A lack of direct sunlight can make a garden darker, colder and more difficult to grow plants in. However, there are ways of getting around this so that you can still enjoy your garden to its full. Below are just 7 solutions for coping with a shady garden.
Trim back unruly trees
There are some sources of shade that you can’t do much about such as buildings or trees in other people’s gardens. However, if you’ve got a tree in your garden that is casting a huge shadow, you may have the option of chopping it back. Some trees can get a bit unruly – in these instances tree care is often necessary. You could find that this lets more light into your garden without having to fell the tree. Always hire a professional to deal with this (especially if it’s a large tree).
Embrace shade-loving plants
A shady garden shouldn’t be a reason to not grow any plants. Some shrubs and flowers are quite happy to grow in low light. Popular examples include ferns, hydrangeas, foam flowers and astrantias. Check out this list of shade-loving plants for more inspiration.
Switch opaque fences for translucent options
Most fences are made of a solid ‘opaque’ material that doesn’t let light through. However, there are fences that do allow some light through, while still maintaining privacy. This includes fences with ornate cut-outs, trellis fences and even frosted glass panels. Consider whether adding some of these fences to certain areas of your garden could help to extend sunlight exposure.
Rise to reach the light
Putting plants in raised beds has many advantages. One advantage could be that it allows plants access to sunlight longer. Hanging plants in baskets could have a similar impact. You could also consider adding a raised deck to an area of your garden where you may be able to catch the sun a little longer (this will likely require planning permission).
Use bright white paint
Walls and fences that are painted white could help to reflect more light and make your garden feel brighter when exposed to the sun. Dark colours like dark browns and dark greys will have the opposite effect and may be best avoided if you don’t want your garden to look gloomy in the shade.
Use mirrors and reflective surfaces
You can also use mirrors to help catch the sun. Other reflective surfaces such as shiny steels or water features can also help to reflect sunlight, making your garden feel brighter.
Make the most of the sunniest areas
If half of your garden remains shady throughout the day, but the other half gets a fair amount of sun, make sure that you are maximising use of this sunny half. This could be the perfect area for placing a patio or decking for outdoor relaxing and socialising. Alternatively, you could dedicate this area to growing sun-loving plants.
Changing the entire layout of a garden can be a lot of work, but it could be worth it if your patio is always in the shade (unless you prefer the shade) or you’re finding that your favourite plants aren’t growing very well.