When and how to use shade

The sun is a powerful element of light that, at times, needs to be protected from. Direct sunlight has its place but it can have detrimental effects on the health of plants and humans if the exposure is for too long. One example of this is the use of  Brise Soleil architecture to protect workers where an office building has a lot of glass frontage. Some of the best examples of Brise Soleil can be seen at the link to illustrate this point.

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With regard to gardening what can you do if your garden has too much shade or there are extensive areas of shade within it?


  1. In many cases shade garden’s feature walls. Make the most of this by growing climbers like clematis if it seems some sun. Otherwise, Ferns are a great addition as the green counterpoints the wall’s stone.

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  1. Have a focal point. Take the eye away from the shade and focus on a structure or an ornament. Make this as central as you can and go for complimentary plants around it.
  2. Whilst we are on the subject of complimentary plants try and get as many colours as you can into to lift the shady gloom. The Scilla, which is bright blue is an excellent addition.
  3. If plants are not an option as the shade is too great then you can always go for a carpet of greenery. For example, Cornus canadensis is a shade happy covering plant that will still give you some cover, especially if it is around the focal point.
  4. Think Woodland. Natural shade from trees does not always inhibit flower growth. Bluebells and Snowdrops, although seasonal are great examples of this.

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