Making the most of a shaded area

shaded area

Shade shade shade! Can be a fun endeavour. But also sometimes it is the most problematic area of the garden for some. A shade area though has so much potential. There are scores of plants and design ideas that allow the dedicated and passionate  green thumb to create a beautiful, usable space from an “unusable” space. It will involve a bit of hard work but can blossom into the best part of your property! 


There 3 different categories of shade namely: 


  • Full shade: where there is minimal  to no direct sunlight filtering through. It can be a challenging task but it is not impossible. About 3 hours or less of direct sunlight daily is considered full shade.
  • Part or Semi shade: A shaded area that gets sunlight for only part of the day: morning, midday or late afternoon. This can determine which sort of plants you can have in the area.
  • Dappled shade: the area gets filtered sunlight during the day, example under a tree whose foliage is not too dense.

Based on the type of shade you have at your property, you will be able to start to work out some ideas for the transformation of your space with a clear picture in mind. 


How to transform a shaded area? Where do we start?


  • Choose your area you want to improve: Whether big or small, the space you have will determine what you can put in the area. Basically, how big and tall the bushes or trees can be, the size of the pots for the plants etc. 

Measure the space and start thinking about what kind of plants you would like to have in that zone. If the space is bounded by walls or fences, try to factor these in as they can make a very good background for lots of climbing plants or maybe a vertical garden.

  • Find the right design for your space to suit your needs: One of the most important parts that will define where you are going with your project. Whichever design you want to go with will actually give you an idea of what sort of plant choice you can have for that area. 

shade plants


Garden Design ideas


  • Japanese inspired garden with lots of rockery and water features. Find the right plants to supplement the space. Think ferns, mosses, bamboo. Think rock scattering and gravelly paths and water feature bubbling happily away.
  • A herb patch : A herb garden in raised garden beds is a great idea for those who love cooking with the freshest herbs they can get their hands on. Thyme, mint, parsley, basil or even chilli plants grow very well in shade areas. This sort of garden will grow well in semi/part shade or dappled area
  • English garden: a charming, cool, relaxing atmosphere to sit and savour while having a good cup of tea? Like in a timeless loop bursting with life using twisting ivy, purple wisteria and ferns teamed with wooden, metal or stone benches and a meandering path.
  • Pave the way with plants lining either side with colourful foliage and well placed garden lighting.
  • Tropical garden: bird’s nest, bromeliads, anthuriums, palms and ferns will make a wonderful addition to any shaded garden as these plants thrive in  shade. 

The correct design will help you improve the section of garden you want to change. Put pen to paper and organise your ideas. This makes it more visual especially if you are getting helpers. You can break the job into smaller parts and concentrate on these separate sections of the garden, one at a time.


  • The choice of plants: after the design selection, find the perfect choice of plants for your chosen project keeping in mind the amount of shade that the space will have all through the day.. Like I said before there are lots of plants that you can use for different shaded areas to make a magical space for the family. 

  • Add some colour: spontaneous splashes here and there.
  • Create a focal point using the plants or other features like benches, water features or potted plants. 
  • Choose some eye-catching  green foliage.
  • Experiment with plants and where to put them to make them visually appealing..
  • Be consistent with your choice of plants. Choose similar plants to tie the whole garden together and create a good flow of energy.
  • Indulge your fancy! Have fun.

  • Now the fun part of the project is to get started. This is the part where you can start the digging, trenching and organising your other ideas in real life!

You are set for the best and most rewarding transformation for your property. Increase your resale value by optimising all areas of your property. That little or big secluded area that will be the focal point of the house. Go big and make the change.

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