations. Plant textures, height differences, forms and color variations are important elements to consider.
Large leafed plants such as shade-loving hosta have a coarse texture while finely divided leaves such as fern impart a fine texture. Take advantage of textural contrast for the variety they offer.
Consider using height contrast between plants such as dwarf conifer and their upright cousins to add interest. Weeping or rounded forms create a spacious feeling that add to plantings otherwise dominated by upright or horizontal, ground-hugging plant forms.
Do you have a shady spot in your yard you would like to transform?
We have the right skills to get you going.