Shade Garden Design Tips

With these shade garden design tips, you won’t have to give up on shade.
Are you having trouble figuring out how to garden in shady areas? Don’t be worried. The shade allows you to grow beautiful plants that not only tolerate but flourish in the absence of sunlight. Here are some brilliant ideas from people who converted a shady yard into a serene retreat they can enjoy all year.

Mix in the stone and the water.
The shade is one of the best things about nature because it keeps you cool even though it’s hot outside. The calm and soothing feel of this peaceful shade garden is enhanced by the sound of running water and the superb stone pavers on which to walk.
The waterfall was created by tucking three of the enormous boulders back into the hillside. A small stream flows through the yard, leading to a pond at the bottom of the hill. The water is then recirculated up the hill to a pond above the waterfall to conserve electricity. A small pond or container with a fountain will suffice if you don’t have enough room for a prominent water feature. Also, the birds that migrate to moving water in the summer and winter will astound you.

Plants of different colors should be grouped.
In an extensive shade garden, large groups of plants make a strong statement. Astilbes (Astilbe spp. and hybrids), including those shown above, are planted in clumps of three to five in the greenhouse. Even these bright plumes would be lost in the view if there were just one plant located here and there. Another advantage of planting in the shade is that the flowers last longer because the sun isn’t beating down on them.
The majority of the plantings, especially in the middle, are inadequate. Although there are large trees overhead, the shrubs and perennials have been kept short to allow for plenty of unobstructed views of the entire room. If you’ve ever been to a woodland clearing, you’ll find that, despite being human-made, this hillside garden has a similar feel.

Shade plants should be repeated for consistency.
A design tip that can put any size garden together is repetition. It’s not essential to replicate everything; only a few striking plants will suffice. In this garden, you’ll note several recurring themes:
The paths and walls were designed with native stone found during the clean-up and provide a clear link throughout the garden.
In late spring and early summer, bright pink astilbe plumes lead the eye through the beds. The dried flowers can be left in place until fall, but they won’t be as attractive.
Hostas (Hosta spp. and hybrids) with identical leaf shapes but different colors and patterns maintain the look.

Include shady roads.
On this hillside, getting from one area to another wasn’t always easy — walking up the steep incline was a real challenge! Used the stone excavated earlier to create paths and steps after laying out and leveling the courses’ areas. They’re set in mortar to ensure a solid foothold from the garden’s lowest point to the peak of the hill.
Stone is prone to being slippery, particularly in the shade. You may use sand to help with traction or an outdoor nonslip sealant to prevent tripping.

Make plans for shaded garden meeting areas.
The shade is the ideal environment for a get-together with family and friends. The broad level area in the picture above is up the hill and has enough room for small groups. Visitors would have a clear view of the whole garden from this vantage point. The bench that wraps around the edge offers a place to sit and rest while also serving as a discreet railing to avoid tripping.

For shade, choose colors that are relaxing.
Using subdued shades of pink and blue with white splashes, she developed a soothing color palette for her peaceful retreat. A few splashes of bright yellow and chartreuse, like the hostas (Hosta spp. and hybrids) here, give the color scheme a little zip, making it relaxing but not dull.
Shade gardens can get pretty dark at night, thanks to the added cover of the tree canopy. If you spend your evenings in your garden, a pastel color scheme like this will help brighten the space and make it seem more illuminated. Plant pale-colored or white flowers along a path to help direct you after the sun sets if solar lights aren’t an option.

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