4 tips for designing a shade garden


Most guides give tips and tricks on how to create and create gardens with plenty of sun. Many aspiring gardeners want a sunny outdoor space, but what if that’s not possible? When little or no direct sunlight reaches the outside of the house, it is called a shade garden. A shade garden can be a garden that faces north or is shaded from the sun by trees or surrounding buildings. Below you can read how to make your shady garden cozy and a true feel-good paradise.

Tip 1: Plan and prepare well – less is more

When designing a shade garden, the right layout is the icing on the cake, whether it’s planting the beds, arranging the lounge furniture or choosing the right decoration. If you want too much at once, the garden will quickly look untidy. This can make the space feel small and cramped, which, of course, is the last thing you want to achieve in a shady yard. That’s why the saying “less is more” is very important when designing a shade garden. A tidy and clear overall image provides an open and bright appearance outdoors. It is therefore advisable to draw up a plan in advance and possibly even to consult a landscape architect.

Tip 2: Furnish and decorate with bright colors

Shade gardens are often seen as uncomfortable or unsociable. But that doesn’t have to be the case if you pay attention to the right furnishing and decoration. Comfortable garden furniture, for example from Kees Smit garden furniture, with light lounge cushions invite you to relax after a long day. Decorative pillows, throws and outdoor rugs in neutral tones or pastel colors create a cheerful atmosphere. With decorative mirrors you make the garden appear larger and you distribute the light cleverly throughout the room.

Garden furniture under a tree
Garden furniture under a tree

Tip 3: Choose shade plants to plant

When choosing the right plants and flowers, it is important to distinguish what is causing the shade. On trees, isolated rays of the sun can shine through the foliage in the garden — especially when it’s windy and the treetops sway back and forth. Even with a north orientation, there is quite a lot of indirect light in the garden. However, if neighboring houses block the sun, the outdoor area can be very dark. However, many garden plants need at least a semi-sun spot to thrive. Therefore, when planting a dark garden, you should mainly rely on shade plants.
If there is little or no direct sun in the garden, the humidity rises and the soil is cool. Suitable plants for these conditions include ivy, hydrangeas, ferns, certain types of bamboo, or various shade grasses. Plants with specialty foliage, such as hostas, are also wonderful options for planting in a shade garden. Ground covers with small white or yellow flowers brighten up dark corners in the garden and are also particularly easy to maintain.

Hosta in the shade garden
Hosta / Funkie in the shade garden

Plants for the shade garden:

Hostas, hydrangeas, fuchsias, lungwort, silver leaf, Japanese sedge, camellias, liverworts, globeflowers, begonias, elfflowers, woodruff, goat’s beard, mahonia, Christophskraut, firethorn, thorn apple, fat man, clematis, persimmon, beautycom, witch hazel, Christmas roses, Starworts, cinquefoil, crane, ferns, azaleas, forget-me-nots, bamboo, bluebells, lovage, wild garlic, foxglove, boxwood, lily of the valley, cherry laurel, crocus, toad lily, September herb wood anemone, ivy, rhododendron, wild strawberries, bleeding heart,
Various primroses, some types of lilies, various hyacinths, angel trumpets, deadly nightshades, some types of violets and also cyclamen, some types of columbine, hard-working Lieschen,
different types of mallow and anemones, silver candles

Tip 4: Let there be light!

What’s the easiest way to brighten up a dark place? With lighting of course! There are many different ways to install light sources in a shade garden, both practical and stylish. How about a long string of lights that illuminate the space under the trees or atmospheric candles and torches that gently flicker in the wind? Outdoor lighting on the house walls or LED spots next to the paths also provide a lighting effect. Many light dispensers now work on solar energy and are therefore particularly environmentally friendly. So you kill two birds with one stone.

light in the garden
Light in the shade garden

Do you like particularly atmospheric, then choose a gas-fired table fireplace or fire table. This way you create a real campfire feeling in your shade garden, without annoying smoke development or lengthy preparation. At the same time, the area around the light source is illuminated. Just practical, right?


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