gardening

Using Shade Gardening to Create a Restful Spot in your Landscape

Shady spots in your landscape can create quite a problem with your plantings if you don't plan ahead by using plant choices that will thrive in shady conditions. The good news is that these plants come in a wide variety to create a beautiful and interesting focal point in your landscape. With a little bit of research and planning, the shady spots in your yard can be just as full of foliage as the sunniest spots around.

The key to understanding shade gardening is to know what types of plants will work best in these conditions. There are a number of varieties that you can choose from, but the list does not include many bright, flowering plants or food plants. Most of these will work better in sunny spots, so save your vegetable and flower gardens for the sun, and opt for a more peaceful shade garden made up of mostly green leaves and vegetation. Since color will not be as abundant, you can add interest to your shade garden by using a variety of textures, shapes and sizes in the leaves of the plants that you select.

Determining the Conditions of your Shade Garden

The concerns over the planting conditions of a shade garden are twofold. First, you must determine exactly how much shade the area is getting. A light shade area may be bright, but shaded with filtered light, or it might only receive full shade at particular times of the day. Medium shade will include areas where the sun's rays are blocked to some extent for most of the daylight hours. This could classify a planting area that is shaded by a tall tree as well as a bed that is blocked by a section of your home during a large part of the day. Full shade occurs when an area never sees the light of day, so to speak. This condition could refer to a place that is covered with a dense growth of trees, or a spot under a deck or stairway.

Understanding the precise shade conditions of an area will better enable you to select plants that will do best in the specific conditions of your yard. Another consideration is the type of soil that you will be planting in. If your shaded garden area is due to a large tree, the soil underneath will be more difficult for other plants to grow in. This is because the tree is already taking the primary nutrients from that location. The good news is that there are plants that can grow well in poor soil as well as shade, so you can fill this area with beautiful vegetation that will thrive.

Shady parts of your yard and landscape do not have to remain a barren wasteland. With the proper selection of plants and appropriate soil preparation, your shade garden can be just as pleasing to the eye as your flowers and vegetables are.


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Gardening Tip #6

Overwatering kills most houseplants. Looks can be deceptive, so to see if your soil is dry enough to water, try the finger test. Insert your index finger up to the first joint into the soil. If the soil is damp, don't water it.