Tips for Landscaping a Shady Backyard

Combine plants, flowers, and patio furniture to create a scenic shade landscape.

While it can be more challenging to landscape a shade yard than a sunny yard, you can create a lovely shade nook with a little planning and attention to detail. Combine plants, flowers, and patio furniture to create a scenic shade landscape that takes advantage of your surroundings. 

Shady yard problems...and strategies for success:
Sun-lovers take landscaping for granted. It's a little trickier in the shade. These common shady yard problems can be turned into landscaping success stories: 

Grass - Some grass varietals may struggle in a shady yard. Either replace your grass with a shade-tolerant variety or choose a ground cover that performs well in the shade, such as sweet woodruff, bear berry, wild ginger, bugle, dead nettle, or periwinkle. Alternately, use flagstone, gravel, or another surface to create a low-maintenance hardscape for your shade yard.

Edibles - Aside from leafy plants such as kale or lettuce, many edibles won't grow well in the shade. Try container gardening if you're determined to have backyard tomatoes or strawberries. Place containers where they will receive the most sun or move them throughout the day to maximize sun exposure. 

Color - It's a common garden complaint: Many of the plants that do best in the shade are green. With planning, you can highlight colorful shade plants. 

Chilly - Shade can be cool, but it's also lovely during hot, humid times. Create an inviting shady patio in your backyard. Add lighting elements, such as solar lights or lanterns, to increase visibility. Keep blankets nearby and consider installing a fire pit to add instant warmth to your shade lounge. 

Variegated leaves increase visual interest in a shade garden.

Plants that thrive in shade: 
There are many plants that enjoy partial to full shade, including: 

Annuals - Flowering annuals that like shade include begonia, fuchsia, impatiens, and coleus. 

Bulbs - Small spring bulbs fare well in the shade and can be a sign that spring is coming. These include crocus, grape hyacinth, hyacinth, and snowdrop.

Edibles - Edibles that fare well in shade include lettuce, greens, and mint.

Perennials - Perennials that bloom in the shade include astilbe, bleeding heart, lily of the valley, lenten rose, trillium, columbine, and cyclamen. Other perennials -- namely, hosta, coral bells, wild ginger, and ferns -- offer variegated leaves to increase visual interest. 

Some gardeners will use a simple trick to increase sunlight exposure. By placing a mirror near a shady area, you can capture and redirect the light so plants in that area receive more sunlight. Incorporating statuary, lighting elements, and colorful outdoor seating and dining areas will add additional color and visual interest to your shade yard. 

For more home and garden design tips please visit homechanneltv.com.

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