Top 5 Things to Do When Your Garden is Too Shady

Beautiful green lawn with bushes and flowers bordering the edge.
Having some shade in your garden can help you diversify what you plant. 

While having a little bit of shade in your garden can be a boon on hot summer days, what can you do if your garden is all shade all of the time? This frustrating situation has several remedies. Here’s how to turn your garden from a dark corner into one that shines. 

1. Remove What You Can 

If you have a large tree that you love, talk with a professional about how to prune your tree and let more light in.  According to Gardening Know How, “Most trees may have up to 25% of the canopy removed safely at one time.” The same goes for shrubs. A thick layer of shrubs can make your garden look darker. Remove some of the shrubs or prune them so that your garden looks lighter. Make sure that you take out the dead wood or dead parts of the plant. If you have trellises or arbors that are making your garden darker, consider removing them – you might prefer the light to the trellis. 

2.  Create a Layered Landscape

Sometimes the lack of light in your garden can be exacerbated by overenthusiastic planting. If you’ve gone all out in the hopes that a few plants will take, this can make your garden look crowded. Instead, place taller plants at the back and smaller ones at the front to give a feeling of diversity in your landscape without having layer upon layer of planting. 

3.  Upgrade Tired Spaces 

The problem in your garden might be the shade, but it could also be that you’ve given up on gardening in that particular part of your garden due to the shade. Add a garden bench under a shade tree, and place annuals in pots around that bench. Plant around it with many different shade-loving plants. Make your shade into a focal point, and you can learn to love it. Make sure that part of your garden is pleasant overall: reduce leaks from old gutters using gutter covers, add mulch, and create a path to develop a feeling that your garden is loved.

Download our free gutter guide for great information about gutters and gutter guards.

Small green plants with red mulch.
Add plants that are naturally shade-tolerant. 

4. Choose Plants That Love the Shade 

Some plants love the shade, and they can convince you to love it too. These plants include: 

  • Hostas of all kinds and colors 
  • Impatiens: according to House Beautiful, these are one of the few annuals that will add impressive color to a shade garden.
  • Astilbe 
  • Coleus 
  • False lily of the valley and lily of the valley 
  • Ferns of all sorts 
  • Foamflower 
  • Lungwort 
  • Primrose 

Get advice from a master gardener in your area who can tell you more about the possibilities for shade planting. 

5.  Add Light and Color 

If you’re gardening in a shady spot, add light and color to that space to make it come alive. You can use fairy lights and place them over a shady seating area to add enjoyment to the space. Add colorful annuals such as pansies that will tolerate the shade. Paint your furniture in bright shades to stand out in the darker parts of the garden. Your garden doesn’t need to be dull just because it’s shady.

At Harry Helmet, we want to help you create the most beautiful space out of your home and garden. From gutter covers to roofing, we can help you engineer a home that works for your family and your lifestyle. Talk with us to schedule a free estimate today.

Written by Del Thebaud

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