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Making the Most of a Shady Garden

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Most people would love their garden to be a real suntrap, a place where they can bathe in bright warmth all day long. In reality, of course, not everyone can have their own slice of outdoor paradise and, although all gardens will have a bit of shade in places, you may have found yourself stuck with a particularly shady outdoor space.

An abundance of shade doesn't mean you can't enjoy gardening as much as those with sunny gardens, and it doesn't mean you can't get a lot of pleasure from your outdoor space, either. Follow these ideas and planting tips to maximise the potential of your garden.

Choose your plants carefully

Although some plants need a fair bit of sunlight, you still have plenty of choice for shaded areas. When you're shopping for plants, you should find labels on the majority of them that tell you whether they're shade-tolerant or not, but here are some ideas.

For a green backdrop and a wild, woodland feel, you can't beat ferns. They grow easily with little attention and look beautiful among other plants. Add in some acers, or Japanese maples, for a bit of height and stunning autumn colours.

When it comes to flowers, clematis is a woody plant that comes in a wide range of varieties, so using a mix can create an interesting display. Add in some fuchsias and pansies for annual flowers that will really brighten up the place.

Don't forget the lawn

People often forget about how much sunlight helps a lawn stay bright, green and healthy. Although many types of turf need a lot of sun, there are some types that do well in shade.

A variety of buffalo grass called Sapphire Buffalo is consistently considered the best for shady areas, and as a bonus, it's a tough type of grass that even keeps its colour well in winter.

Put in fruits and veggies

Plenty of leafy vegetables like lettuce and kale can tolerate quite a bit of shade, so they make a useful backbone for a shady veggie garden. Root vegetables are often a good choice, too, which gives you carrots, potatoes, beetroot and many more plants.

For fruit, think of woodland plants like blackberries and raspberries, plus rhubarb. You may also find that an apple or pear tree works well as it gets taller.

Add some extra warmth

As evening draws in, a shaded garden can quickly start to feel cold and dingy. Warm it up with lanterns, candles and a chiminea or fire pit. Get it all lit as soon as the sun sets and you'll feel cosy and cheerful.