As you look around your landscape to decide which areas to focus on this fall, don’t neglect the shady spots. Although planting in the shade can be challenging, shade gardens can add color, depth, and beauty to your landscape.
Shade gardening requires one to forgo some of the traditional garden elements, such as sun-loving perennial flowers, in favor of focusing on variations in texture, structure, and foliage color. In addition, you must pick plants that can survive the conditions and use different planting techniques. Fortunately, there are many options. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you design:
A dynamic shade garden includes at least two—and usually more—layers of plants. For example, a background layer may include 5 large Oak leaf Hydrangeas (Hydrangea q.), a middle layer could consist of 9 Fothergilla shrubs, and a front layer may consist of 13 Japanese Fountain Grass (Hakone), 13 Hellebore, and 13 Coral Bells (Heuchera).
Use large quantities for the most part and plant them slightly closer than the tag directions call for. Since plants in the shade tend to grow slowly, close planting will not only create a lush garden look, but also help to shade out weeds, cutting down on garden maintenance and competition.
With all those plants and textures filling up your shade garden, it is wise to consider adding a structure to give the space a focus and allow the eye to rest. This can be a large container, fountain, sculpture, or other man-made object, but it can also be a large shrub or small tree with good strong lines such as a Dogwood (Cornus fl.), Redbud (Cercis c.), or Witch Hazel (Hamamelis).
If you would like your shade gardens to be professionally designed by Exterior Image, contact us today for a free consultation!