Which part of your garden do you simply adore? The summer arbour when it’s smothered in rambling antique roses, the carefully tended lawn that rewards you with green lushness year after year, or the wild patch where the Californian poppies have run free? While there’s likely plenty to love in your garden, none of us will have the perfect outdoor space – there’s always room for improvement. One common complaint amongst committed gardeners is that they just don’t seem to get enough light. If you’re feeling bereft of sunshine and are looking for ways to remedy the situation, try our top five tips on brightening up a shady space:
Add a splash of colour
Simply painting the walls and fences that border your garden can add a greater sense of light. Try to avoid white, which can often create a stark effect. Instead, try soft greens, heritage creams and gentle Mediterranean colours like terracotta and stone. To ‘try before you buy’, use an online visualiser tool, which will give you an insight into what will work best in your space. If you live in a relatively modern home you may find that citrus colours or Indian teals, golds and raspberry pinks work well with the contemporary architecture.
Turn on the lights
You’re short on light from the sun, so why not create your own. While artificial lighting won’t feed your plants, it will feed your soul, reinventing your garden’s ambiance and adding warmth to the space. Uplighters dotted along the edge of your beds, delicate fairy lights woven through climbers and high-quality LEDs fixed securely to buildings will all brighten things up in their own specific ways.
Choose the correct plants
Before you set off for the garden centre, arm yourself with the knowledge of which plants thrive in shady areas and which ones positively love partial light. For climbers, choose hydrangeas, clematis and some varieties of camellia. Fill your containers with white hyacinths, ornamental cabbages and elegant lilies. Containers are a particularly welcome addition in light-starved gardens because they introduce splashes of colour and don’t interfere with the struggling roots of ground plants. Shrubs that will thank you for shade include dogwood, azalea and rhododendron.
By turning your shady garden into a series of small vibrant areas, you can really add brightness and variety. Use large containers or strategically selected floor coverings to make one area distinct from the next. Do the same on the walls, selecting a section to cover in trellis and another to be painted.
Introduce new soil
A combination of poor soil and minimal sunlight spells disaster for gardens. There may not be much you can do to persuade the sun into your space but you can improve the soil. Regularly add a generous quantity of organic matter to your soil in the springtime or whenever you’re planning on doing some serious planting.
By taking on board some of these ideas for adding light and tone to a shady garden you can revitalise a dreary space, transforming it into something altogether brighter and more inviting.