Gardening For Not-Quite Beginners

4 Beautiful Solutions For A Shady Yard

Plants need sunlight for photosynthesis, right? Well, perhaps you have big trees or other obstructions that create shade in your yard. During hot summer days, you enjoy the shade, but it would be nice to have pretty landscaping as well. If your yard gets at least a little direct sunlight, you can create beautiful landscaping.

Make a Cool Retreat

Since you want to relax in the shade anyway, consider transforming a corner into a cool retreat. Start by placing a comfortable bench or other seating with a nearby accent table for a drink or book. From there, add pretty flowers that do well in shady areas. The Landscaping Network recommends taking a cue from flowers that thrive in the understory of natural forests, such carpet bugle, foamflower, Christmas rose, and astilbe. Just make sure the plants have similar drainage requirements.

Create an Illusion

Landscaping experts solve problems by creating an illusion. In this case, your yard doesn't get much sun, so you can create the illusion of sun dappling with your choice in plants. This brightens the look of your shady yard. Look for plants that not only tolerate the shade but that feature light, variegated leaves. This can include lilyturf, gold variegated periwinkle, and many varieties of hosta. You can plant these in regular planting beds or dot them around the yard.

Play with Texture

Another way to add visual interest to a shady yard is by emphasizing texture. This comes about with plants and flowers that vary in leaf and petal size as well as surface. You can also emphasize texture with leaf and petal color. So, imagine a broad-leafed umbrella plant contrasted with delicate purple-leaf coralbells. You could add a golden anemone, which contrasts with the color of the coralbells and leaf size of the umbrella plant. This type of planting looks attractive in a tree-shaded corner or as a border to a walkway.

Limit your Lawn

You may have already tried planting shade-tolerant grass in your yard — and perhaps discovered it's prone to fading anyway. Limit your lawn to areas that receive at least a few hours of direct sunlight. Conversely, you can use a small patch of grass as a centerpiece for a mini-garden. For instance, reduce the lawn in that area to a geometric shape. Surround the shape with shade-loving plants as a pretty border. Finally, look for shade-loving groundcover plants such as ferns, deadnettle, and the above-mentioned hosta.

Don't let a shady yard stay barren — visit your local landscaping services for advice on how to transform your shady spots.