Top tips for a shady garden

Shady gardens can be stylish, flower-filled and beautiful. Don't let the shade put you off from creating an incredible space. Here are some of my suggestions for a shady border or garden...


1) Right plant, right place: Try not to plant plants or flowers which love full hot sunny conditions. However tempting it is, they won't thrive and they will end up looking sad. Instead choose plants which will really thrive in shady conditions

2) Work out if you have dry shade- this is usually under trees where they soak up a lot of water, or areas in borders where fences or walls can stop the area getting moisture. Lush foliage plants such as Hostas love more moist conditions whereas Japanese Anemones, Hellebores and Lily of the Valley are all ok with dry shade.

3) Define how much shade you get:

  • ‘Light shade’, when it is open to the sky but with no direct sunlight.
  • ‘Semi-shade’, where it receives three to six hours of direct sun in mid-summer.
  • ‘Dappled shade’, with diffused light from trees.
  • ‘Moderate shade’ with two to three hours of midsummer sunlight.
  • ‘Deep shade’, under a dense evergreen tree canopy with less than two hours of sun.

4) Choose plants with glossy reflective leaves or foliage and flowers that give the impression of light, such as gold, silver or variegated leaves and luminous white or pale flowers. White flowers will pop at dusk too- creating a beautiful display

5) Add moveable containers for instant impact. These could be placed in a sunnier part for part of the day and then if you have people over or want to enjoy displays on certain evenings you can move these to the shady area, but then move them back to the sunnier areas afterwards. (a bit of a faff but worth it if you have special events)

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