Where there is light, there’s shadow. If you have a shade garden, gardening is a tad bit more difficult than usual.
However, that does not limit you from growing plants.
You will have to compromise a little with the variety of plants that you can grow in little sunlight.
Though, you can still make a beautiful garden out of the limited variety by using some creative ideas.
Hence, if you feel you can’t grow plants in your shade, you are wrong!
This article will cover what plants you can grow if your house receives less sunlight.
Keep reading to know the ideas that can make your garden aesthetic.
What is a Shade Garden?
If your garden is under a canopy of trees, getting less than 4 hours of shade, then you can build a shade garden there.
It will usually contain plants that can thrive on less sunlight but will need adequate water, soil and humidity.
There are different kinds of shades with separate ways to grow plants.
- Full Sunlight
The most adequate form of sunlight for a plant is 6 hours per day.
This direct sunlight helps the plants to photosynthesize and make sugars.
This provides the plant with energy to grow and flower.
- Light Shade
Light shade does get access to sunlight however, it is filtered by an obstacle.
This is usually a high wall or a canopy of trees.
You can grow plants under the shade of the trees, however, they will not get full sun.
Deciduous trees like silver birch can reflect and diffuse the sunlight to provide dappled shade.
- Partial Shade
There is half sunlight and half shade.
Your plants do receive direct sun but for considerably fewer hours than total daylight.
Hence, there will be about three to six hours of sunlight.
More so in the midday.
- Moderate Shade
Getting about two to three hours of the sun provides a moderate shade.
However, the midday sun may provide enough sunlight to consider it partial instead.
- Deep Shade
This heavy shade is found under dense tree cover or tall buildings.
For instance, overgrown shrubberies will cover a lot of sunlight.
Therefore, if an area only receives 2 hours of sunlight then it is in dense shade.
You can still grow plants, fruits and vegetables in all of these forms of shades.
Let’s find out more about that below.
Not all varieties of plants can work well under shade.
Those that do, take time to dry.
Hence, they are at risk of developing fungal diseases.
You will have to make do with planting tree seedlings and pull them out by roots.
Moreover, the plant underneath the shade do not get enough sunlight.
Hence, they do not flower as much and are foliage heavy.
You may see a dearth of colors but you can always make up for that by choosing to plant interesting foliage instead.
Planting interesting foliage that comes in shades of maroon and chartreuse can liven up your garden.
Moreover, shade-tolerant plants can also give your garden the much-needed pop of color such as hydrangea flower and bleeding heart.
You can still plant sun-loving plants in partial shade.
They can thrive there but will have considerably fewer flowers than they do in full sun.
The areas that get dappled shade should have shade-loving plants.
In the moderate shade, plants can get drier, not in deep.
If that happens, shift them to pots to water them continuously.
In deep shade, climbers and wall shrubs grow best as they receive very little sun, dryness and debris making conditions acidic.
Fruit plants that come from woodland edges such as raspberries, blackcurrants, gooseberries and redcurrants can all grow in partial shade.
Apples that mature early and morello cherries can grow in light shade.
Vegetables such as carrot, beetroot leaf salads, peas, spinach, kale and lettuce can all grow in light and partial shade.
Sowing seeds in brighter light and transplanting gives them a good root system.
Shade Garden Ideas
Having a Uniform Garden Style
Finding the perfect place for your garden is a challenge.
You can find dry and moist soils, with and without enough water supply.
Besides, there is the problem of shade and inadequate sunlight.
You should maintain a flow and consistency for the perfect shade garden design.
If you have a tropical garden style and landscape design then stick with that without introducing plants that will not fit in.
Similarly, your full sun and shade plants will be different but you can plant them coherently in a shady spot.
In between transitioning from one type of plant to another use those plants that require partial shade.
Hence, your garden space will look more uniform and coherent.
Enhance The Space By Adding Water and Stones
Using a water feature can enhance your space by adding sound to a rather darker area.
Flowing water in the form of a fountain will add sound, reflect light and give movement to the quiet place and shaded areas.
If you lack space then a small container with a fountain will work too in dry shade.
Also, using cold stones to pave the path will give an additional relaxing and cool feeling to your shady garden.
The hardscapes where plants cannot grow can use some rocks, an arbor, or a stone path to make them more appealing.
Hence, if you want to make your garden more aesthetic, a small pond or a fountain along with stone pavers add to the beauty and feel of your garden.
Add Color Through Foliage and Flower
You will get less variety of colors in flowering plants that may grow in shade.
However, you can still manage to experiment with your foliage.
Yellow and golden shades of foliage look especially good in shade.
A Japanese forest grass can brighten up your space with its yellow hue.
You can also add shades of chartreuse, pink, yellow and white to brighten up the space under the heavy shade of trees.
Japanese maple can enhance the space with its color and texture.
You can also plant white flowers or those with other pale colors to illuminate your garden.
Also, remember to group all colorful plants together.
The plantings are low in a shade garden hence, you can see all of it together if you keep the trees and shrubs and perennials short.
The large group of plants gives a bolder impact.
Hence, you should plant in clumps of at least 3 together.
A brighter plant placed here or there would rather be lost in the greenery.
Moreover, your flowers and brighter plants will not be susceptible to sun damage.
Besides foliage and flowers, you can also add colors to your garden in the form of containers.
It is not only easy to change the position of plants in your container but colorful containers can also liven up your space.
Make Gathering Spots and Paths
If you have a beautiful shade garden, then you and your family would love to take a walk and gather around it.
For that, you need paths by leveling up the land.
However, stone paths can get slippery so also add sand.
A ground cover on the path will also make that appealing.
Furthermore, add a bench in between the shade and plants to relax and unwind for a while.
This way small groups can take a stroll in the garden and also sit down to relax if they feel tired.
This does not only limit your garden to mere aesthetic appeal but as a place to live and relax.
Choose a Variety of Shade Garden Plants
Even shade-loving plants and shade garden flowers can become barren in winters.
Hence, plant some conifers so that the space looks lively even in winters.
Add potted plants like hydrangeas that are bright and enhance the look of the garden.
Also, they are easy to spot so you can place them on areas you want to highlight such as steps.
Furthermore, perennials are ideal to grow as they spread by themselves and eventually for a large group.
That is good when you have a small budget as they can grow on their own together.
You can also bring your houseplants outside in the summer to get just adequate and not an excessive amount of sunlight.
Shade prevents plants from damaging in excessive sunlight and strong winds.
Moreover, plants in shade retain water longer and get dry less often.
Hence, you should check the soil before deeply and thoroughly watering them again.
However, as there is less sunlight and the soil and leaves take time to dry, the plants can get fungal diseases.
Without proper wind circulation, the wet leaves will remain moist longer posing a risk of fungus.
Hence, you should never over-water plants.
Give them water once a day in the morning, directly watering the soil or according to the plants’ requirement.
Plants that grow in shade are also susceptible to insects such as bugs and flies.
Use an insecticide or safe pesticides on your plants that do not harm the plant but get rid of insects.
Plus, they need balanced nutrition and soil pH similar to their woodland origins.
Hence, it is better to group plants of similar origins while nourishing them with a fertilizer that provides the best soil medium.
It will increase plant health and growth.
You can make your shade garden beautiful by implementing these simple ideas.
Growing plants in shade are certainly not as simple but after adequate research into design ideas, trial and error you will find the right types of plants that add to the aesthetic appeal of your garden.